When you think of ice hockey, the first image that probably comes to mind is that of fast-paced action with lots of hustle and crashes. Truth is, while the sport definitely requires some quick hands, it isn’t all about hitting the net as quickly as possible. There is more than one type of shot in hockey, and while some are clearly faster than others, the average isn’t as fast as you’d think. Depending on the situation, players have to take their time and choose the right shot, which can result in less adrenaline and more planning.
To figure out how fast the average hockey shot is, we need to first establish what exactly we’re measuring. When a player is shooting the puck, there are actually two separate measures that we can look at: the velocity and the distance of the shot. The first one, velocity, measures how fast the puck travels when it’s shot. In other words, if you want to know how fast the average hockey shot is, simply find the average velocity of all the shots in a given game and you’ll have your answer. The second measure, distance, determines how far the puck went when it was shot. Knowing both of these numbers for each team in a given game will also give us an idea of how much faster or slower the average shot is compared to the overall pace of play. For example, if a team has a lot of short-range shots, but they also have a lot of high-velocity shots as well, then we know that the average shot on that team will be somewhere in the middle – not as fast as those short shots, but also not as slow as those high shots. Before we begin, it’s important to note that both numbers will vary from game to game based on the situations and the skills of the players. While we can’t make any definite conclusions based on one or two seasons, we can get an idea of the general trend based on the numbers for many different teams over many years.
The Average Velocity Of A Hockey Shot Has Increased Over Time
When we compare the average velocity of a hockey shot over time, we notice a clear trend. From the early 1900s to the present day, the average velocity of a hockey shot has increased by about four orders of magnitude – that’s a tenfold increase! To be able to accurately measure this increase, we need to first establish a baseline. Looking at the first hockey game ever played, a mere 52 years ago, we see that the average velocity of a hockey shot was 0.61 miles per hour (mph). Since then, the average velocity of a hockey shot has increased every year and, currently, it sits at 2.38 mph. To put this in perspective, over the course of a year, you’d travel about 116 miles based on the average speed of a hockey shot.
To compare this to another popular sport, the MLB, which is officially known as the “American League,” the average MLB throw speed has increased from 0.77 to 1.78 mph over the last century. While the MLB distance record for a throw, 11.84 miles, was set in 2019, the record for a pitched ball is 10.58 miles, which was set in 1914.
Hockey Is More Than Just A Fast-Paced Game
Many people think of hockey as just a faster-paced game compared to basketball or football, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hockey is a sport that requires a lot of strategy and planning as well. For example, you need to consider which direction you want the puck to go in and, once you’ve decided that, you need to execute your plan effectively. There are five distinct types of shots in hockey, and each one has a different purpose.
- A snap shot
- A slap shot
- A wrister (or wrist shot)
- A through-ball
- An overhand shot
- A backhand shot
Each one of these shots has a specific name and a purpose. A snap shot is the shot that is used when the goalie hasn’t moved and the shooter just wants to get the puck on net as fast as possible. A slap shot is what you might call an “old-school” shot, and it goes back to the basics of hockey: if the goalie doesn’t move and you want to score, you fire a shot at the goal. A wrister (or wrist shot) is exactly what it sounds like – a shot using the wrist to get the puck on net. While any of these shots will hit the net, a wrister will always be the fastest of the five.
A through-ball is, essentially, what happens when you get a shot on net and the goalie doesn’t have time to react. A through-ball is often considered as the most important shot in hockey, as it gives the goalie no option other than to get the puck and thus deny the goal. An overhand shot is, quite simply, a shot where the ball is released with the hand above the head. An overhand shot is effective when you want to send the puck into the opponent’s zone as quickly as possible. Finally, a backhand shot is the shot that every NHL player fears most because it is the hardest to stop. A backhand shot is typically used to protect your own goal or, if you’ve got the puck on the point, to find a way to score. If you’ve got the puck on the point, a backhand is also the shot you use to create turnovers and dangerous situations in the opposing zone.
To conclude, comparing hockey to other sports is a bit like comparing apples to oranges because, while they’re both fruit, they’re grown for very different uses. Maybe the most accurate way to put it is that while hockey is an exciting game to watch, it’s also a lot more than that. The strategy, the preparation, and the execution are all part of the fun and make it a game that is worthy of respect.