Hockey thinks Freestyle is a waste of valuable ice ("there are only 25 kids out there-- why isn't this hockey ice? We'd have 10 kids on the ice at a time, at a discounted price! Uh, wait...")The truth is there isn't enough ice in a typical rink. Private rinks are going to go for the biggest bang for the buck, which is usually hockey because it's cost effective to schedule, even though it's less lucrative on a per-skater basis. Training rinks are going to want enough freestyle ice at premium times to attract high level skaters. Skating schools need practice ice during or after class sessions, to maximize use. Everyone needs public, because that's where most of your new customers come from.
Freestyle thinks hockey gets free ice ("They schedule ice that they never use! We should make that dance ice, which would have at least 4 people on it! Maybe. Unless we decide to do off-ice that day.")
Beginner coaches think the freestyle skaters mentally paint targets on the tots. ("They have more ice than anyone! Maybe they could have one session a week without high level kids? And it needs to be the most premium ice right after school. Except I don't need it until after soccer ends. But please reserve it.")
Don't even get me started on the bastard child of skating programs, in other words, Synchro.
The truth is, that rinks need to allocate ice for the best return on investment--how can they maximize use and retain customers? This means that tournament ice needs to be reserved, even if the home team bombs out in the quarter finals, so that the big game never happens. The freestyle skaters need extra ice before the big competitions. Classes and public are cash cows-- you can fit a lot of paying customers onto class ice (as noted above, hockey's going to have 10 kids on the ice, and maybe 20 kids on the boards; freestyle tops out around 30. Classes or public might have 200. Do the math.)
If you're in a small market, you're stuck with the schedule at one or two rinks. If you're in a big market like Chicago, where there are 50 rinks in a 25 mile radius, stop complaining, and start driving.
You can make the schedule at your home rink work, or you can find ice that fits your schedule.
What you can't do is change the equation.
How do you deal with less than optimum scheduling at your home rink?