The ice in most NHL arenas is about 1" thick, some may do 3/4" but that is rare. The Ice Technician's goal is to create the best playing surface possible for the conditions in which they are given. Since most NHL arenas are multi-use facilities a thicker surface is desired. Also, many rinks use an RO (reverse osmosis) system to purify the water being laid during the ice making and ice resurfacing process to rid the water of impurities that don't allow as strong of a bond between water molecules. The use of hot water benefits the ice by having less dissolved gases within it allowing a "stronger" sheet of ice to form, and not requiring as much work from the refrigeration system being that the dissolved gasses act as a thermal insulator. An ice resurface operator will lay about 60-80 gallons at 160* F removing about twice as much in shavings from the surface. That's an abridged version, for more and better answers check out ORFA the leader in NHL approved Certified Ice Technician courses.
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