Hockey puck

Last updated

A standard hockey puck Ice hockey puck - 2.jpg
A standard hockey puck

A hockey puck is a disk made of vulcanized rubber that serves the same functions in various games as a ball does in ball games. The best-known use of pucks is in ice hockey, a major international sport. A hockey puck has also been referred to as a "Flat Ball."

A ball is a round object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch or juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black-powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.


Ice hockey and its various precursor games utilized balls until the late 19th century. By the 1870s, flat pucks were made of wood as well as rubber. At first, pucks were square. The first recorded organized game of ice hockey used a wooden puck, to prevent it from leaving the rink of play. [1] Rubber pucks were first made by slicing a rubber ball, then trimming the disc square. The Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal is credited with making and using the first round pucks, in the 1880s. [2]

First indoor ice hockey game 1875 ice hockey game in Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal

On March 3, 1875, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game took place at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Organized by James Creighton, who captained one of the teams, the game was between two nine-member teams, using a wooden 'puck'. Members used skates and sticks used for outdoor hockey and shinny games in Nova Scotia, where Creighton was born and raised. It is recognized as the first organized ice hockey game.

Montreal Victorias former amateur ice hockey club in Montréal, Québec,Kanada

The Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal, Quebec, Canada was an early men's amateur ice hockey club. Its date of origin is ascribed to either 1874, 1877 or 1881, making it either the first or second organized ice hockey club after McGill University. The club played at its own rink, the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal. The club was winners of the Stanley Cup in 1895 and held it except for a period in 1896 until 1899. The club remained amateur, splitting from the ranks of teams turned professional in 1908. The amateur hockey club was the first winner of the Allan Cup and continued in play until 1939 after its 65th season. The club often also fielded junior and intermediate teams.

Many indigenous persons throughout North America played a version of field hockey which involved some type of "puck" or ball, and curved wooden sticks. It was first observed by Europeans being played by Mi'kmaqs in Nova Scotia in the late 17th century. It was called "ricket" by the Mi'kmaqs. Eventually, they began to carve pucks from cherrywood, which was the puck of preference until late in the century when rubber imported by Euro-Americans replaced the wood. [3]

Nova Scotia Province of Canada

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).

The "Flat ball" saying comes from Old England. It is believed by some that the sport of modern hockey was first conceived in Europe sometime in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It is believed that some Europeans were playing a form of hockey utilizing a round ball that had not been aired up properly. The ball was about 3/4 full, but they played on. Finding it more enjoyable they worked to make a flat ball that was easier to glide across the ice. They combined a flat wooden disk with a rubber outside coating around the middle. The exact thickness is unknown and no known pictures exist of the flat ball or play with it. It is unknown if this has any direct tie to the modern sport, but is believed by some to have inspired, or even have created the modern sport.


The origin of the word puck is obscure. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests the name is related to the verb to puck (a cognate of poke) used in the game of hurling for striking or pushing the ball, from the Scottish Gaelic puc or the Irish poc, meaning "to poke, punch or deliver a blow": [4] [5]

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

Cognate word that has a common etymological origin

In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. Cognates are often inherited from a shared parent language, but they may also involve borrowings from some other language. For example, the English words dish and desk and the German word Tisch ("table") are cognates because they all come from Latin discus, which relates to their flat surfaces. Cognates may have evolved similar, different or even opposite meanings, but in most cases there are some similar sounds or letters in the words, in some cases appearing to be dissimilar. Some words sound similar, but do not come from the same root; these are called false cognates, while some are truly cognate but differ in meaning; these are called false friends.

Hurling outdoor team game

Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin. The game has prehistoric origins, and has been played for 4,000 years. One of Ireland's native Gaelic games, it shares a number of features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, the number of players, and much terminology. There is a similar game for women called camogie. It shares a common Gaelic root with the sport of shinty, which is played predominantly in Scotland.

It is possible that settlers of Halifax, Nova Scotia, many of whom were Irish and played hurling, may have introduced the word to Canada. The first known printed reference was in Montreal, in 1876 (Montreal Gazette of February 7, 1876), just a year after the first indoor game was played there. [6]

Halifax, Nova Scotia Municipality in Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax, officially known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It had a population of 403,131 in 2016, with 316,701 in the urban area centred on Halifax Harbour. The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996: Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County.

A hockey puck is also referred to colloquially as a "biscuit". To put the "biscuit in the basket" (colloquial for the goal) is to score a goal.

In ice hockey

Ice hockey requires a hard disk of vulcanized rubber. A standard ice hockey puck is black, 1 inch (25 mm) thick, 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter, and weighs between 5.5 and 6 ounces (156 and 170 g); [7] some pucks are heavier or lighter than standard (see below). Pucks are often marked with silkscreened team or league logos on one or both faces. [7] Pucks are frozen before the game to reduce bouncing during play. [7]


There are several variations on the standard black, 6-ounce (170 g) hockey puck. One of the most common is a blue, 4-ounce (110 g) puck that is used for training younger players who are not yet able to use a standard puck. Heavier 10-ounce (280 g) training pucks, typically reddish pink or reddish orange in colour, are also available for players looking to develop the strength of their shots or improve their stick handling skills. Players looking to increase wrist strength often practice with steel pucks that weigh 2 pounds (910 g); these pucks are not used for shooting, as they could seriously harm other players. White pucks are used for goaltender practice. These are regulation size and weight, but made from white rubber. A hollow, light-weight fluorescent orange puck is available for road or floor hockey. Other variants, some with plastic ball-bearings or glides, are available for use for road or roller hockey.[ citation needed ]

Two major developments have been devised to create better puck visibility on television broadcasts, but both were short-lived:


The use of a "Firepuck" in the early 1990s was the first attempt to improve the visibility of hockey pucks as seen on television. This invention incorporated coloured retro reflective materials of either embedded lens elements or prismatic reflectors laminated into recesses on the flat surfaces and the vertical edge of a standard hockey puck. Yellow was the preferred reflected colour. A spotlight was required to be positioned on the TV camera and focused at the centre of the viewing area.

A short demonstration tape of the Minnesota North Stars skating with the Firepuck was shown during the period break at the 1993 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. The International Hockey League (IHL) pursued testing the Firepuck with its inventor, Donald Klassen. The next television viewing was the IHL All-Star Game in Fort Wayne, Indiana, January 1994, where the Firepuck was used for the entire game. The IHL tested the Firepuck in two more games, and finally the East Coast Hockey League used it January 17, 1997, for their all-star game.

The use of the Firepuck was discontinued because of these reasons:

  • The slight structural change increased the tendency for the puck to bounce on the ice. This made it more difficult for the goaltender and resulted in increased scoring.
  • The skaters objected to the use of camera spotlights which reflected off the ice.
  • The television viewing contrast of the Firepuck was not noticeably enhanced when the camera view was of the entire rink, this being the most common camera shot.

The Firepuck name was branded during the 1990s but has since been discontinued.

Smart puck

The FoxTrax "smart puck" was developed by the Fox television network when it held National Hockey League (NHL) broadcasting rights for the United States. The puck had integrated electronics to track its position on screen; a blue streak traced the path of the puck across the ice. The streak would turn red if the puck was shot especially hard. This was an experiment in broadcasting intended to help viewers unfamiliar with hockey to better follow the game by making the puck more visible. It was ill-received by many traditional hockey fans, but appreciated by many of the more casual viewers.[ citation needed ] The system debuted with much publicity in the NHL All-Star game at the Boston Fleet Center on January 20, 1996, but the system was shelved when Fox Sports lost the NHL broadcast rights three years later.[ citation needed ]

In game play

During a game, pucks can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) or more when struck. Zdeno Chára, whose slapshot clocked 108.8 miles per hour (175.1 km/h) in the 2013 NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills competition, broke his own earlier record. [8] The current world record is held by Denis Kulyash of KHL's Avangard Omsk, who slapped a puck at the 2011 KHL All-Star Game skills competition in Riga, Latvia with a speed of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h). [9]

Fast-flying pucks are potentially dangerous to players and spectators. Puck-related injuries at hockey games are not uncommon. This led to the evolution of various types of protective gear for players, most notably the goaltender mask. The most serious incident involving a spectator took place on March 18, 2002, when a 13-year-old girl, Brittanie Cecil, died two days after being struck on the head by a hockey puck deflected into the crowd at a NHL game between the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus. This is the only known incident of this type to have occurred in the history of the league. Partly as a result of this event, the glass or plexiglass panels that sit atop the boards of hockey rinks to protect spectators have been supplemented with mesh nets that extend above the upper edge of the glass.


NHL regulation pucks were not required for professional play until the 1990–91 season, but were standardized for consistent play and ease of manufacture half a century earlier, by Art Ross, in 1940. [7] Major manufacturers of pucks exist in Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic, the People's Republic of China, [7] [ better source needed ] and Slovakia. [10]

The list of former or present-day major producers includes

The black rubber of the puck is made up of a mix of natural rubber, antioxidants, bonding materials and other chemicals to achieve a balance of hardness and resilience. [13] This mixture is then turned in a machine with metal rollers, where workers add extra natural rubber, and ensure that the mixing is even. Samples are then put into a machine that analyses if the rubber will harden at the right temperature. An automated apparatus, called a pultrusion machine, [7] extrudes the rubber into long circular logs that are 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter and then cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick pieces while still soft. These pre-forms are then manually put into moulds that are the exact size of a finished puck. [13] There are up to 200 mould cavities per moulding palette, capable of producing up to 5,000 pucks per week. [7] The moulds are then compressed. This compression may be done cold [7] or with the moulds heated to 300 °F (149 °C) for 18 minutes, [13] depending on the proprietary methods of the manufacturer. They come out hard and then are allowed to sit for 24 hours. Each puck is manually cleaned with a trimmer machine to remove excess rubber. The moulding process adds a diamond cross-hatch texture around the edge of the puck for more friction between the stick and puck for better control and puck handling. [13]

The practice pucks are made by a similar but faster process that uses larger pre-forms, 4–5 in (10–13 cm) thick, puts them into moulds automatically, and applies more pressure and heat over a shorter period of time to compress the puck into the standard size. This allows approximately twice as many pucks to be manufactured in the same time period as the more exacting production of NHL regulation pucks. People sometimes freeze pucks to prevent them from sticking to the ice. [7]

In roller hockey

Roller hockey pucks are similar to ice-hockey pucks, but made from plastic and thus lighter. They have small ribs protruding from their tops and bottoms which limit contact with the surface, allowing better sliding motion and less friction.

Most commonly red, roller hockey pucks can be found in almost any colour, although light, visible colours such as red, orange, yellow, pink, and green are typical.

Roller hockey pucks were created so inline hockey and street hockey players could play with a puck instead of a ball on surfaces such as hardwood, concrete, and asphalt.

In underwater hockey

Underwater Hockey puck pushed by stick Glove-stick-puck.jpg
Underwater Hockey puck pushed by stick

An underwater hockey puck (originally but now rarely referred to as a "squid" in the United Kingdom), while similar in appearance to an ice hockey puck, differs in that it has a lead core weighing approximately 3 pounds (1.4 kg) within a teflon, plastic or rubber coating. This makes the puck dense enough to sink in a swimming pool, though it can be lofted during passes, while affording some protection to the pool tiles.

A smaller and lighter version of the standard puck exists for junior competition and is approximately 1  lb 12  oz (0.80–0.85 kg) and of similar construction to the standard puck.

While there are numerous regional variations in colour, construction and materials all must conform to international regulations stipulating overall dimensions and weight. The regulations state that pucks should be a bright distinctive colour, for example high-visibility pink or orange, and that for World Championships these are the only acceptable colours.

In other sports and games

The term "puck" is sometimes also applied to similar (though often smaller) gaming discs in other sports and games, including novuss, shuffleboard, table shuffleboard, box hockey and air hockey.

Alternative uses

Ice hockey pucks of regulation 3-inch (7.6 cm) diameter and 1-inch (2.5 cm) thickness may be used as mechanical vibration dampening isolators in places such as feet for light industrial air compressors, and air conditioning units because they are of regulation materials and therefore consistent manufacture, size and shape, and are constructed of a repeatable and consistent vulcanized rubber material. Since the material is rubber, it may be drilled out or milled easily to a fixed depth as rubber feet or used as rubber spacer or gasket material. A very common use of a slotted hockey puck is as an adaptor between the metal foot of a trolley jack and the sill (rocker panel) of an automobile. The sill has a spot-welded lip which fits into the slot of the puck and would otherwise be bent or marked by the metal foot. Hockey pucks have been used to level furniture, beverage refrigeration systems, wedding mementos, and as paper weights or door stops. The hockey puck has many uses other than its original, intended purpose by virtue of its consistent physical properties.

In November 2018, faculty of Oakland University in Michigan received hockey pucks and training to throw them as a possible last-ditch defense against active shooters. The American Association of University Professors distributed pucks to its 800 members, and is working with student groups to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Hockey is a sport in which two teams play against each other by trying to manoeuvre a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick. There are many types of hockey such as bandy, field hockey, ice hockey and rink hockey.

Roller hockey is a form of hockey played on a dry surface using wheeled skates. The term "Roller hockey" is often used interchangeably to refer to three variant forms chiefly differentiated by the equipment used: traditional "Roller hockey", played with quad skates and a ball, "Inline hockey", played with inline skates and puck and "Skater hockey", played with quad skates or inline skates and plastic ball. Most professional inline hockey games take place on an indoor or outdoor sport court. Otherwise, any dry surface can be used to host a game, typically a roller rink, macadam, or cement. Combined, roller hockey is played in nearly 60 countries worldwide.

Jacques Plante Canadian ice hockey player

Joseph Jacques Omer Plante was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career lasting from 1947 to 1975, he was considered to be one of the most important innovators in hockey. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1953 to 1963; during his tenure, the team won the Stanley Cup six times, including five consecutive wins. In 2017 Plante was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

A hockey stick is a piece of sport equipment used by the players in all the forms of hockey to move the ball or puck either to push, pull, hit, strike, flick, steer, launch or stop the ball/puck during play with the objective being to move the ball/puck around the playing area using the stick.

Goal (ice hockey) Point scoring in ice hockey

In ice hockey, a goal is scored when the puck entirely crosses the goal line between the two goal posts and below the goal crossbar. A goal awards one point to the team attacking the goal scored upon, regardless of which team the player who actually deflected the puck into the goal belongs to. Typically, a player on the team attempting to score shoots the puck with their stick towards the goal net opening, and a player on the opposing team called a goaltender tries to block the shot to prevent a goal from being scored against their team.

Manon Rhéaume Ice hockey player

Manon Rhéaume is a retired Canadian ice hockey goaltender. An Olympic silver medalist, she achieved a number of historic firsts during her career, including becoming the first woman to play in any of the major North American pro-sports leagues.

Defence in ice hockey is a player position whose primary responsibility is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. They are often referred to as defencemen, D, D-men or blueliners. They were once called cover-point. A good defenceman is both strong in defensive and offensive play and for defenceman pairing also need to be good at defending and attacking.

Ice hockey rink rink for the purpose of playing ice hockey

An ice hockey rink is an ice rink that is specifically designed for ice hockey, a team competing sport. Alternatively it is used for other sports such as broomball, ringette and rink bandy. It is a rectangle with rounded edges and surrounded by a wall approximately 1 metre (39 in) high called the boards.

Slapshot Shooting technique in hockey

A slapshot in ice hockey is the hardest shot one can perform. It has four stages which are executed in one fluid motion to make the puck fly into the net:

  1. The player winds up his hockey stick to shoulder height or higher.
  2. Next the player violently "slaps" the ice slightly behind the puck and uses his weight to bend the stick, storing energy in it like a spring. This bending of the stick gives the slapshot its speed. Just like a bow and arrow, the stick's tendency to return to being straight is transferred to the puck, giving it much more speed than just hitting it alone could.
  3. When the face of the stick blade strikes the puck, the player rolls his wrists and shifts his weight so that the energy stored in the stick is released through the puck.
  4. Finally, the player follows through, ending up with the stick pointed towards the desired target.

The Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) was an amateur men's ice hockey league founded on 8 December 1886, in existence until 1898. It was the second ice hockey league organized in Canada, after one in Kingston, Ontario started in 1883. It was organized to provide a longer season to determine the Canadian champion. Prior to its founding the Canadian championship was determined in a tournament in Montreal. It is the first championship ice hockey league.

Street hockey

Street hockey is a variation of the sport of ice hockey where the game is played outdoors on foot, or with inline or roller skates using a ball or puck. Both ball and puck are typically designed to be played on non-ice surfaces. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by shooting the ball or puck into the opposing team's net. Street hockey in pickup form is generally played under the following guidelines since there are no "official rules" for local pickup hockey:

Floor hockey is a family of indoor hockey games.

Billiard table playing surface for cue sports

A billiard table or billiards table is a bounded table on which cue sports are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth, and surrounded by vulcanized rubber cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor. More specific terms are used for specific sports, such as snooker table and pool table, and different-sized billiard balls are used on these table types. An obsolete term is billiard board, used in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Roller in-line hockey team sport

Roller in-line hockey, or inline hockey is a variant of hockey played on a hard, smooth surface, with players using inline skates to move and hockey sticks to shoot a hard, plastic puck into their opponent's goal to score points. There are five players including the goalkeeper from each team on the rink at a time, while teams normally consist of 16 players.

FoxTrax, also referred to as the glowing puck, is an augmented reality system that was used by Fox Sports' telecasts of the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1996 to 1998. The system was intended to help television viewers visually follow a hockey puck on the ice, especially near the bottom of the rink where the traditional center ice camera was unable to see it due to the sideboards obstructing the puck's location. The system used modified hockey pucks containing shock sensors and infrared emitters, which were then read by sensors and computer systems to generate on-screen graphics, such as a blue "glow" around the puck, and other enhancements such as trails to indicate the hardness and speed of shots.

Percy LeSueur Canadian ice hockey player

Sergeant Percivale St-Helier LeSueur was a Canadian senior and professional ice hockey goaltender. He was a member of the Smiths Falls Seniors for three years, with whom his performance in a 1906 Stanley Cup challenge series attracted the attention of his opponents, the Ottawa Silver Seven. Although his team lost the series, LeSueur excelled in goal, keeping the games close. Nine days after the defeat, he joined the Silver Seven and played in a challenge match against the Montreal Wanderers. He remained with Ottawa through the 1913–14 season where he served as team captain for three seasons, and assumed coaching duties in his final season with the team.

Spongee or sponge hockey is a cult sport played almost exclusively in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, by thousands of players in dozens of leagues. It gets its name from the puck that is used: instead of the hard vulcanized rubber puck that is used in regular ice hockey, a soft sponge puck is used.

Ice hockey equipment specialized equipment used to facilitate the play of the game of ice hockey and to protect the athletes

In ice hockey, players use specialized equipment both to facilitate the play of the game and for protection as this is a sport where injuries are common, therefore, all players are encouraged to protect their bodies from bruises and severe fractures.


  1. McKinley, Michael (2006). Hockey: A People's History . Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-7710-5769-4.
  2. "McGill Man Tells of How First Rules for Hockey Were Written". The Gazette. Montreal. December 17, 1936. p. 17.
  3. "History of Native Hockey".
  4. Beauchamp, J. Clem (September 1943). Montreal Star.Missing or empty |title= (help), citing Joyce 1910.
  5. Joyce, P.W. (1910). English as We Speak It in Ireland.
  6. Watson, Ronald C.; Rickwood, Gregory D. (May 1999). ""Stewards of Ice Hockey": A Historical Review of Safety Rules in Canadian Amateur Ice Hockey". Sport History Review. 30 (1): 27–38. doi:10.1123/shr.30.1.27. ISSN   1087-1659.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Hockey Puck: How Products are Made". eNotes. Archived from the original on April 4, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  8. "Chara breaks own Hardest Shot record, hits 105.9 mph". Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy. January 29, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  9. "World record for fastest slap shot beaten at KHL All-Star game". RT. February 6, 2011. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  10. Vestenice, Dolne (Fall 1998). "Hockey Pucks from Vegum". Slovak Heritage Live. Vol. 6 no. 3.
  11. 1 2 "Olympijské góly v Soči obstarají puky z Náchoda. Překvapený je i výrobce".
  12. "Na MS sa bude hrať s českými pukmi, slovenské v NHL". (in Slovak).
  13. 1 2 3 4 "How it's made: Hockey Pucks". ScienceHack. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  14. Faculty trained to use hockey pucks to thwart shooters, Associated Press, November 28, 2018