What Is It Like to Own a Hockey Rink?

Hockey has stood as part of the American sporting landscape for more than 100 years. Some hockey rules have shifted now and then to make for more excitement or fewer fights, but hockey remains an American favorite and a growing worldwide phenomenon.

If you’ve got a head for business and a passion for hockey, you might ask yourself, “Why don’t I get into the business for myself?” People love to play hockey, and hockey requires a hockey rink.

How to get from that first flash of inspiration to running a business, though, isn’t always clear. Do you know about building an ice rink business plan? What about designing the facilities?

We can’t cover everything here, but we’ll give you a starting point. Keep reading for the basics of operating and designing a skating rink.

Hockey Rink Costs

Starting an ice rink gets expensive. Depending on the decisions you make while designing an ice rink, the cost of building one can climb as high as $7 million. This includes mechanical work, electrical work, plumbing, and maintenance equipment.

If you have a passion for skating but this sits outside your price range, consider a roller skating rink instead. A roller skating rink clocks in at about $4,000 per month in facilities costs. You’ll also pay $30,000 or so in startup expenses.

These costs represent a baseline for such a facility. When you shop for Color Kinetics lighting or invest in decoration, you’ll be taking those costs even higher.

Improving Profitability

This point often leaves potential rink owners with a bit of sticker shock. How will you turn a profit on a multi-million dollar facility with ice skating alone?

You won’t.

Think about the ice skating rink you first went to before you start making your business plan. Was it a couple of locker rooms and a skating surface? No way.

Maybe it had a robust concession stand where you begged your best friend to buy you another hot dog. Was there a Virtua Fighter 2 machine where you spent a whole paycheck? Did it have a skate shop filled with sticks, team jerseys, and helmets?

Buying arcade machines, marketing your facility to local youth teams, and operating a food stand drives up the initial investment. When you start seeing those secondary revenue streams pay off, you’ll understand why you did it.

Stay on Top of Things

An ice skating rink requires a lot of preventive maintenance and forward thought. If you let problems build up and only move to fix them when they come to a head, they’ll get worse.

Have someone check the condition of the ice every day. Spend some time on the building facade and the area visible from the front door. The former can get expensive to fix if you leave a problem to fester, and the latter will be the first thing a parent sees.

Skating Toward Profit

Running a hockey rink can be emotionally fulfilling as well as profitable. The young people who patronize your business will make fond memories there. Always keep your bottom line in mind, but remember that you want to provide a safe, happy place for youths.

Looking for information on how to write a business plan? Wondering how to get your feet under you with a business loan? Check out a few of the articles in our business section.

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