Chris Pryor

Olympic vs. NHL ... ice


By Chris Pryor


The four-year wait is almost over and  the start of another Winter Olympics is upon us. Along with the opening of ice hockey, it will also open up the ongoing debate over which ice size is better for the game, Olympic or NHL? The IIHF size is 210 feet long by 98 feet wide with the goal line 13 feet from the end boards. The standard NHL rink is 200 feet by 85 feet with the goal line 11 feet from the end boards.

In reality, it’s like trying to compare apples to oranges. Hockey purists might favor the standard sheet while others lean more towards the bigger surface. It all comes down to what type of game you prefer.

With the smaller rink, you will get a more north-south direct game as you see a lot over here at a variety of levels, whereas the bigger ice tends to favor a little more wide open, east-west playmaking game. The advantages of the up-and-down game is that it might lean towards more physicality and speed, where on the big ice you have more time and space and more plays are being made.

Each has its likes and dislikes but is also exciting in its own way. The Stanley Cup Playoffs could be considered the most exciting time in pro sports (at least for hockey people), but it’s also tough to compare that to the medal rounds in Olympic hockey as to what is more enjoyable to watch.

Again, what do you prefer?

Rather you like the big or the small ice, the Olympics, the NHL, college or your local high schools, it’s fun to watch high-paced, skilled players making plays.

Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders. If you have a question for a pro hockey scout, e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..