If there is one thing that rarely gets noticed by fans, it has to be the red center ice lines that are painted on to the ice. While the ice-makers in each arena only have twelve inches to work with on their canvas, the red lines are often a place of amazing creativity and artistry. Most professional rinks have their red lines painted on below the surface, while some amateur rinks still use paper that is frozen between the sheets of ice. Thanks to Uni Watch Blog's Paul Lukas, there should be a new appreciation for the artwork in the red paint from this point on.
Paul wrote a fantastic article today on the red lines found in hockey.
"As most of you know, I’ve been trying to compile a visual catalog of hockey red line designs. It’s an interesting project, because the blue lines are always solid blue, but red line styles are all over the map. It’s sort of a stealth design element on the sports landscape.
"How did we end up with such a multiplicity of red line designs? A hint comes from reader Matthew Clement, who recently sent me the following note:
'The red lines were originally broken up with white in order to differentiate the red line from the blue line on black and white TVs. Perhaps this is common knowledge, but I only figured it out last year when Montreal played in Colorado and the local sports station broadcast the second period in black-and-white as a tribute to the old days of hockey.'"I had never thought about that, but it makes perfect sense. Interestingly, now that we live in a color TV world, some red lines have gone back to solid red. You can see that in some of the photos linked in the following alphabetical list of arenas, which features all of the current NHL rinks along with some minor league and college facilities. I’ve tried to show current designs as much as possible, although I probably missed the mark in a few cases. And that’s fine — I’m mostly interested in showing the range of red line possibilities, past and present."
Now before we get to some of the designs, here's what the NHL rulebook says regarding the center ice lines:
"There shall also be a line, twelve inches (12") in width and red in color, drawn completely across the rink in center ice, parallel with the goal lines and continued vertically up the side of the boards, known as the 'CENTER LINE'. This line shall contain regular interval markings of a uniform distinctive design, which will readily distinguish it from the two blue lines, the outer edges of which must be continuous. (Paint code PMS 186.)"If you want to see all the examples that Paul has up at Uni Watch, I suggest clicking over to his blog. There are a number of arenas that have been outlined, and he's presented a healthy list of NHL, AHL, ECHL, and NCAA rinks. I'm here to add a few more that I found interesting, as well as some of red lines from the past.
- Magnitogorsk Arena in Magnitogorsk, Russia uses a solid red line.
- Ufa Arena in Ufa, Russia also goes solid red at center ice.
- Budvar Arena in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic also goes solid red.
- The O2 Arena in Berlin, Germany uses the solid red line as well.
- The O2 Arena in London, England used solid red for the NHL Premiere in 2007.
- Keeping up the trend, the Torino Olympics went with a solid red line as well.
- The Beijing Olympics' Closing Ceremonies featured a tribute to Vancouver's hockey culture by representing the game. There was, of course, a solid red line.
- Back closer to home, the 1937 Hershey Bears didn't even use a line for center ice.
- Glendale Arena in 2004 went with a diagonal check.
- Nassau Coliseum on Long Island was diagonal checked in 2008.
- The Office Depot Center in Sunrise, Florida had a red-white-red pattern in 2003.
- Quinnipiac's TD Banknorth Sports Centre has a checked pattern.
- The 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton's Northlands Coliseum had an odd checked pattern. I'm trying to find more pictures to better see what shape the checks are.
- The 2008 Winter Classic from Buffalo featured a checked pattern.
- The WHL's Regina Pats also go with the checked pattern.
- The AHL's Providence Bruins go with smaller diagonal checks.
- The NCAA's Trinty Cross plays at Koeppler Community Sports Center with a solid red line.
- Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia has triangles that point to the center ice dot. Those triangles are identical to those that were found on Atlanta's discarded jerseys.
- The Hartford Civic Center featured checks in 1986 during the NHL All-Star Game.
- Pacific Coliseum in 1984 featured checks... and Michael Jackson.
- Le Colisée in Quebec City had a checked pattern in 1991.
- The Montreal Canadiens went with a checked pattern last season.
- The AHL's Manitoba Moose saw red diamonds on their mostly white line at the old Winnipeg Arena.
- The AHL's Phantoms used to play in the old Wachovia Spectrum that featured three red lines or, alternatively, two white lines on the foot-wide red line.
- The ECHL's San Diego Gulls played in iPay One Arena, and it has a combo line: checks outside the faceoff circle, and a solid red line inside it.
- The ECHL's Florida Everblades play in Germain Arena that has a girder-like, triangle design through its red line.
- The NCAA's University of Minnesota Golden Gophers play their home games in Mariucci Arena that has a broken center ice line that makes the red line into diagonal checks.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!