Why Do They Freeze Hockey Pucks?

by Simon | Updated On: June 1st, 2022
hockey puck frozen

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Every heard that they freeze hockey pucks before a game? Is it really true, and why do they need to when they’ll be sat on ice during the game?

Yes it’s true they do freeze the pucks in all AHL and NHL games before the game. They do this to make the puck glide smoother and faster and reduce bouncing! 

In general, it’s only these top tier leagues where the pucks are frozen beforehand. In cases where the pros are playing and every little detail goes into making the game run smoothly.

So while your regular beer league and country tournaments won’t be freezing pucks – the top leagues do.

Why freeze pucks?

Hockey pucks are frozen to make them more solid and to reduce bouncing. Pucks are made from vulcanized rubber and the warmer they are the more they’ll bounce when whacked with a stick.

Freezing the pucks reduces the rubbers tendency to bounce, making them more likely to glide across the ice without flipping, bouncing or rolling.

When a puck moves unpredictably during a game, it makes it much more challenging for players to control it, make an accurate pass or shoot on the net properly.

Pro players can deal with rolling pucks, but it makes their plays riskier. Freezing the puck beforehand, makes it less likely the puck will move unpredictably in a game.

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Rubber is bouncy

Rubber is one of the most elastic materials on earth. Rubber rebounds with approximately 50% of its original velocity.

And while pucks are made from vulcanized rubber – a process that involves using sulfur to make it harden and last much longer. They are still bouncy. (coincidentally, vulcanizing rubber makes the material black – the perfect color for it to contrast against the white of the ice).

Once it was discovered that freeing rubber hardens it and reduces its elasticity, it became common to freeze pucks before official games.

How do they freeze pucks?

Traditionally at the start of the season, every hockey team will buy 1,500 pucks from inGlasCo – the sole manufacturer of official pucks for the top league.

They’ll keep these pucks in the freezer until game time with some team reportedly using portable ice cream freezers to do this job. (NHL rules state that the home team are responsible for keeping the game pucks frozen).

The pucks are kept between 14-20°F  (-10 / -6°C) before being put into play.

While the ice

How many pucks do they need?

During an average game, they’ll use up to 25-30 pucks. During play pucks often fly over the plexiglass or are given to fans.

At the start of each period, they’ll bring over a bucket of 15 pucks fro the freezer of the home team to the penalty box cooler. Which then officials keep a watchful eye over. So thats 15 pucks x 3 periods = 45 pucks a game.

They won’t use all these pucks, but they usually replace the puck with a new frozen one for each face-off or every two minutes. That job is upto the linesman to replace the puck with a freshly frozen one.

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Does the temperature of a hockey puck affect how far it will travel?

Both pucks will travel the same distance across the ice, but the warmer puck will bounce further and can therefore cover more of the ice with the same force.

Simon, the founder of Brave Stick Hockey, started playing hockey in 2003. He launched this website in 2018 to help new hockey players and fans learn more about the game and have more fun while learning.

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