Category: RinkAtlas News

Nearby Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Places, and Gas Stations are Back on RinkAtlas

I’m pleased to announce that we just restored the list of nearby restaurants, bars, coffee places, and gas stations to almost 4,700 arena information pages on RinkAtlas. This capability is one of the signature features of RinkAtlas, and something that we tweak constantly in order to provide the best possible information to our users across North America.

If you have questions or concerns about our nearby business searches, please let us know by tweeting us @RinkAtlas or commenting on our Facebook page.

RinkAtlas Gets Coffee
RinkAtlas Now Provides Listings of Coffee Places Near Arenas Throughout North America, to go along with nearby restaurants, bars, and gas stations / convenience stores.

Temporarily Reduced Search Options as a Result of Database Change

On July 24, we began the process of changing the database that powers the RinkAtlas website and API. This was the result of a decision by Google Cloud to sunset the database that RinkAtlas had been using since September 2016.

There are several significant differences between the database we’ve moved to and our previous database. As a result several of our query techniques have been temporarily disabled.

Current Search Options

Here are the ways that the RinkAtlas database can be searched at the moment:

  • By Arena Name, currently limited to one word

If you enter one word contained in an arena’s name, you’ll be shown the listings for any matching arenas.

In other words, searching for “madison” will return Madison Ice Arena and Madison Square Garden.  Searching for “new” will return arenas like Aitken University Centre / University of New Brunswick, New England Sports Center, and New York Islanders Iceworks.

Pick the best single word that you can in the arena name. We’re working on multi-word searches, and hope to bring back that capability soon.

  • By League

If you enter “NHL”, “AHL”, “ECAC”, “Hockey East”, “Atlantic Hockey”, “Big 10”, “NCHC”, “WCHA”, or “CHA” without quotes, you’ll see arenas used by those leagues. You can also search for “cawlidge hawkey” to see a list of all NCAA Division I arenas (hat tip to John Buccigross).

Summary

The search options on RinkAtlas are limited at the moment, but we are committed to recreating all of our search capabilities as soon as possible.

This article will be updated as we restore other search functions.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in RinkAtlas.

RinkAtlas is Rolling Out Arena Statistics

RinkAtlas Arena Stats
RinkAtlas is beginning to roll out statistics about arenas in our database.

We’re pleased to announce that RinkAtlas is rolling out statistics about arenas in our directory.  Right now, the statistics we’re providing are as follows:

  • Seating Capacity
  • Ice Dimensions
  • Opening Date (in cases where we do not know the exact opening date, we list the opening date as January 1 of the opening year)

These statistics are rolling out for arenas in NCAA Division I arenas first, followed by NHL, and AHL arenas, then smaller arenas in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about these new features.

RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory Completed

Mission accomplished! RinkAtlas now contains every arena in Canada to go along with our comprehensive directory of American rinks.

The journey to this point began about one year ago. I want to thank my family who gave me the opportunity to focus, my friends who funded the RinkAtlas Kickstarter Project, the friends who shared arena photos from the Alaskan Arctic to South Florida, and everyone who asked me how things were going in person or online. Your support has made this achievement possible.

There is much more to come in the quest to build a directory of the most useful information about North American ice arenas. But getting to the point where all of the states, provinces, and territories were equally represented was Job One.

North American Arena Directory
The RinkAtlas North American Arena Directory was completed on September 14, 2017

RinkAtlas Search Improved for Arenas in French-Speaking Areas of Canada

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve added information to the directory entries for arenas in the French-speaking areas of Canada to allow RinkAtlas users to search according to the city and arena names as they are typically spelled in either French or English.

This means that arenas like “Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur” in Saint-Rédempteur, Québec can be searched for by typing any of the following:

  • Aréna de Bernières Saint-Rédempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres Saint Redempteur
  • Arena de Bernieres St. Redempteur

We also created alternative city names, so that arenas in Montréal, for example, can be found by searching:

  • Montréal, QC
  • Montreal, QC

Arenas in Quebec City, which is referred to simply as “Québec” in French, can be found by searching:

  • Québec, QC
  • Quebec, QC
  • Quebec City, QC

We hope that this solves a number of issues with arena and city searches that relate to the bilingual nature of RinkAtlas’ arena directory.  We hope to eventually fully localize the RinkAtlas application to support French as well as English.

Thank you for your support of RinkAtlas!

RinkAtlas Directory Complete for New Brunswick

We completed the arena directory for New Brunswick today.  There are 95 arenas in New Brunswick and 2 closed arenas that some websites still show as if they are open.

RinkAtlas now has all of the indoor arenas in the Maritimes in its database.  This includes every arena in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

We’re now moving on to work on the directory for the Québec.

RinkAtlas Directory Complete for Nova Scotia

We completed the arena directory for Nova Scotia today.  There are 77 arenas in Nova Scotia and 3 closed arenas that some websites still show as if they are open.

Our goal with RinkAtlas is to provide the most accurate directory of currently operating North American hockey arenas possible, so where it was necessary, we confirmed the status of arenas which might have closed.

We’re now moving on to work on the directory for the New Brunswick.

RinkAtlas Widgets Help Hockey Webmasters Provide Directions to Rinks

One of the keys to making RinkAtlas.com the most popular rink directions website is to make it easier for webmasters operating hockey-related sites to provide maps and directions on their own websites. Over the past few days, I’ve built two widgets that do just that:

RinkAtlas Rink Information Widget

The RinkAtlas Rink Information Widget is the size of an IAB Vertical Rectangle ad unit (240 x 400). It lets you display a location map, the name, address, and telephone number for a pre-selected rink. In the lower left corner of the widget is a “Get Directions” button. If the Get Directions button is clicked, a new window is opened to the page on RinkAtlas corresponding to the selected rink. Door-to-door directions can be obtained from there.

You specify the rink to be displayed by the Rink Information Widget by inserting the Global Unique Identifier (guid) parameter in the widget configuration screen on the Widgetbox website. The guid for any rink in the RinkAtlas database can be found by looking at the URL produced by the “Link to this Page” button on the RinkAtlas toolbar.

The RinkAtlas Rink Information Widget is intended to be used on team information pages within hockey league or hockey news-related websites. It can also be used on a team’s own website, or the website of a college sports information department.

RinkAtlas Rink Search Widget

The RinkAtlas Rink Search Widget is the size of an IAB Small Rectangle ad unit (180 x 150). It provides a text field and a “Search for Rink” button. If the Search for Rink button is clicked, a new window is opened to RinkAtlas and a search is performed using the contents of the text field as the search paramters.

The Rink Search Widget is perfect for inclusion on the sidebar of any hockey-related website or blog, particularly since this widget is the same size as many ads that appear in the sidebars of websites.

We believe that these widgets will meet the needs of most of the webmasters of hockey-related websites. However, we realize that some sites may have special needs or may want to integrate even more deeply with RinkAtlas. If your RinkAtlas integration plans go beyond what you can do with our widgets, contact Dave Aiello at daiello [at] rinkatlas.com.

Guy Kawasaki Raves About RinkAtlas

Guy Kawasaki, the man who coined the phrase software evangelism is a rabid hockey fan. Although he only picked up the sport four years ago, he’s now on the ice five days a week.

I didn’t know these details about Guy’s hockey participation until I emailed him to make him aware of RinkAtlas. All I knew was that he’d mentioned hockey on his blog a number of times over the past year.

Anyway, he checked out RinkAtlas and liked it so much that he posted a very favorable blog entry about it:

In case you hadn’t noticed, I love hockey. A buddy named Dave Aiello just told me about a website that he created called RinkAtlas.

He used the Google Maps API and verified and corrected the geocoding to over 1,800 rinks in the fifty states and Puerto Rico. If you ever need to find a rink, this is the site to use. It’s the first mashup that I’ve found useful. 🙂 ….

Guy’s blog entry caused an immediate jump in our traffic. I didn’t expect to receive such a rave from a prominent member of the Silicon Valley community. All I can say at the moment is “thank you, Guy.”