74 Interesting Facts About Ice Hockey

Last updated on June 28th, 2023

51. From million-dollar contract players to one-dollar man, the NHL has virtually seen it all. Kris Draper became the one-dollar man after he was traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Detroit Red Wings for a whopping 1 dollar. Although the deal was a strange one, Draper went to play in excess of 1000 games for Detroit before retiring in 2011. At the time of his retirement, he has a total of 161 goals and 203 assists.

52. Ice Hockey is mostly an indoor sport, making it possible to go to a game even in the thick of January winter. This reality adds to the uniqueness of the sport and the popularity of the same. In this regard, it is one of those winter sports that audiences can enjoy in relative comfort (it is still a little chilly indoors, just without having to deal directly with the harshest conditions during the game).

53. The Winter Classic and Heritage Classic are two distinct and special occasions where the sport of ice hockey takes place outside the indoor arena. The annual Winter Classic as an annual event started in 2008 and holds approximately twice the number of spectators.

54. The response to 2008’s Winter Classic was so positive that it inspired the re-institution of the Heritage Classic where Montreal Canadiens would play the Calgary Flames in February. This was the first staging of the Heritage Classic since 2003 when Montreal played against Edmonton Oilers.

55. The average player records at best up to 3 points per game. So, in 1976, when Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs racked up 10 points in a single game, he went down in hockey history. He scored 5 points on February 6, 1976, along with 5 assists in his team’s game against the Boston Bruins.

ice hockey players and referee. ice hockey facts
Image via flickr/Ryan Stavely

56. Speaking of records, Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins, was the first player in the NHL to record 100 points in a single season. He achieved this feat in 1969.

57. The most NHL records held by any player is 61. This record of the records is held by the legendary Wayne Gretzky.

58. Hockey is one of the fastest moving sports around. While it may feel like some sports stop for everything (Hey NFL), Hockey is divided into three 20-minute periods during which players are moving at top speed up, down, and around the ice, firing shots with speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

59. In addition to being fast-moving, the average NHL season is long with the average team playing a total of 82 games a year at a rate of three to four times a week. No wonder hockey always seems to be on.

60. A win is a win is a win. Alexander Wennberg scored an often talked about goal by squatting behind the goal until the puck which got inadvertently lodged into his pants fell out. He then went on to score a goal that counted.

61. Another legendary goal was by Philadephia Flyers’ goalie Ron Hextall who became the first goaltender to score a goal in the opposing team’s net.

62. The NHL’s shortest player was Roy Worters who was only 5 feet, 3 inches tall. He played a total of 484 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Canadiens, and the New York Americans as goaltender. He was an active player between the years 1925 and 1937.

63. From the shortest to the tallest, the tallest player in the NHL history is Zdeno Chara. He was a defenseman who first played for the New York Islanders in 1996. He has since played for the Boston Bruins, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2011. He has a total of 500 career points, has played more than 1000 games, and is 6 feet, 9 inches tall (and almost 7 feet when wearing his skates).

Hockey gear
Hockey gear. Photo© Jens Molin

64. Hockey is a full-contact sport that is not for the faint-hearted or the weak. Players must be able to endure realities like being thrown into the board and having open ice checks headed in their direction. They also have to be willing to bodily block shots from fast moving pucks and accept that they could break bones and lose teeth by the end of any given game. Yikes!

65. In addition to enduring the full-contact nature of their sport, NHL players must also be aware that the game can become violent. It is simply not uncommon for NHL players to come to blows. Who can blame them, really? With all that adrenaline and physical contact, tempers are bound to flare.

66. Most NHL fights result from ‘taking one for the team.’ That is, an enforcer may stand up for a team member he felt took an unnecessary hit. In other cases, a player may simply start a fight if his team needs a wake-up call after falling behind. Sometimes, all the players from both teams simply opt to square off.

67. Ice Hockey is great for weight loss — sort of. In an average ice hockey game, players can lose an average of about 5 to 10 pounds of mostly water weight. It is for this reason that players must stay hydrated and full with lots of protein and hydrating liquids — all of which are usually available to them on the bench and in the dressing room.

68. The team The Anaheim Ducks were named after the Disney Hockey movie, The Mighty Ducks (one of our personal favorites too). The team was founded in 1993, one year after the movie which was released in 1992.

Bell Centre arena
Bell Centre arena (Montreal, Quebec) – the largest ice hockey arena in the world. Photo © Josephthomas

69. Similarly, to a player being taken down in a clear goal scoring opportunity in soccer, penalty shots are awarded in hockey when a player is taken down during a break away. When a penalty is awarded by a referee, the player gets the opportunity to go up 1-on-1 against the opposing team’s goalie for a clear shot on goal.

70. Slapshot Pete is a real live penguin mascot. Yes, the Pittsburgh Penguins at one point, had a live penguin as their mascot. The penguin was named Slapshot Pete.

71. Speaking of animals, the Buffalo Sabres killed one during a game. Yes, in 1974, the team killed a bat during the game and became the only team to do so.

72. During each game, teams only get one 30-second timeout. Coaches and teams must use this timeout wisely as it is the only time they get to huddle and make decisions during the game. Otherwise, they will have to wait on intermission and other involuntary timeouts like commercial breaks.

73. Shootouts are legal in ice hockey! Whenever two teams have played a total of 65-minuted and the score is tied, a shootout is used as the tie-breaker. This is similar to a penalty shootout in soccer. In the NHL, coaches pre-select 3 players from their teams who will go up against the opposing goalie in a penalty-styled goal scoring opportunity. Should all three players from both teams be successful, the shootout will continue until one team misses and the other does not.

74. NHL playoffs have more in common with the NBA playoffs than with NFL playoffs. That is, NHL playoffs use the best of 7 games series model similar to the NBA, as opposed to the NFL where teams only have one opportunity to win or lose.

Interesting facts about Ice hockey players.

Mika Zibanejad. interesting facts about ice hockey
Mika Zibanejad. Image credit – Lisa Gansky

1. Mika Zibanejad

Ottawa Senators’ player, 27-year-old Mika Zibanejad has one hand in the music industry as a DJ/Producer when he is not on the ice scoring anywhere from 37 to 56 points. He’s also originally from Stockholm, Sweden. In 2020, Mika scored 5 goals in one game and he’s the latest player to do so.

2. Artemi Panarin

The New York Ranger’s Left Wing began his career working in his country of birth, Russia as an ice hockey ringer. Panarin’s mother’s father was an amateur hockey player who taught his grandson how to play. In 2015-2016, Panarin won the Rookie of the year award, the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Wayne Gretzky , one of the best ice hockey players
Wayne Gretzky. Image credit – kris krüg

3. Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky widely considered the best hockey player ever, retired his jersey No. 99 league wide in 1999. He is the only player to do this. His accomplishments were so appreciated, he didn’t have to observe the waiting period to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame also in 1999. He once said I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.

4. Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara is the only second European-born captain to win the Stanley Cup (in 2011). He was born in Trenoin, Slovakia behind the iron curtain.

5. P.K. Subban

It’s expected that most hockey players originate from areas where ice on the ground is commonplace, but P.K. Subban’s father immigrated from Jamaica, although P.K. was born in Canada. P.K. is the first Black player to win the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2013 as the league’s best defenseman. He is among the top 15 of 30 black players in the NHL today.

Marc-André Fleury, the Stanley Cup, and Sidney Crosby. facts about ice hockey
Marc-André Fleury, the Stanley Cup, and Sidney Crosby. Image credit – Michael Righi

6. Sidney Crosby

The average pay for a professional hockey player is $2.7 million. Sidney Crosby is the highest paid hockey player in the league with $12,000,000 base salary. His contract guarantees an income of $104,400,000 with an average salary of $8,700,000 which is also his salary cap. This Pittsburgh Premium Player also earns another $4.5 million off the ice in endorsements and advertising. You’ll see him as spokesperson for Gatorade, Rogers Communication and Adidas.

7. Alexander Ovechkin 

Alexander Ovechkin is Russian-born player whose position as winger has resulted in him surpassing the NHL high score mark of 60. To date, he is the greatest goal-scorer in the NHL. He is an exceptional sportsman coming from a family of excellent sportsmen and sportswomen. His mother was a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in basketball and his father played football.

8. Matt Moulson

Matt Moulson was selected forty-seventh in the National Lacrosse league draft. When he was drafted by the AHL Penguins in 2003, he was the 263rd pick. This Hershey Bears’ left wing is now in his 17th year as an exceptional hockey player. To think, he could have chosen to play professional Lacrosse instead.

9. Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy

Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy were born on the same day only miles apart. Who would have thought it possible that two NHL legends would come into the world at the same time? They were both born on October 05, 1955. Lemieux was born in Montreal, Canada and Roy made his debut in Quebec City, Canada. Roy is one of the greatest goaltenders ever and Lemieux spent 12 years with the Pittsburgh Penguins earning the title of “The Magnificent One”. Roy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 and Lemieux was inducted in 1997 immediately after his retirement.

10. Bobby Orr

In 1971, Bobby Orr was signed to the Boston Bruins. His five-year deal yielded $200,000 per season. He became the first hockey player to earn $1 million in the NHL.

11. Bryan Hextall, Sr.

Bryan Hextall, Sr. has seen his progeny play as he did professional hockey. His two sons, Bryan, Jr., and Dennis played, as did his grandson, Ron. Each Hextall made a mark on the game as they followed in Bryan Hextall’s footsteps. Hextall, Sr. played in the 1930’s and 1940’s for the New York Rangers and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

12. Kaapo Kakko

Kaapo Kakko is 19 years old and the youngest player in hockey’s long history to win gold in all the IIHF world championship tournaments: The World U18 Championships, the World Junior Championships, and the World Championships. He must be incredibly careful with his health as he is a type 1 diabetic with celiac disease.

13. Daniel and Henrik Sedin

Daniel and Henrik Sedin are one of the five sets of twins that played in the NHL. They both played for the Vancouver Canucks. They were the second and third draft picks for Vancouver in 1999. After 18 years in the league, their numbers were retired.

14. Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Sedin and Teemu Selanne

Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Sedin and Teemu Selanne are among the richest former NHL players with net worth’s of approximately $40 million each.

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