On the ice, NHL players may achieve speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Some speed skaters have been timed at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour! What is it that makes one player faster than another? A skater's ability to move effectively and fast on the ice is enhanced by a mix of strength and mechanics. Size, muscle tone, and coordination all play a role in determining how quickly a player can cover ground.
The fastest man to ever play in the NHL was likely Eric Lindros who in his career with the Philadelphia Flyers averaged about 25 miles per hour. He played from 1997-2007 and finished with over 1,000 points in the NHL. A typical game lasts for 3 hours, so he made over 10,000 foot marches across the ice in that time!
Next up we have probably the most famous hockey player in the world today: Wayne Gretzky. In his career with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and St. Louis Blues, he averaged about 25 miles per hour. He was never officially measured by an official but according to some reports he weighed around 250 pounds at times during games.
Gretzky had a number of amazing achievements in his career including breaking the record for most goals in one season (92), most assists in one season (102), and most points in one season (205).
Players accelerate by digging their skates into the ice and leaning forward. By leaning forward, they are exerting a considerable strain on the bottom region of their bodies. This strain is called "body weight" and is one reason why many athletes who play ice hockey often suffer from back problems later in life.
Another way in which ice hockey uses speed is in shooting the puck. A player shoots the puck by making a quick snap shot with the arm that is not holding the stick. The faster the player shoots the puck, the better his or her chances of scoring.
Yet another way in which ice hockey uses speed is when players race each other downfield after receiving passes from their teammates. There are two ways players can get away with racing: if they pass the ball first or if there is no defender between them and the goal. If there is no defender between them and the goal, then it is legal for players to go all-out to score a goal.
Players also use speed in defensive play. For example, a player can use his or her speed to dodge a check from an opponent. Or a player can quickly skate out of the path of a puck that is being shot at him or her from behind the net!
The NHL's quickest players can skate faster than 30 km/h and up to 40 km/h at their top speed. That's nearly as quick as a moderately speeding automobile!
The most efficient way to skate faster is with a fast shot, because it reduces friction between your skates and the ice.
If you want to go even faster, slide yourself sideways down the ice: this makes your bottom half of your body act like a rocket engine, helping you move farther in a given amount of time.
In fact, some very high-level hockey players have been known to slide-shoot at speeds over 50 km/h (30 miles per hour). They do this by crouching with one leg forward while shooting past the opposing net into the other goal. This works because the momentum you gain from sliding allows your body to continue moving even after you shoot out of the gate!
Some very high-level hockey players have been known to slide-shoot at speeds over 50 km/h (30 miles per hour).
The quickest hockey players can attain speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h). They would go at speeds ranging from 20 to 25 mph (or 30 to 40 km/h) during game play. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is widely regarded as the NHL's quickest skater. He can reach speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km/h). The average speed of a National Hockey League player over a full game is about 12 miles per hour (19 km/h).
NHL players use different techniques to increase their speed. A player might drop their shoulder while rushing a puck carrier or break away from an opponent by ducking down and to the side to create space between them. Many times, coaches will tell players to "skate into the net" to gain momentum and speed. That's why many goalies wear numbers low enough to allow for skate blades when they play in their own end of the rink.
The fastest recorded human speed was Mika Norgaard of Norway, who achieved a peak velocity of 448 km/hr (270 mph) in a wind tunnel. This speed was recorded in 1994 by Norwegian researchers working with NASA.
In sports other than ice hockey, the official record holder for fastest human is Jackie Joyner-Kersee with a top speed of 464 km/hr (279 mph). She achieved this speed in 1999 during a run in a wind tunnel.