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6 Things: Pucks

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Can’t deflate this.

Deflategate and a tweet from @uppercornerhock inspired the latest edition of 6 Things, one that will dive into the world of hockey pucks. As noted by the photo @uppercornerhock sent out, you can’t deflate a puck. We don’t need Bill Nye the Science Guy to confirm that. It’s fact.

Pucks are as pure as hockey itself, they’re disks of vulcanized rubber and they’re fantastic. They slide on ice, they roll on every surface, they can be flipped like a coin and they’ll mark up your desk if you use enough force – as I just found out.

Here are 6 Things you should know about pucks.

BEGGARS CAN’T BE CHOOSERS

When you don’t have a puck, you use what you can. A crushed pop can, crumped piece of paper, a ball of elastics, piece of wood, a rock, whatever. According to legend, the first hockey players did just that and made us of frozen cow dung as pucks. There’s no proof of this, but it helps explain the saying “we played sh*tty tonight,” uttered by coaches and players the world over throughout time. From poo, sliced up lacrosse balls were used and, yadda, yadda, yadda, here we are today. Pucks are one inch (1'') thick and three inches (3'') in diameter, they weigh between five and one-half ounces (5 1/2''oz.) and six ounces (6 oz.) and all pucks used in NHL competition must be approved by the League.

FAMOUS PUCK

The Original Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum in Kingston, Ontario, is home to the original square hockey puck (pictured above), as in the one from 1886 used in the first hockey game recorded in Ontario between Kingston and Queens University. The 129-year-old puck was originally a lacrosse ball cut into a square-shaped puck and is earliest puck known to exist, says the hall of fame’s website. The antique is black and grey, but has aged well; it’s mounted on a trophy with a plaque for all to admire.

POP CULTURE

The world’s largest puck weighs over 700 pounds and can be found in Eveleth, Minnesota, as part of an outdoor displayed called “The Big Stick.” The stick weighs five tons and is 110 feet long and has been a landmark there since 1995; Puck is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, Noah "Puck" Puckerman is a character on Glee and Peter Puck was a cartoon character for Hockey Night in Canada in the 1970s; there’s a town in Poland named Puck, one of the moons of Uranus is called Puck, Puck Fair is an Irish festival and Wolfgang Puck makes great half jidori chicken.

FOXTRAX

Still in shock this actually happened? Me too. Not enough can be said for trying new things, but this…this was just bad. First used during the 1996 NHL All-Star Game (pictured above), this special “glowing” puck was used on and off until the first game of the 1998 Stanley Cup Final. One of the major complaints from hockey fans in the US was that the puck was difficult to track on the ice, so gizmos were added to it and a streak of colour would seemingly shoot out of it when it picked up speed. The special affect was not only beyond insane, it made hockey look like NBA Jam. (He's heating up!!) There was never a need for this and I’m sorry you had to re-live it right now. Moving on.

HARDEST SHOT

Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber wears the hardest shot crown these days after being clocked in at 174.6 KPH (108.5 MPH) at the 2015 All-Star Weekend in Columbus. At the 2012 All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, Zdeno Chara set the record in the event with a shot of 175.1 KPH (108.8 MPH). The list of NHLers who fired pucks more than 160 KPH at all-star games and won the event is long and includes Al Iafrate, Al MacInnis, Fredrik Modin, Sergei Fedorov and Adrian Aucoin. Bobby Hull, “The Golden Jet,” was also well known for his blazing shot that could top 200 KPH when he came in with speed. According to the book Xtreme Hockey, “During practice, Bobby sometimes took bets to see whether he could fire a slap shot through the second-floor exits of the Chicago Stadium. He usually won.”

WARNING: DO NOT EAT

Goalies are strange creatures. Not only do they try to get in the way of pucks being shot at their direction, some of them try to become one with the puck. By some I mean one, namely Reddit user willworkforicecream. Two years ago he posed the question: “Would it mess me up if I ate a puck?” He went on to answer his own question: “I have found a high correlation between puck consumption and terrible, terrible diarrhea and stomach pains. I've made multiple attempts by eating a small sliver a day for various periods of time until I was unable to stand it any more. The longest was about two weeks in duration. The shortest was two days. Diarrhea and stomach pains every time. I have not noticed a statistically significant increase in goaltending ability.” (Puck pictured above) The best answer was from user Johnald: “Yeah, the statistically significant increase is a boost that only gets unlocked once the entire puck is consumed. Maybe you can find a good coach that can push you past this "plateau" in your puck consuming abilities.” Goalies…

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