Synthetic Ice Reviews and Testimonials | Viking Ice


cornell big red synthetic ice rink


Former Head Hockey Coach

Cornell University

Viking Ice is privileged to have support and advice from one of hockey’s most successful coaches – Dick Bertrand.

Dick Bertrand is a retired college ice hockey player and coach.  Bertrand both played and coached at Cornell University from 1966 through 1982.

He can be found in the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame for playing and coaching excellence as well as in the Timmins Heritage Hall of Fame.


dick bertrand Cornell University says this about him:  “When Bertrand was named Cornell’s hockey coach in April 1970, he had just finished serving as tri-captain of the 1969-70 team that won the NCAA title with a 29-0 record. He was still a Cornell student when he was appointed head coach, making him the first undergraduate ever selected to coach a national championship team. He went on to become one of the nation’s winningest college hockey coaches, compiling a 12-year overall record of 229-104-9 for a winning percentage of .683, which ranked him among the top active NCAA Division I hockey coaches in the nation. Bertrand led the Big Red to five Ivy League tiles and 11 straight appearances in the ECAC tournament. He directed Cornell to the ECAC crown in 1973 and 1980. The 1972 and 1981 teams placed second and the 1973 and 1980 clubs finished fourth at the NCAA championships. Overall, he had six 20-or-more win seasons and only one losing campaign. He left Cornell following the 1981-82 season to become head coach at Ferris State College, where he spent the next three and a half seasons. He is formerly from Connaught, Ontario.”


Bertrand has been active in hockey at all levels and coached several players who went on to play professional hockey.  Throughout his hockey career, Dick has conducted hockey schools and clinics in the USA and Canada, working with players from pro to learn to skate and play levels.  After retiring from coaching, Dick spent many years as Director of Hockey Operations for a USA Hockey youth hockey association, involving numerous teams from learn to skate and play to high school.

Some insights from Coach Bertrand:

What are the coaching benefits that stand out in using Viking Ice?

The coaching benefits that stand out are numerous. Any coach working out with players on Viking Ice can demonstrate and have players practice all of the ever so important basic fundamentals of the total game, which are skating, shooting, stick handling and passing and receiving.

What are some fundamental hockey drills kids can do at home on Viking Ice?

Being good at, and knowing the basic hockey fundamentals of the game is extremely important. Kids can set up an area in the basement, garage or yard in which to practice skating, shooting, stick handling and passing and receiving. In skating, practicing the starts, stops, cuts, turns, crossovers, strides and speed movements. In shooting, practicing the wrist forehand and backhand, flip, snap and slap shots. In stick handling, practicing the forehand and backhand techniques. In passing and receiving, practicing the forehand and backhand movements.  Viking Ice allows practicing all hockey moves.

How might a coach best use Viking Ice if frozen ice is not available?

A coach can do the same things on Viking Ice as on real ice, and that is skate, shoot, stick handle, pass and receive, do drills, play games and best of all have fun. In other words, a coach can set up on Viking Ice the same way he/she would set up on real ice.

How might a coach use an adjunct Viking Ice surface located in a rink that has real ice?

This is a good one. Every rink that has real ice should have an adjunct Viking Ice practice, training and small games surface. This is where one can see positive results in the hockey basics of skating, shooting, stick handling, passing and receiving and team play.  All of the skills can be readily transferred to real ice. Consequently, a coach can work with his/her team or a player on a Viking Ice adjunct surface working on the all-important hockey fundamentals, making for a much better team and player.

Is it difficult to train on Viking Ice then play games on frozen ice?

Absolutely Not! In fact, it is much better to train, practice or play on Viking Ice, then transfer that training, practicing and playing to real ice. It has been proven that having played and trained on Viking Ice, then moving to real ice, one becomes a much better skater, shooter, passer and stick handler.

You indicated that Viking Ice is good for puck handling and shooting.  How does it work for goalie training and practice?

I personally know several goalie schools/coaches that have been pleased with Viking Ice for many years.  I would say Viking Ice for individual and group goalie training and development is outstanding for specific goalie calisthenics, handling the puck, using the goalie blocker and glove, stacking, side to side movements, telescoping, and knowing where the net is at all times, to name a few of the goalie basics a goalie needs to know and practice to play the position.

How can Viking Ice be used for professional coaching and home use?

Whether one is a pro coach or player, or novice to the game, Viking Ice is invaluable. For the pros, who have the required hockey skills to be successful at the game, a pro coach can have the team or individual player work on any weaknesses on the basics they may have on Viking Ice. For home use, whether a novice, or seasoned  participant, Viking Ice can help develop a love for the game, a way to practice and improve upon the fundamentals, have fun and make friends.

Every college and university hockey playing school should have Viking Ice on which to practice, develop, play and have fun.

Do you feel that Viking Ice is safe for serious skating?

You bet.  Viking Ice stays flat and joints are smooth and fixed.  The manufacturer developed a spline system that assures no movement at joints and that is where people can get hurt on most synthetic ice products.  But I’ll let them talk to that subject.  I have never seen a safety issue with Viking Ice.