Artificial ice is used to describe a few completely different forms of "ice":
One type is a special plastic compound, called SHDPE, or Super High Density Polyethylene that supports the wear and tear of ice skates and performs similarly to 'natural' ice. Although there are a few rinks here and there that utilize this plastic for shooting lanes, or small skating surfaces, it is usually not used in big arenas, due to it's high cost but can be found more readily on skating tread mills where it runs under your skates similar to a jogger's tread mill..
Another describes the indoor freezing process found in all hockey rinks across the world. A maze of pipes encased in concrete or sand in and under the rink's floor through which brine cooled by an ammonia or freon filled chiller is fed. This cools the floor and freezes the water on it, creating ice. While this is indeed ice and is real, the process in which it was frozen was done mechanically.
Another may refer to a sheet of plastic, usually HDPE, or High Density Polyethylene typically 1/4 inch thick cut to 32 x 48 or a similar size. This is used to practice stick handling or shooting with the stick you would normally use on the ice, but not in your driveway since the driveway will wear it out! The plastic is very durable, so it is very resistant to breaking. Especially when taking slap-shots off of it!
Hockey is a game in which two opposing teams use sticks to move a small object into the opposing goal. The two major types of the sport are field hockey and ice hockey. Field hockey is played on a open area, traditionally grass but more modernly an artificial surface, and using a ball. Ice hockey is played on an enclosed ice surface, traditionally an iced-over lake or pond but more modernly an artificial rink, and using a small rubber disc called a puck. For further information on each, see the related questions.
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