Guidelines for Outdoor Rink Usage

Guidelines for Outdoor Rink Usage
Guidelines for Outdoor Rink Usage 2013-01-17T12:02:56+00:00

ODHA – Guidelines for Outdoor Rink Usage


While we certainly recognize the need for more ice surfaces, especially those which provide a level of cost savings to our members, we must ensure that these surfaces are both safe and appropriate for use by our members.  And, while we know that outdoor rinks can be an excellent venue for a team’s additional practice time, there are legitimate concerns pertaining to organized games.

The following is to serve as a tool for Associations/Leagues to guide them when considering the use of outdoor rink surfaces.  It will be the Association’s/Leagues responsibility to work with their local Officiating Association when considering an outdoor rink for exhibition, league, playoff or tournament games.  Furthermore, the Association/League is also responsible for ensuring the outdoor rink is safe for players, team officials, game officials and spectators.

Practices and Non-Organized Games:

1)      The outdoor rink must be publically/municipally owned, maintained and insured.  Privately owned back-yard rinks will not be insured for ODHA sanctioned events. When signing contracts Associations are to ensure they are not agreeing to any “hold-harmless” clauses.

2)      Associations are to ensure the ice conditions, boards, doors, glass/netting, etc., are in good condition prior to using the surface, and that any known deficiencies be brought to the attention of the rink’s owner as soon as possible.  Non-boarded rinks may be used for practices only provided the activities are non-contact in nature and that every precaution be taken to prevent pucks from leaving the playing surface.

3)      Associations are to ensure environmental conditions such as weather and lighting are regularly assessed.

4)      No games/practices are to be played on frozen ponds/rivers whether municipally owned/maintained or not without prior Branch approval.  (Note:  certain restrictions will exist)

5)      All players must wear full equipment as they would in an indoor arena.


(Note, in addition to the previous 5 conditions, the following will also apply for any game to be considered a sanctionable event).

6)      There must be all required surface markings as in indoor environments, ie., centre line, blue lines etc.

7)      There must be regulation size goal nets (6ft x 4ft) which are in good condition.

8)      There must be an adequate and visible time-keeping device.

9)      There must be separate and adequate player’s bench areas, penalty box areas and time-keeper’s area.

10)  There must be, within close proximity of the surface, separate and adequate dressing rooms for each team as well as the game officials.

11)  There must be, within close proximity of the surface, washroom(s).

12)   In order for a game to take place, both the Association/Team and the Game Officials must agree that the ice surface as well as weather conditions are satisfactory.


** You will required a special event permit, prior to any outdoor use, click here for the link, once filled in please send it directly to the ODHA office for approval- this process can take up to 1 week**

Exceptions:  Initiation Program (IP) Fun Days do not require game officials, therefore Associations would utilize the “pra