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Interested to know what the official regulation ice hockey goals are that are used in all top leagues like the NHL or AHL?
Under NHL rules, hockey nets are 6′ x 4′ (foot). The opening of the goal is 72 inches (180 cm) wide by 48 inches (120 cm) tall, and the footprint of the goal is 44 inches (110 cm) deep.
Buying Hockey Nets
If you’re looking to buy a hockey net for your yard, you can expect to pay between $100-200 for a mid-range net. It won’t be made of professional grade steel like those you see in a hockey rink.
But it will be light enough and strong enough to take snapshots in your backyard. Having your own net is a great way to practice target shooting and learning to aim. Make the most of your on-ice time by developing your skills in between practice sessions.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a large net or don’t have space at home for one, try a saucer kit which is a small net and training aid -- which is great for shot and pass practice. Check out my review of the best hockey training aids on the market.
History of Hockey Goal Nets
Hockey goals haven’t always been the standard 6′ x 4′ (foot) that we know today.
The earliest hockey goals were simple zones created using large stones.
The goals faced the sides of the ice surface rather than the ends. Since there was no net covering the posts, the goal tender could be scored on from either side, or from front and back, which ever way you wish to consider it. BirthPlaceOfHockey.com
Two sticks ( 1890 )
Up until the 1890’s the goal in a hockey game was simply two sticks jammed into the ice. An umpire behind the net would wave a handkerchief as a signal if a puck crossed the line between the two sticks.
Early pipe net ( 1895 )
Then sometimes in the mid-1890s, hockey borrower and idea from ice polo -- and slapped two gas pipes together connected by a horizontal bar up top to add stability. Netting was added to capture the puck and make it easier to retrieve. This net was made by 2 by 4’s making it square compared to today’s nets that are wider than they are tall.
Square net ( 1899 )
By the end of the 19th century, the pipe net first developed by Halifax hockey teams become very popular. By December 1899 they had been adopted by the Montreal hockey teams and then spread across the country.
Puck capture ( 1928 )
In the same year that his footage was a capture, a goal with a semi circle design was unveiled which helped to capture the pucks -- preventing them from bouncing back out into the field of play.
Early Footage ( 1950s ) Hockey of the 50's part 1
Official Rink Size
While nets are now standardised across all hockey games, the size of the rink itself is dependent on the league. The NHL has its set size which every teams rink must comply with while Olympic and international tournaments use a larger ice surface.
Read more about it over on my guide to hockey rink ice size.