Unlock the Secrets: How Fast Hockey Players Really Skate!

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When you watch hockey players glide gracefully on the ice, have you ever wondered how fast they’re actually going? While it may look effortless, skating is a complex and physically demanding skill that requires incredible strength, coordination, and technique. So, just how fast can hockey players skate?

Well, the answer may surprise you. While the average skating speed of an NHL player is around 20 miles per hour, the top skaters can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour! That’s faster than many cars drive in urban areas!

But what makes these players so fast? Is it their strength, their technique, or something else entirely? In this article, we’ll delve into the secrets of how hockey players achieve such impressive skating speeds. From the science behind skating to the training techniques used by the pros, we’ll uncover everything you need to know to unlock the secrets of the fastest sport on ice.

Ready to lace up your skates and hit the ice? Let’s go!

The Science Behind Skating Speed

Skating speed is a combination of multiple factors that all work together to propel a player forward on the ice. Some of the most important factors include stride length and frequency, pushing technique, body position, and the equipment used. Let’s take a closer look at some of the science behind what makes hockey players so fast on the ice.

Firstly, stride length and frequency play a significant role in determining a player’s speed. The longer the stride, the more distance a player covers with each push. However, a longer stride also requires more energy, making it more difficult to maintain for extended periods of time. Frequency is also important as it determines how quickly a player can repeat their stride and maintain momentum.

Body Position

  • Proper body position is crucial for maximizing speed on the ice.
  • The lower a player’s center of gravity, the more stable they are on their skates.
  • Leaning forward slightly can also help players generate more power with each push.


The right equipment can also play a role in a player’s skating speed. For example, skates with stiffer boots provide more support and allow players to transfer more power to the ice. The shape and profile of the blade also impact how a player moves on the ice.

Additionally, the clothing and padding worn by players can affect their aerodynamics and overall speed. Tight-fitting clothing and well-fitted padding reduce air resistance and help players move more efficiently.

Training Techniques

Of course, training is essential for developing the strength and technique needed to skate at high speeds. Coaches and trainers use a variety of techniques to help players improve their skating abilities, including off-ice exercises, video analysis, and on-ice drills.

One popular training technique is the use of resistance bands to help players build strength and improve their stride. Another technique involves using specialized training equipment like slide boards and balance boards to improve balance and stability on the ice.

Now that we’ve explored some of the science behind skating speed, it’s clear that there’s a lot that goes into the sport beyond simply gliding gracefully on the ice. Understanding these factors can help you appreciate the incredible skills of the world’s top hockey players and may even inspire you to lace up your own skates and hit the ice.

Breaking Down the Mechanics of Skating

Skating is more than just moving your feet back and forth. It requires a complex combination of techniques that involve balance, power, and precision. The proper execution of these techniques can mean the difference between being an average skater and a lightning-fast hockey player.

The mechanics of skating are broken down into two parts: the stride and the edge. The stride is the movement of the legs to create power and momentum, while the edge is the ability to transfer weight from one skate to the other while maintaining balance and control. Let’s take a closer look at these two important components of skating.

The Stride

The stride is the most important aspect of skating when it comes to speed. It involves a series of movements that work together to create forward momentum. A powerful stride is essential for achieving maximum speed on the ice. Here are some key elements of a proper stride:

  • Extension: The leg must fully extend behind the body, creating a long and powerful stride.
  • Push: The leg then pushes forward and down, using the full power of the leg muscles to generate speed.
  • Glide: After the push, the skater glides on the opposite leg before starting the stride again with the other leg.

The Edge

The edge is the ability to transfer weight from one skate to the other while maintaining balance and control. This is crucial for quick turns and sudden changes of direction. Here are some important elements of proper edge control:

  • Body Position: The upper body should be positioned directly over the skate that is bearing weight, with the head up and eyes forward.
  • Balance: The weight should be evenly distributed between the front and back of the blade.
  • Angle: The angle of the blade on the ice is crucial for maintaining control and speed. A slight angle to the inside edge of the blade will provide the best control and acceleration.

By understanding and mastering the mechanics of skating, you can improve your speed, agility, and overall performance on the ice. Practice makes perfect, so hit the rink and work on your stride and edge control to become the fastest and most efficient skater you can be!

Top Speeds in NHL History

Speed is a crucial component of ice hockey. The ability to skate faster than your opponents can be the difference between scoring a goal or missing a crucial opportunity. Some players have gone down in history for their blazing fast speeds on the ice.

Here are some of the fastest skaters in NHL history:

Bill Mosienko

Bill Mosienko is famous for scoring the fastest hat-trick in NHL history, netting three goals in just 21 seconds. But Mosienko was also incredibly fast on the ice. In 1941, he was clocked at a top speed of 29.2 mph, which is still considered one of the fastest speeds ever recorded in the NHL.

Bobby Hull

Bobby Hull, known as “The Golden Jet,” was one of the greatest players in NHL history. Hull was also one of the fastest skaters of his time, and in 1960 he became the first player to be officially clocked at 30 mph.

Michael Grabner

Michael Grabner is one of the fastest skaters in the modern NHL. In 2011, he won the NHL’s fastest skater competition with a speed of 20.9 mph. He has consistently been one of the fastest players in the league, often outracing opponents to the puck.

  • Other notable fast skaters in NHL history include:
  • Yvan Cournoyer, known as “The Roadrunner,” was a speedy winger for the Montreal Canadiens and was known for his ability to outrun opponents on breakaways.
  • Sergei Fedorov was a Russian-born player who was known for his speed and agility on the ice. He won the fastest skater competition at the NHL All-Star Game twice in his career.

Speed is just one aspect of what makes a great hockey player, but it can certainly make a difference in a game. These players have gone down in history for their incredible speed and ability to outrun opponents on the ice.

What Factors Affect Skating Speed?

Skating speed is a crucial element in hockey, with players striving to reach their maximum velocity to gain a competitive edge on the ice. But what factors affect this speed? In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors that can impact a player’s skating speed.

Firstly, technique plays a significant role in a player’s skating speed. Efficient use of edges, proper stride length, and good balance all contribute to a skater’s ability to generate speed. A skilled skater will be able to maintain momentum and generate power, allowing them to reach higher speeds on the ice.


  • Skates are an essential piece of equipment for any hockey player. Properly fitted skates that provide good ankle support and are appropriately sharpened can enhance a player’s ability to generate speed.
  • Sticks are also crucial for speed, as they can impact a player’s stride length and the amount of force they can generate when pushing off the ice.

Strength and Conditioning

Strength and conditioning is another crucial factor that can impact a player’s skating speed. Improving lower body strength through exercises such as squats and lunges can help players generate more power and speed on the ice. Good cardiovascular fitness is also essential for players to maintain high speeds over extended periods of time.

Ice Conditions

  • Ice conditions can also have an impact on a player’s skating speed. Harder ice surfaces provide less resistance and allow players to skate faster, while softer ice can slow players down.
  • The temperature of the ice can also impact skating speed. Colder temperatures create harder ice surfaces, while warmer temperatures can cause ice to become softer and more prone to melting, which can slow players down.

Ultimately, a player’s skating speed is influenced by a combination of these factors, and improving any one of them can lead to gains in speed on the ice. By focusing on proper technique, using high-quality equipment, improving strength and conditioning, and taking advantage of favorable ice conditions, players can enhance their skating speed and give themselves a competitive edge in the game of hockey.

Training Techniques to Increase Skating Speed

Skating speed is one of the most important attributes for any hockey player. A player’s ability to skate quickly can make a huge difference in their performance on the ice. Fortunately, there are several training techniques that players can use to improve their skating speed.

Before starting any training, it is important to warm up properly. This can help prevent injury and improve the effectiveness of the training. Dynamic stretching and light cardio are great ways to warm up.

Plyometric Training

  • Plyometric training is a type of training that involves explosive movements. This type of training can help players increase their power and speed on the ice.
  • Some plyometric exercises that can help improve skating speed include box jumps, split jumps, and lateral hops.
  • It is important to start with lower intensity exercises and gradually increase the difficulty over time to avoid injury.

Resistance Training

  • Resistance training is another effective way to improve skating speed. This type of training helps to strengthen the muscles used for skating, such as the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Squats, lunges, and deadlifts are great exercises to include in a resistance training program.
  • It is important to use proper form and start with lighter weights to avoid injury.

Interval Training

  • Interval training is a type of training that involves short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by periods of rest.
  • This type of training can be especially effective for improving skating speed because it mimics the stop-and-start nature of hockey.
  • Interval training can be done on the ice or off the ice with exercises such as sprints, hill runs, or bike sprints.

By incorporating these training techniques into a regular training program, hockey players can significantly improve their skating speed and overall performance on the ice.

How Skating Speed Can Make or Break a Player’s Career

Skating speed is an essential factor in ice hockey. Speed enables a player to quickly move on the ice, pass the puck, and score goals. In contrast, a player with slow skating speed may struggle to keep up with their opponents and may find themselves on the bench more often than on the ice.

For many professional players, their skating speed is the difference between a long and successful career or a short-lived one. Skating speed is often what separates elite players from average ones. It’s what makes a player a threat to their opponents and a valuable asset to their team. Therefore, it’s essential for players to focus on improving their skating speed through training techniques and practice.

On-Ice Drills

On-ice drills are essential for improving a player’s skating speed. These drills include speed skating, power skating, and edge work. These drills help players improve their balance, agility, and overall speed on the ice. On-ice drills are often practiced with and without the puck, allowing players to focus solely on their skating technique and speed.

Off-Ice Training

Off-ice training is just as important as on-ice training. It includes exercises such as plyometrics, sprints, and strength training. These exercises help players develop explosive power and speed, which translates to faster skating on the ice. Off-ice training also helps players build endurance, which is crucial for maintaining speed throughout a game.

Technique and Form

Improving skating technique and form can have a significant impact on a player’s speed. A player’s stride length and frequency, body position, and arm movements all play a role in their skating speed. Coaches and trainers can help players identify areas for improvement and provide guidance on how to improve their technique and form.

Skating speed is an essential aspect of ice hockey, and players who want to succeed must focus on improving their speed through on-ice and off-ice training, as well as technique and form. With dedication and hard work, players can increase their skating speed, making them a valuable asset to their team and increasing their chances of a successful career.

What Can Recreational Players Learn from the Pros?

Watching professional hockey players can be a thrilling experience for any fan, but for recreational players, it can also be an opportunity to learn new techniques and strategies to improve their own game. While it’s true that professional players have access to resources and training techniques that may not be available to the average recreational player, there are still plenty of valuable lessons that can be gleaned from watching the pros in action.

One of the most important things that recreational players can learn from professional players is the importance of good skating technique. Skating is the foundation of hockey, and mastering the proper techniques can greatly improve a player’s speed, agility, and overall performance on the ice. Professional players spend countless hours working on their skating technique, and watching how they move and position themselves on the ice can be a great way to learn new skills and improve your own game.

Stickhandling Techniques

Another area where recreational players can learn from the pros is stickhandling. Professional players have incredible hand-eye coordination and can manipulate the puck with ease, even in tight spaces and under pressure. By watching how they handle the puck, recreational players can learn new techniques for controlling the puck and faking out defenders. It’s also important to note that stickhandling is not just about fancy moves and tricks; it’s about using your body to protect the puck and make smart plays, even in high-pressure situations.

Off-Ice Conditioning

While it may not be as exciting to watch, off-ice conditioning is a critical part of any player’s training regimen. Professional players work with trainers and strength coaches to develop personalized workout plans that improve their strength, endurance, and overall fitness. Recreational players can learn from this approach by incorporating off-ice workouts into their own routine, such as weight training, cardio, and flexibility exercises. By building a strong foundation of physical fitness, recreational players can improve their on-ice performance and reduce their risk of injury.

Mental Toughness

Finally, one of the most valuable lessons that recreational players can learn from professional players is the importance of mental toughness. Professional hockey players face intense pressure and high-stakes situations on a regular basis, and they must be able to maintain focus and composure in order to succeed. Recreational players can learn from this by developing their own mental toughness skills, such as visualization, positive self-talk, and the ability to rebound from mistakes. By cultivating a strong mental game, recreational players can improve their performance and confidence on the ice.

How Fast Do Hockey Players Skate?

How do professional hockey players skate so fast?

Professional hockey players skate fast due to their excellent skating technique and training. They use their edges and generate power through their stride, allowing them to reach top speeds. Their training includes drills that focus on speed, agility, and explosiveness, allowing them to maintain their speed throughout the game.

What is the average speed of a professional hockey player?

The average speed of a professional hockey player is around 20 miles per hour. However, some players can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour during sprints or breakaways. Speed is an essential aspect of the game, and players strive to improve their skating skills to keep up with the competition.

How does skating speed impact a player’s performance?

Skating speed is a crucial factor in a player’s performance as it allows them to create scoring opportunities and prevent their opponents from doing the same. Players with faster skating speeds can create breakaways, get to loose pucks quicker, and create odd-man rushes. It also allows them to backcheck effectively, disrupt passing lanes, and prevent their opponents from creating scoring chances.

How can recreational players improve their skating speed?

Recreational players can improve their skating speed by practicing their technique, working on their edges, and incorporating explosive drills into their training routine. They can also work on building their leg strength through weight training and plyometric exercises. Skating drills that focus on speed and agility can also help improve their overall skating ability.

Is skating speed the only important factor in hockey?

Skating speed is an essential factor in hockey, but it is not the only factor that contributes to a player’s success. Players also need to have strong stickhandling skills, a good shot, and excellent vision on the ice. Defensive skills, such as good positioning and the ability to block shots, are also important for players. Overall, a well-rounded player with a combination of skills is more valuable than a player who only excels in one area.

Can a player still succeed in hockey without exceptional skating speed?

Yes, a player can still succeed in hockey without exceptional skating speed. Players who are not the fastest skaters can compensate by focusing on other aspects of their game, such as stickhandling, passing, and shooting. Defensive players who excel in positioning and blocking shots can also be valuable to their team. However, improving skating speed can still benefit a player’s overall game and make them more competitive.

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