One of the main appeals for hockey fans is the game’s electrifying pace. As one of the world’s fastest sports, hockey requires a particular skill set, including speed, agility, and endurance. At the professional level, hockey has only become faster over the years.
This increased speed has forced hockey players to adapt and improve their skating. If not, the sport will become too fast for them to keep pace. But what is the precise speed of a professional hockey player? Let’s take a look at how fast hockey players can skate.
Fastest Hockey Skaters
In the modern game, hockey players can reach residential area speed limits and exceed school zone speed limits. Many of the sport’s fastest skaters can complete a full lap of the rink in 13 to 14 seconds, reaching speeds between 30 and 40 kilometres per hour.
At the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers reached a top speed of over 40 kilometres per hour. Despite this remarkable agility, he finished second in the competition to Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.
While McDavid didn’t win, he’s still believed to be the fastest hockey player in the world. During a game in 2017, McDavid scored an end-to-end goal, reaching a top speed of 40.9 kilometres per hour. His ability to do it in a game situation is out of this world.
Average Hockey Skaters
It’s mesmerizing to watch McDavid and other speedsters skate, but even they’re outliers compared to the average professional hockey skater. If you’re referring to how fast hockey players in non-professional leagues can skate, this decreases even more.
For most professional hockey players, the average speed is closer to a range between 20 and 30 kilometres per hour. These are still impressive speeds, but it takes a unique ability to reach McDavid’s footspeed, especially in a competition with crossovers.
The problem with calculating the average speed of a hockey player, specifically during a professional game, is the fact that player tracking is still in its infancy. Once the NHL fully implements this emerging technology, it’ll be easier to track average player speeds.
Past VS Modern Hockey Skaters
Set in 1996, Mike Gartner held the fastest skating record at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition for many years. However, McDavid, Barzal, and Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings have more recently surpassed Gartner’s record time of 13.386 seconds.
Thanks to more advanced equipment technology and athletic training in hockey, players have continually become faster over the years. In many ways, professional hockey from the past is unrecognizable compared to the modern game due to its speed increases.
Aside from modern technology and training, professional hockey teams and players have started working with figure skaters to improve their skating. It’s been beneficial for poor hockey skaters, with many crediting figure skating coaches for their improvements.
Final thoughts on Hockey Skating
To answer the question of how fast hockey players can skate, we must consider many factors. Even in professional hockey, the average speed of players ranges between 20 and 30 kilometres per hour, while the fastest players can reach 40 kilometres per hour.
It’s difficult to calculate a precise average in the context of professional game situations, but we hope you’ve learned something about how fast hockey players can skate! If you have a question or want to share anything, feel free to leave a comment for us below!