Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Red Line Report

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.
Some pretty interesting designs, right? While it's neat to see some of the designs that have gone into the red lines, there are probably still a hundred more ideas that have yet to be seen on a red line. As we see new and innovative ice-makers plying their trades in arenas across the globe, there should be more interesting designs seen in the near future!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Eric said...

Hey, Thanks for this explanation. I am watching a r-run of Boston's win ove Vancouver for the Stanley Cup and wondered about the red line. Sure enough, here it is.