Why Do They Freeze Hockey Pucks?

If you have ever played a game of hockey, you know how hard hockey pucks can be. Getting hit with one, even shot lightly, can come with a bit of a sting. That is partially why it is so very important to wear all the proper safety gear, whether you are in a game or even just practicing.

All it takes is one errant shot or pass to do some real damage, so always be as careful and safe as possible.

While these are made out of a hard and solid material (vulcanized rubber, to be exact), the fact that pucks are frozen makes them even harder. But why are hockey pucks frozen before a game? Keep reading to find out.

Why Are Pucks Frozen?

To understand why pucks are frozen, it’s important to remember what they are made out of. Rubber is one of the most elastic materials out there, and as a result, has a lot of bounce. We have all bounced a rubber ball at one time and have seen how high and far they can bounce.

While pucks are vulcanized (a process that makes them much harder and more durable) they are still quite bouncy. The primary reason that pucks are frozen is to reduce how much they bounce up and down the ice during the game. 

If pucks were bouncy, it would be much harder to control them and the game of hockey would look much different.

Controlling the puck would be a nightmare, shots and passes would go everywhere, and following the puck as a player or fan would be next to impossible.

The game would lose a lot of what makes it great, and the experience of everyone involved simply wouldn’t be as good.

In addition to less bounce, the freezing of pucks allow them to better slide and glide across the ice, instead of getting caught and slowing down quickly in some situations.

All in all, freezing pucks simply makes them act more predictably and makes for a better game.

However, while pucks are almost always frozen in larger hockey leagues around the world, children’s leagues and beer leagues may not freeze their pucks ahead of time. Some will, but it generally isn’t a requirement.

How Are Pucks Frozen Before a Game?

Now that you know why pucks are frozen before a game, how do teams freeze their pucks? Every season, a team will order about 1,500 pucks from the manufacturer that the NHL works with to have and use for the entire season.

The team then stores these pucks in the freezer until they need to be debuted during a game. Different freezers can be used, but a popular choice is smaller and portable ice cream freezers, to ensure easier movement of the pucks.

The pucks are kept at temperatures ranging from 14-20 degrees Fahrenheit (which is -6 to -10 celsius). It is up to the home team to provide the pucks and ensure all of the pucks are kept at the right temperature, and officials will often judge the pucks to ensure they are suitable.

Also, many teams will have plenty of frozen pucks on hand for a game. A puck going out of play or becoming damaged in some way is common. As is the team handing out a few pucks to some fans.

In fact, during a normal game, a team may use well over 20 different pucks.

As the game progresses, pucks will become less frozen (as it is warmer on the ice than in a freezer), and will often be replaced with a fresh fully frozen one every couple of minutes.

I hope this article has been able to help you learn more about why hockey pucks are frozen before a game, and how. If you think I should have included some other information in this blog post, don’t hesitate to let me know in a comment below.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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