The pure essence of hockey is in the puck. No other team sport boasts such a unique primary object except perhaps badminton . . . and lets face it badminton is a pansy game. You want to argue about it? Footballs are fairly unique, but not entirely unlike a rugby ball. All the other team sports that quickly come to mind use spherical balls.
▪ History of the Puck
Interestingly there is no real consensus on how the puck was developed. Originally hockey was played with a ball and a somewhat different stick. Somewhere along the way, the puck became the standard.
A popular tale of how it happened states that at one of the earliest professional games of hockey around the turn of the 20th century, the top and bottom were cut off the rubber ball to keep it from flying into the crowd and possibly injuring someone. Whether it bears any truth or not, who knows?
▪ Are pucks edible?
No, dont be stupid!
▪ What Pucks are made of
NHL approved hockey pucks are made from vulcanized rubber. Vulcanization is the process invented by Goodyear in the 1800s that makes rubber not only more durable but much harder. Goodyear, of course, made his fortune in tires not hockey pucks.
Now you might be thinking that rubber wouldnt be too bad to get hit in the head with. Rubber is pretty soft, right? Some rubber is soft, but hockey pucks most certainly are not. Footballs, Basketball, Baseballs, Croquet balls, and Rush Limbaughs head are all softer than Hockey Pucks.
To further add to the destructive properties of the Vulcanized rubber hockey puck, the NHL keeps game pucks frozen. This keeps the bounce of the puck to minimum (so they claim). Personally I have one sitting in my garage at about 85 degrees right now and I cannot imagine it getting harder (it also isnt bouncing at all).
▪ Are batteries included?
▪ Dimensions and Description
The weight of an official puck is 6 ounces. Vicory makes a heavy 8 ounce version for practice and a lightweight 4 ounce version for youth hockey leagues. Neither of these is an official puck.
The approximate dimensions of an official puck are 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height. Tossing one in the oven at 300 degrees and one in the freezer has little effect on this measurement. However, the one in the oven did get very hot and the one in the freezer did get very cold . . . hmm.
The top and bottom of the puck are flat and completely smooth. The sides are a dimpled, crosshatch type of deal, that reads Official along with the brand name and country of manufacture.
▪ Who makes Pucks
People in the Czech Republic make pucks. Apparently this is what they do in the Czech Republic. I looked in the 1966 World Book that I have decorating the shelves of my office and it listed the major exports of Czechoslovakia as fertilizer and hockey pucks.
All seven hockey pucks in my equipment bag were made there. Strangely the three autographed pucks that I have were made in Slovokia. My guess is that the break-up of Czechoslovakia was actually due to an argument over the perfect composition of a hockey puck. Obviously both sides had valid points as the Slovakians make the nicer looking autograph pucks and the Czechs make the actual NHL game pucks.
▪ How to care for pucks
Toss them into your bag after each game. Dont let the dog chew on them. If someone steps on your puck during drop-in tell them, Cut it out.
▪ Are there any other uses for Pucks?
▪ Anything else that I should know about pucks?
Pucks, being made from rubber do tend to wear out after a while, a long while. If used on ice, they are virtually the hardest thing in the game with a couple of exceptions. Goals are made mostly from steel, and skate blades are made mostly from steel.
Goalposts will not do as much damage to a puck as they usually take from one. The paint on any used goal is going to reflect a few introductions to the puck. However, players do sometimes step on pucks (generally not on purpose). The sharp blade of a hockey skate with a two-hundred pound player standing on it will cause the edges of pucks to eventually chunk. A typical puck will last a long time nonetheless. There is no chance of it going flat or the cover wearing off.
Ive never seen a puck break.
▪ What colors are they available in?
The full Henry Ford selection of any color you want . . . so long as its black.
▪ Are pucks dangerous?
When I was a younger, I threw half a dozen pucks at a deranged squirrel that felt inclined to wake me up each morning at sunrise by clawing at the screen to my room. It didnt seem to scare him, although had I hit him I think he would have limped away terrified. Fortunately for the squirrel, I only had six pucks at my disposal and pretty poor aim at 5 a.m.
The point is, pucks arent dangerous, people who dont know how to use them, or dont respect them are dangerous. If you go to a hockey game then pay attention. Pucks have killed people.
▪ How much does a puck cost?
A buck. (This was one of our favorite common questions to answer at the hockey shop, A puck costs a buck or A buck-a-puck. Hmm, why did we think that was funny?)
▪ Final Thoughts
Pucks last a long time and are cheaper than the typical golf ball that you will lose in an average day. Ive never hit a puck into a pond or lost one in the woods once. I tried to count the dimples on the side of a hockey puck, but there are too many.
Getting hit by pucks can be dangerous. Leave it to trained pros or wear the proper safety gear.
For Ice hockey, I highly recommend pucks. As drink coasters they tend to leave black marks on the wood. For this reason I give pucks only three stars.
Also more for fun:
Hockey Practice Cone
Read all 2 Reviews
Write a Review