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The Best Way to Follow RinkAtlas on Social Media is Twitter; Here’s Why

Social media reach is extremely important to all apps and web services. Since we relaunched RinkAtlas as a responsive website in 2016, we depended upon our social media channels to tell the world about our services. Our social media channels are:

We try to share the same messages on each of our channels. However, we are frustrated by artificial restrictions that Facebook places on business use of Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts. Here are a few

examples related to our #SaluteToLocalRinks promotion that began yesterday.

We thought it would be a good idea to commemorate Salute To Local Rinks Day of Hockey Week Across America by sharing a photo collage from one U.S. hockey arena on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram every 15 minutes for the entire business day. Our goal was to spotlight 50 arenas.


With Twitter, there was absolutely no problem tweeting 50 times in a 10 hour period on @RinkAtlas. Twitter natively supports four photos embedded and allows a URL in the body of each tweet, so we can show several photos of an arena and provide a link to the arena’s page on RinkAtlas.


The good news about Facebook is that each post is structured more like a blog entry; We can attach several photos and write a good amount of text.

Facebook may allow more than 50 posts per day on a Facebook page, but Buffer our social media management service, gave this advice in their FAQ, Daily Posting Limits:

… Facebook recommends up to five posts per day, but 25 is really the upper limit they allow without negatively impacting the reach of your posts.

We didn’t see this until after the campaign had been planned and entered into Buffer. So we rescheduled 25 of our Facebook page posts for after 5pm on Friday, which is 24 hours after we were initially rate limited.

If Facebook algorithms implement a no-more-than-25-posts-within-24-hours policy, otherwise reach is constrained, that’s onerous. We’d prefer something like, no more than 25 posts in a calendar day, but the post count resets after midnight in your primary time zone.


Instagram limits posts to 100 per day, which is more reasonable than Facebook.

Instagram API Limitation on Galleries
This is an illustration of how Instagram’s API denies publish of galleries

The big restriction that Instagram has on its service is its API does not permit the creation of galleries. This is illustrated in this screenshot from the Buffer Publish tool.

Since we can’t schedule gallery posts on Instagram, we have to choose one photo per arena.

Another restriction unique to Instagram is that URLs are not permitted in the body of a post. This makes RinkAtlas posts on Instagram fundamentally different from our tweets and posts to Facebook pages.

Not having links in posts differentiates Instagram from Facebook. But it also really limits Instagram’s value for telling RinkAtlas’ story. People follow RinkAtlas on Instagram because they love hockey arenas. They think the stories we tell are compelling. So why can’t we drive traffic to a RinkAtlas arena detail page or RinkAtlas blog entry?

We know that RinkAtlas is a small publisher. Our use case for Facebook Pages and Instagram isn’t among the use cases that Facebook is really trying to restrict. But their restrictions limit the utility of their services to us and our users.

We hope that you will continue to follow RinkAtlas on all of these social media channels. But this is why the best RinkAtlas social media experience will continue to be on Twitter.

Dave Aiello from RinkAtlas Appears on Stick In Rink Podcast

On December 8, RinkAtlas founder Dave Aiello was interviewed by Isha Jahromi of the Stick In Rink Podcast. This podcast is based in Victoria, BC and focuses on the NHL and Junior Hockey with attention to hockey in the British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.

In this 10 minute interview, Dave and Isha discuss RinkAtlas features and some of its history, a few of the differences between NCAA and ACHA hockey, and the significance of the cover photo on the RinkAtlas Twitter page.

In case you are curious, the name “Stick in Rink” refers to the logo of the Vancouver Canucks, which shows a hockey stick extending across a hockey rink.

Stick In Rink Podcast

The Stick In Rink podcast is available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and wherever fine podcasts are available.

(Note to readers: The Stick In Rink Podcast carries the EXPLICIT tag in the iTunes Podcast Directory. Although no inappropriate language was used in the interview, we caution parents about some of the language in other segments of the podcast.)

New Page for Arena Photos from Outside of North America

We’re pleased to announce a new page called Arena Photos from Outside of North America. This is where we will keep photos that contributors send us of arenas that don’t currently exist in the RinkAtlas arena directory.

The first two photos on this page are from The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They were taken by Erik Holvig, who is one of the top photo contributors to RinkAtlas. Thanks for sharing these photos with us Erik!

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 some of our query techniques had to be 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 City and State or Province

You can search for all of the arenas in one city by searching for the city and state abbreviation or the city and province abbreviation. The comma between city and state / province abbreviation is optional.

In other words, searching for “Troy, NY” will return Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.

Some of the largest and most interesting sets of arenas can be found by searching:

New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Boston, MA
Minneapolis, MN

Montreal, QC
Montréal, QC
Toronto, ON
Winnipeg, MN
Regina, SK
Saskatoon, SK

  • By League

If you enter “NHL”, “AHL”, “ECAC”, “Hockey East”, “Atlantic Hockey”, “Big 10”, “NCHC”, “WCHA”, “CHA”, or “DVHL” 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).

  • By Zip Code or Postal Code

If you enter a U.S. Zip Code or Canadian Postal Code, you’ll see all of the arenas with addresses in that area.  Since both Zip Codes and Postal Codes are for relatively small areas, it’s somewhat difficult to find ones that contain multiple arenas. But that’s not the point.  The point of Zip Code and Postal Code searches is to find an arena which you are having difficulty finding using search by name.

The best example we’ve found of search by Zip Code returning multiple arenas is “12180”, the Zip Code for Troy, New York. If you enter “12180” without quotes, you’ll see Frear Park Ice Rink, Houston Field House / RPI / Rensselaer, Knickerbacker Arena, Robert M. Conway Arena / Hudson Valley Community College / HVCC.


The search options on RinkAtlas are now restored, with the exception of geo location searches. 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.