Hockey is an incredibly fast and difficult sport to play. The best players encompass great hand-eye coordination, strength, speed, agility, endurance and knowledge of the game. All of those skills coalesce when it comes to shooting, passing, blocking and chasing hockey’s famed “hockey puck”.
So, how much do hockey pucks weigh?
Standard sized hockey pucks that are used in games and practices weigh about six ounces. There are different variations of hockey pucks, which are denoted by color. Blue pucks are lighter and orange pucks are heavier than official black hockey pucks. These pucks are used for training purposes.
If you play hockey recreationally or watch the NHL on T.V., you may never use or have seen a blue or orange hockey puck. To learn more about these types of hockey pucks and why they’re used, we encourage you to read on.
Different Types of Hockey Pucks
Every professional ice hockey league and association uses the same regulation size hockey puck. Often affectionately coined the “biscuit” by players and fans alike because of its disc-like shape, hockey pucks come in many variations.
The majority of these deviations from the norm are indicated for the intent of training and are colored according to their distinct purpose. The most commonly used ice hockey puck is the regulation black, which weighs around six ounces.
For younger players who have not yet developed their strength but would like to work on their skills in both puck handling and shooting, there is a lighter option available.
These hockey pucks can be recognized by their blue color and are common among youth hockey leagues. Weighing around four ounces, blue hockey pucks can be used by a wide range of players who are not yet able to use the standard hockey puck.
Another hockey puck older players sometimes train with comes in the color orange. These pucks weigh around ten ounces and are used for increasing shot strength and stick handling speed.
An even heavier hockey puck made of steel weighs around two pounds. These are almost completely reserved for the use of improving puck handling skills and not used for shooting.
For goaltenders, there is a standard weight hockey puck made of white rubber rather than black.
Given that the ice sheet is white, these hockey pucks blend into the surroundings more easily and are shot at goalies to improve their ability to track the hockey puck from the shooter to the net, in effect, making it theoretically easier to see the black hockey pucks than without this training.
While all of these hockey puck types are used almost exclusively on ice, there are some puck types made specifically for different environments for floor and street hockey.
Often, these are brightly colored and made of plastic so they are durable and easy to see. Some may even have plastic bearings or rollers to enhance their mobility on the surface for which they were manufactured.
Hockey Puck Dimensions
Hockey pucks, while available in a variety of weights for different needs of players for training purposes, all conform to a standard measurement of dimension and volume.
The standard ice hockey puck measures one inch in thickness by three inches in diameter. This amounts to approximately seven cubic inches of volume. Many common items are very similar in size, but very few are similar in shape.
For example, the standard ice hockey puck is only three-fourths the volume of a regulation tennis ball, though the diameter is significantly larger (roughly two and one-half inches for a tennis ball).
Surprisingly, a hockey puck is only one half the size of a regulation baseball. Because of their size and how quickly they move during a professional ice hockey game, several methods of trying to make the puck more visible to fans have been experimented with.
One of these innovations used reflective material and a spotlight on the television camera, and another used integrated electronics in the ice hockey puck to track its position and map it on the screen.
None of these have lasted, however, and broadcasting networks have resorted to higher quality high-speed camera lenses to keep fans immersed in the fast-paced games.
What Are Hockey Pucks Made of?
The game we know of today as ice hockey was inspired by a much earlier version played not on ice but on an open field—field hockey, which is still played today.
This game, originally played by the indigenous people of the Americas, was played with a ball, not a hockey puck.
But as the game transitioned to using ice as the playing arena, the disc shape of the hockey puck was developed to slide freely across the smooth surface and replaced the traditional ball. The first iteration of the disc-ball was actually made of wood.
The first recognizable version of the ice hockey puck seen today did not come about until sometime in the late nineteenth century. Up until then, wooden hockey pucks were used because they didn’t bounce as much and were easier to keep in the playing area.
Today, ice hockey pucks are made of a complex mixture of chemicals in addition to the traditional vulcanized rubber.
Rubber is vulcanized by a heating process that then allows for the rubber to cool and then harden, while the chemical additives allow for a more resilient chemical structure, resistant to wear and chipping.
Why Are Hockey Pucks Black?
The traditional regulation ice hockey puck is black for several reasons.
First and foremost, when hockey was first making the transition from using wooden carved hockey pucks in the shape of a square to rubber pucks, they were fabricated from slicing the two ends off of a rubber ball and sharpening the edges to make the disc shape we now know.
Originally, this natural rubber from the nineteenth century was only available in black. Luckily, however, for hockey players and fans alike, this was not an issue for the game itself.
When thinking of winter, much time cannot be spent without thinking of the color white. Back when hockey games were exclusively played outside, the black rubber made for a perfect contrast in the players’ eyes to the white-out surroundings.
Additionally, the color of natural ice in the outdoors is relatively white and matching the surroundings, making black the great coincidence of choice that has lasted until the present.
Essentially, hockey pucks today are kept black for the sake of tradition given that ice sheets could really be made any color in modern times. Since white is the top choice for ice, black is the ideal choice for ice hockey pucks.
Why Are Hockey Pucks Frozen?
A black saucer flies over the netting and out of play, the shriek of a whistle echo rebounds suddenly off the metal bleachers and frozen walls and the referee skates over to the scorekeeper and penalty box.
Up flies another hockey puck from a seemingly endless supply. Is there some sort of contraption under that scoreboard operator’s table that provides him with as many hockey pucks as the game will require?
But in all seriousness, for the ice hockey enthusiast and casual fan alike, the mystery of why game pucks are kept on ice in a bucket rather than just on the desk of the scoring official is not broadly understood.
In reality, game pucks are kept on ice until they are needed for practical reasons that are not that mysterious after all.
Firstly, because of the chemical make-up of the vulcanized rubber, hockey pucks expand slightly when they are warmed, making their internal structure less rigid and bouncier, especially when struck against the ice.
Secondly, striking warm hockey pucks against the ice does present a greater risk for the puck to damage. And thirdly, cold hockey pucks are much more likely to glide smoothly on the ice and not stick to it.
In the end, while the intrigue of such a mysterious practice may provoke the imagination of many, the ice bucket of hockey pucks is there to improve the game quality and consistency.
How Fast Can Hockey Pucks be Shot?
Hockey pucks are designed in their form for maximum speed, making hockey one of, if not the fastest-paced sports played (the ice, of course, is the reason for ice hockey’s prestige in this category as well).
The disc shape of the hockey puck, the elastic yet rigid rubber material and the textured edges all work in tandem to allow the hockey puck to fly almost as fast as anything else in sports.
So how fast can a hockey puck be shot? Renowned among American hockey fans is Zdeno Chara who currently owns the NHL All-Star Competition’s hardest shot record at 108.8 miles per hour (MPH).
However, this is not the fastest moving puck to ever be recorded. Martin Frk of the AHL was recorded in 2020 at the AHL All-Star Weekend as shooting a hockey puck 109.2MPH.
And even faster yet, though not recognized by the NHL as a record, was the 114.1MPH clapper from the KHL’s Alexander Ryazantsev at the 2012 KHL All-Star Game Skills Competition.
While there is very little data on the average velocity of shots on goal in the NHL, even wrist shots with their quick release can clock in at over 90MPH. The old youth hockey coach who said the puck can move faster than anyone can skate was certainly on to something.