Product Guide

Welcome to Athletica Sport Systems
  "Safety Through Innovation"
April 30th 2015 

Athletica Chosen to Supply new Dashers at ENMAX Centrium Arena

Project Awarded on Merit, not Low Price

Athletica Sport Systems is pleased to announce that the ENMAX Centrium Arena at Westerner Park, in Red Deer Alberta, home to the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels, will be retrofitted this coming August with new CrystaPlex 6A Series dashers.   

Jim White, Assistant General Manager & Operations Manager, Westerner Park, stated, “It was our feeling, after evaluating the various options in dasher board systems out there, and researching several venues to see different systems in person, the best choice for our highly active, Major Junior arena was CrystaPlex 6A Series.” 

One key feature that impressed White is one designed for improved puck play – the CrystaPlex Play Active Base™ that runs the perimeter of the board system producing uniform predictable puck bounces every inch of the way.  

Athletica President, Global Sales & Marketing Adam Pender said, “We’re extremely pleased to be the supplier chosen by Jim and his team at Westerner Park; I applaud them for choosing some of the features only Athletica offers that enhance player safety such as GlassFlex® and SoftCap®.  

For White, it came down to the best value over potentially a lower price. “It’s like anything – you can always find something cheaper, but is it better, is it the right choice? What's important to us is balance of cost and functionality.  We’re very pleased with our decision to go with Athletica.”  

The new dashers will be in place for the start of the 2015-16 WHL season, which culminates in May of 2016, with Red Deer’s hosting of the Memorial Cup, Canada’s Major Junior hockey championship. 


IIHF releases a major medical study: "Flexible boards and glass appear to reduce the risk of injury."
On October 7th, 2014 the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) released a report which analyzed rates and types of injuries in hockey players over a seven year period - 2006 to 2013 - while playing in the World Championship program.
The results were no surprise to us at Athletica Sport Systems:
"It was found that there was a 29% lower risk of an injury at the arenas where flexible boards and glass were used, compared to arenas with traditional boards and glass [including]...fewer concussions...[and] a decrease in all other types of injuries."

For the complete report and news release click the link below:
IIHF Flex Boards Study OCT 2014.pdf
News Release IIHF Flex Boards Study OCT 2014.pdf


Athletica Adds Blackstone Sports - another industry leader - to Lineup

Now available from Athletica Sport Systems, the world's most innovative skate sharpeners, from Blackstone Sports. Here's what the world of ice skating is saying about Blackstone skate sharpeners:

"The revolutionary new FBV® (Flat Bottom V®) patented skate sharpening system from Blackstone® gives you competitive advantages like you’ve never experienced before. Superior endurance. Greater power. Enhanced agility. Better control.
These are just a few of the improvements skaters from recreational leagues to the pros are reporting with this new blade sharpening technique. In fact, research conducted by The International Ice Hockey Research Academy at the University of Ottawa, under the direction of Dr. T. Blaine Hoshizaki, supports the benefits players are noticing: “The results in this study definitely confirm that the Blackstone® innovation is easily perceived and recognized by the subjects as having a performance benefit.”

Contact your local Athletica sales rep for more information and pricing.


On May 8th, 2014, during CBC's Coach's Corner, veteran hockey analyst and commentator Don Cherry made a point we've been making for years now.
Don used recent NHL game video from Montreal's Centre Bell and Vancouver's Rogers Arena to brilliantly illustrate the enormous player safety benefits of the Seamless Acrylic Shielding System in use since 2011 in Montreal.

Watch how the shielding in Montreal flexes measurably after heavy player impact, as compared to the older-style shielding in Vancouver.

You really ought  to watch this (after the ad, drag the timer along to the 2:20 mark and watch the next ninety seconds):


Seamless Acrylic Shielding System
We have lead the industry for years with cutting edge product developments designed to improve the safety of the players and make the operation of sports facilities simpler and easier.
Introduced in 2011, our revolutionary Seamless Acrylic Shielding System has taken the hockey world by storm, with its one-of-a-kind impact absorbing design, utilizing industry-leading CrystaPlex® 590 Plus acrylic. Offering ease of conversions for arena operations, ultimate safety for players and superb sightlines for spectators, no other shielding system comes close to our Seamless Acrylic Shielding System.
Find out more: Seamless Acrylic Brochure
Installed in September, 2011 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, home of the NHL Sharks, Athletica's Seamless Acrylic Shielding System has won rave reviews from fans and Operations staff alike: " Bruce has done a fantastic job keeping everyone working together to achieve a great looking installation," commented Operations Manager Rich Sotelo. "Some of our season ticket holders have told me the seamless acrylic gives the appearance of opening up the ice, they love it! We look forward to a continuing partnership with Sport Systems."


NEW from Athletica Sport Systems: EYE ON THE ICE
We are very proud to announce our partnership with Manitoba-based Eye On The Ice, the all-in-one wireless environmental monitoring system for hockey arenas. Featuring user-friendly and customizable software that allows ice technicians to monitor their rink 24/7 for key variables such as ice temperature, humidity, brine supply & return temperatures and dew point - all accessible from your cell phone or laptop - EOTI has been used at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, and at all NHL Outdoor Games since 2009.

Here's just one testimonial:

"I have been using the EYE ON THE ICE system for several years now. I consider the EYE ON THE ICE system to be our "life line" when we are doing the NHL outdoor games."
- Mike Craig, Senior Manager Facilities Operations, National Hockey League.

For more on this low-cost, cost-saving innovation, click here: EyeOnTheIce brochure Athletica_2014.pdf

Look for EYE ON THE ICE at the Athetica booth at ORFA, NARCE AND FOMA trade shows this spring!


For the Love of the Old Arenas...

At Athletica Sport Systems, we have a natural affinity, and a ton of respect for great hockey arenas. 

Recently, on we saw this feature about Galt Arena, located right in our back yard here in Southwestern Ontario, the oldest continuously operating hockey arena in the world – and one of the very first dasher board installations to the credit of our company (during renovations done in the late 1990’s). 

We loved it so much, we thought we’d share it with our friends, and with fans of the great game of hockey everywhere. 



Tennis Star Scores Impressive Goal in Exhibition Ball Hockey Game
Toronto, August 3rd, 2014
Just for fun, have a look at Roger Federer, participating in a celebrity ball hockey game in advance of  the 2014 Rogers Cup.
Hockey really is the World's Game!


NHL’s New Goals Already Making an Impact

St. Louis Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock on the new shallower nets: "The new nets have created a dramatic difference on wraparounds and stuff plays. We'll see more goal crease goals... but we're also seeing a big change in a defending team's exit strategy. For the first time, defencemen can make direct plays to each other from behind the net instead of indirect plays. Makes it easier to get out of your zone and start transition."


Beware Tempered Glass that doesn’t bear the ANSI Logo

(Our thanks to Laurier Glass for their kind assistance)

We have seen some rinks where the tempered glass shielding does not bear the stamp of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  

For your information, here’s how the Athletica Sport Systems dasherboard specification reads, as regards tempered glass for hockey boards:  “Each piece of tempered glass shall bear the stamp of approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in a location that will be visible and legible after boards and shielding are installed.”  

Why do we insist on the ANSI stamp?  Because it provides our customers with proof that they have purchased a well tempered piece of glass, manufactured though a process that is approved and controlled, ensuring the safety of the users will never be compromised.  

By permanently marking the glass with AINSI z97.1, our glass suppliers provide assurance that the glass meets the standards recognized by the glass industry of North America,  tempered in a way that allows it to pass the impact test as described in the point 5.1 of the AINSI-z97.1 norm. 

The ANSI-z97.1  5.1 Impact Test is performed by dropping a 100lb impactor onto the middle of a framed piece of glass (34’’ x76’’) from a height of 48’’. To pass the test, the glass must:

a) Resist the impact, or

b) If breakage occurs, the 10 largest pieces should be weighted and should not represent more than 10 square inches of the original sample.  

Sometimes customers will request for their glass to have no ANSI logo – but we do not recommend it. The ANSI logo is always a good trail back to the supplier, which equals good protection for the end user.  

If glass is improperly tempered, and it were to break during a public skating, ice hockey, or other event, the results could be devastating, including significant personal injuries to patrons and / or employees.  Why risk it?  Demand that the glass you buy for your rink boards carries the ANSI stamp – it’s your symbol of security.



New from Athletica Sport Systems: The GFK Series Outdoor Dasher board system.
Your perfect choice for outdoor boards – on a budget!

GFK Series
Built specifically for outdoor use, the GFK Series is made from lightweight steel frames, embedded into reinforced Fiberglas.  

Virtually maintenance free, with integral kick plate, and a super smooth puck board surface. The puck board is not made from HDPE, so no worries about expansion and contraction, due to the outstanding thermal characteristics of the durable and good looking Fiberglas-reinforced plastic.

And, there's no problem with broken screws on the puckboard, because there are no screws!

GFK Series boards are easy to set up, with galvanized steel foot plates for anchoring or freezing in place, and all of the GFK hardware is made from hot-dip galvanized steel, in a heavy-duty design as for professional boards.

Netting and fencing options are available.  

GFK Series: The perfect choice for outdoor boards, built on a budget!  

Click here for the GFK Photo Page: GFK Series Photo Page.pdf

Please contact us today for a quote on the GFK dasher board system, specific to your needs.


ECLIPSE SPORTS : Off-Ice Hockey Skills Training

"Games are where skills are evaluated, not where they are taught.
That's what practices are for."

Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, and the International Ice Hockey Federation all recommend an increased ratio of practices to games for players in the developmental age groups.
Without question, on-ice practices are important to teach team-based skills, such as power play, penalty killing, and so on.  But individual skills, such as power skating, shooting for accuracy, stick-handling, and explosive starts can be most effectively practiced off-ice (on synthetic ice).
Eclipse Sports is Off-Ice Hockey Skills Training.

In North America it is common for there to be more demand than supply when it comes to ice time for minor hockey programs, leaving some teams no option but to practice at unreasonable times for their age group, or in some cases, not get the recommended amount of practice time at all.
In countries where hockey is still in a developmental or growth stage, a complete lack of ice facilites is often a problem.
Eclipse Sports creates ice time by establishing the right environment for the type of practice being the players and coaches need. If there's no need for a full sheet of ice - why use one? Why pay for a full sheet of ice when you don't need it.

Athletica Sport Systems is pleased to be partnered with Eclipse Sports to bring the most innovative and effective Off-Ice Hockey Skills Training platform available today to hockey coaches, associations and players. 
Consisting of up to six stations, each focused on a different skill set, the Eclipse Sports concept allows an entire team to rotate through the stations, each group of players working on a skill set before moving to the next station, all the while on skates, on synthetic ice.
The Eclipse Sports model is scalable and modular, so any training facility can fit it into their budget, including the option of starting with one or two stations, and working up as revenues come in.

For the full story on Eclipse Sports, please download our Information Piece:
Eclipse Sports Info Piece Oct 2012.pdf

For more information or to get a quote, or have your questions answered on any variant of the Eclipse Sports platform, contact your Sport Systems Unlimited representative today.

Safety Through Innovation
When we talk about “Safety Through Innovation”, we mean leading-edge safety options that provide both improved player safety and reduced liability and risk for owners and operators of rinks. Options such as SoftCap®, our industry-first, impact absorbing cap rail system. Now protected by Canadian Patent # 2,552,340 and other patents internationally, SoftCap® is 96% more compressive than the standard High Density Polyethylene cap rail every other dasher board company in the world uses.
Think about that: SoftCap® is nearly twice as forgiving upon impact as standard cap rail.

SoftCap® is the only safety cap rail system approved by both the National Hockey League and the Kontinental Hockey League, and is now used in more than half of all NHL rinks, as well an ever-growing list of KHL, NCAA, and community rinks.

And, SoftCap® is part of the extensive list of player safety features included in the new dasherboard system being installed in the summer of 2013 at the newly-constructed Chizhovka Arena, in Minsk, Belarus, one of the home sites for the 2014 IIHF World Championships to be held in May of 2104. The other primary game venue, Minsk Arena has been using SoftCap since it opened its doors in 2009.

For more on SoftCap, please click here: SoftCap Info Sheet.pdf


Commentary on 'Flush Mount' Shielding 

Innovations to improve the safety of players, while reducing the risk and liability for owners and operators of hockey rinks, is what drives our company.   

At this time, we’d like to offer a comment on the ‘flush mount’ shielding currently being promoted by another dasher board company.  

Flush Mount was designed to decrease injuries at the top plate by removing the top plate. Upon thorough consideration, it has been determined that removing the top plate may actually increase the chance of injures in other ways, as follows:  

It has to do with the physical make up of the body. When the glass is flush, the lower body, upper body and the head impact the boards and shielding at roughly the same time. However, having the glass in the normal position allows for hips to hit the boards before the shoulders allowing the body to absorb the check, and if the head does hit the glass, the impact is reduced by the lower body hitting the boards first. 

Many people argue that the glass being flush is a liability for increased player concussions. Our own testing did demonstrate that the push had to be much stronger before the head was coming closer to the glass with the glass set back rather than flush with the boards.  

  • We believe it's for these reasons that the flush mount design remains unapproved by the NHL. 

In addition, players instinctively reach for the ledge provided by the cap rail for leverage when they’re in tight against the boards with other players.   

And, the on-ice officials use the cap rail many times during every game to help them get their feet off the ice and allow play to get safely past them. 

For people who have never skated, the cap rail serves an invaluable role providing something for them to hold onto as they make their way around the ice.  

Instead of ‘flush mounting’ the shielding, Athletica Sport Systems offers SoftCap®, designed to soften the blow when skaters or hockey players fall against the board at the cap rail, lessening the likelihood of injury to chins, and noses, and so on.   

Athletica Sport Systems has independent lab testing on SoftCap® that shows it to be 96% more compressive than standard HDPE cap rail.  We don’t know at this time if there is any testing that has been done on the flush mount system to show any positive result regarding player safety.  

Perhaps it would be worthwhile for anyone considering flush mount shielding, to enquire from the company that promotes it, what scientific proof or test reports they offer to back up their claim that flush mount shielding makes a safer choice – solving the problem without creating new, more severe problems.  

In conclusion, it has been determined by testing and debate amongst experts in the field, that softening the top cap is still the best method for injury reduction at the top plate.

When it comes to excellence in the business of hockey facilities, no other company comes close to the experience offered by the more than 100 employees of Sport Systems Unlimited / Athletica. Lead by hands-on, ‘skin-in-the-game’ ownership based in Waterloo Ontario and Minneapolis Minnesota, we offer our customers a range of innovative products for all types of sporting facilities, including ice hockey, inline hockey, indoor soccer, lacrosse, and much more.
With the 2009 merger of Sport Systems Unlimited Corp. and Premier Rinks Inc. (dba Athletica), classic bloodlines were joined, combining the market appeal and innovative product suite found in the Athletica products, dating back to the formation of CrystaPlex® in 1956, with the advanced manufacturing processes developed by Sport Systems Unlimited since its inception in 1996.
No company in the world builds more dasher board systems than we do, and nobody builds them better.


Air Quality in Rinks and Arenas
A growing number of jurisdictions are starting to pay closer attention to the quality of the air in indoor rinks and arenas, with the knowledge that air quality affects every one of us who enters a rink, whether for an hour of hockey or figure skating, or a 10-hour shift on the job.
The State of Minnesota through its Department of Health has taken a leadership role in this regard, mandating indoor air quality rules which require, among other criteria, weekly air quality testing and documentation of the results, subject to random inspection.
As reported in a story aired February 10th, 2011, on NBC's Today Show, so far only Massachusetts and Rhode Island have joined Minnesota in having regulations regarding air quality in hockey rinks.
As long-time proponents of doing everything we possibly can to improve player safety and reduce liability and risk for those who own and operate rinks, we applaud these initiatives.
We're also ready to be part of the solution. To find out more about current best practices, and the latest products and systems designed to wirelessly monitor air temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels, contact us today. You may also want to check for the latest information available from ORFA and STAR.
And watch this space for future news and announcements!


Curved Acrylic Termination Assemblies

In 2011, two of the big issues addressed by the National Hockey League were:
  • Replacing the single glass-termination post at players boxes with a curved acrylic panel attached to an ‘energy managing sleeve’  
  • Upgrading the padding on termination posts
Our Curved Acrylic Termination Assembly and our upgraded termination post padding are approved by the NHL, and have been installed by 22 of 30 NHL facilities. Installations of these important new player safety devices were completed in advance of the start of regulation play for the 2011-12 season.
You can check the News & Announcements section on the home page of our website to see any number of articles detailing the satisfaction of our NHL clientele in this regard.
For more, including some photographs of the curved acrylic termination assembly designed by Sport Systems / Athletica, click on this link: Curved Acrylic Info


Other Innovations from Athletica / Sport Systems Designed to Enhance Player Safety:
GlassFlex® and CheckFlex® allow the boards and shielding systems to flex upon impact, easing the strain on players bodies during and after collisions.
Power Plate™ glass actually decreases the likelihood of glass breakage, and in the event glass does break, it stays in one place, allowing for easier clean up, and vastly improved safety for spectators.
In 2012, and in the years to come, we will continue bringing innovations to ice, developing a range of products to complement our dasher board systems to fully answer the needs of the owners and operators of sports facilities, and advancing the design of dasher boards beyond expectations.


Reaching Out Around the World
Sport Systems Unlimited is the world leader in the design, engineering, manufacture and installation of dasher board systems for indoor and outdoor ice and non-ice sports. We are proudly represented around the globe by a network of sales professionals and distributors second to none anywhere.
Our representatives are on the ground all over North America, in Russia, United Kingdom, Japan, Central Europe, Kuwait, China, and Turkey.
If you’re interested in becoming a distributor for Sport Systems Unlimited, contact us today.

  News & Announcements
October 27th, 2014
Athletica Working on AODA Compliance
Find out more: [more]
July 21st, 2014
Athletica Granted Design Patent for HDM Sleeve
No-one comes close to doing the kind of innovative design work our people do. [more]
June 9th, 2014
AHL Names Athletica Preferred Supplier
They are a leader in their industry [more]
May 9th, 2014
Coach's Corner Points to Athletica's Superior Player Safety
Don Cherry Nails it Again! [more]
January 7th, 2014
SoftCap - Canadian Patent Approved
Patent protection for SoftCap now official in Canada and internationally [more]
Feb 28th, 2013
Crystaplex Seamless Acrylic Shielding stars in Rangers-Canadiens Game
Serious collision with shielding; player gets up unharmed immediately. [more]
See all the news

   Specific info is just a click away...



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