Former NHL winger Richard Zednik described a scene "full of fear and panic" when the roof of a hockey rink in Slovakia began collapsing while he was on the ice with more than 100 young players.

Video footage showed the skaters gathered by a side entrance to the rink in the northern city of Trstena as the ceiling above cracked under the weight of snow before sheets of the roof fell terrifyingly onto the ice.

Zednik, who spent 13 seasons in the NHL, told local newspaper CAS that he and the children owed their lives to the watching parents, who spotted the impending damage before it was too late.

The 36 year old said he and the other adults scrambled successfully to get the children off the ice before the roof fell. "It took about 30 seconds," he said of the weekend collapse, adding that the "parents and children were in shock."

The stadium was opened in November, but reportedly was yet to be signed off by building inspectors.

Slovak star Zednik was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1994 and went on to play with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Florida Panthers before returning to Europe in 2009.

He survived a life-threatening injury in 2008 when he was cut in the throat by Florida teammate Olli Jokinen's skate.