How Many Calories Does Ice Hockey Burn?
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How Many Calories Does Ice Hockey Burn? And More

How many calories do you think ice hockey players burn game? Well, they burn a lot; as a matter of fact, they burn a whole lot more than your average gym regular. Ice hockey is one of the top sports that burns the highest calories.

How Many Calories Does Ice Hockey Burn?

How Many Calories Does Ice Hockey Burn?

Ice hockey is a high-energy consuming sport; that is just the truth about the game. The number of calories ice hockey players expend per game is due to its nature. 

First, ice hockey is played on ice and skates. Therefore, the ease of movement is not as easy as just running with your legs. Also, when playing ice hockey, players’ heart rate increases a lot throughout the game, from periods of explosive movement when skating or chasing the puck to periods of reduced movement. 

However, the number of calories ice hockey players burn differs from professional players (e.g. NHL players) to regular recreational players. 

But whichever the case may be, both players burn a lot of calories. Typically, players expend a  minimum of 500cals to about 2000cals (2kcal) per game. Sometimes players may also expend more than 2000cal. 

NHL Player Vs Recreational Players

Recreational ice hockey is not nearly as competitive, fast-paced or intense as pro ice hockey. This is also true for the number of calories they burn. 

Typically, a recreational hockey player burns about 450-800 calories every hour. This is calculated using 450cal as the minimum amount they expend and 800 as a supposed maximum. 

Since recreational ice hockey skaters play more or less for fun and because they have a passion for hockey, even though it is a bit competitive, it is not nearly as competitive as pro ice hockey. 

Then how many calories do ice hockey players burn per hour?

Well, pro ice hockey players burn around 1500cal (1.5kcal) to about 2500cal (2.5kcal) for every game. Unlike recreational hockey, it is likely that players will surpass 2.5kcals in a game. 

The reason why pro ice hockey players burn so many calories is because of the way they exert themselves and how they play. 

But speaking generally, there are a few reasons ice hockey players lose more calories than others. 

Factors That Determine Calories Lost By Ice Hockey Players 

Factors That Determine Calories Lost By Ice Hockey Players 

The number of calories a player loses per game depends on factors such as the player’s age, how much effort the player puts into each game, and how long the player is actively playing, among others. 

Now let’s go in-depth into each one of them. 

Age Of Players

It’s a no-brainer that the older you become, the weaker you get in stamina, strength, speed and endurance. However, these are all the factors that are needed in ice hockey. They are also activities that burn up a lot of calories for ice hockey players. 

Therefore, it is only common sense that a 21-year-old ice hockey player will definitely use up more energy when compared to a 32-year-old. 

Players’ Weight

How much you weigh determines how much is needed to carry yourself. Simply a 200ibs player going at 17mph will burn a lot more calories than a 170ibs player going at that same speed. 

Read more on: How Fast Can Ice Hockey Players Skate?

Length Of Playing Time In The Game

Ice hockey players who spend more time on the ice will definitely use up more energy in the form of calories than those who play for less time. It is even more true in pro ice hockey, as playing for 10 minutes does not use nearly as many calories as playing for 20 minutes straight. 

Effort & Competitiveness

Also, we have a level of effort and competitiveness. Recreational players can not use as many calories as NHL players because they can not put in the effort of NHL players. 

NHL players are explicitly trained to play on a very competitive level; this means they must be able to put in much more effort than your average skater.

But if we are to analyse it generally, players who put more effort into a game (either pro or recreational) use up more calories than someone who isn’t willing to do much. 

Why Does Ice Hockey Burn So Many Calories?

If you have played ice before, you will know why it uses so much energy (calories). 

Ice hockey requires a player to move on ice while wearing skates and moving at high speeds at regular intervals while trying to prevent other players from taking possession of the puck. In the end, the main aim is to score. 

It might seem like an easy task, but it is tasking and puts a lot of strain on the body. In ice hockey, you exercise your hands, legs, thighs, joints, lungs and other puts of your body all at once. 

All of these are why players burn so many calories. 

However, when you move to pro leagues like the NHL, there is an increased use of these body parts. 

Average Calories Burnt While Playing Ice Hockey (Calorie Calculator) 

The table below shows the approximate number of calories recreational and professional ice hockey players expend per game. Data compiled from

Average Calories Burnt While Playing Ice Hockey

Calories Burned In Hockey Compared To Other Sports

We’ll be comparing the number of calories ice hockey players lose compared to other sports like basketball, swimming and so on. 


When it comes to basketball, players who play for the full game time (48 minutes) are expected to lose about 570-800cal. So just hooping at a basketball net is calculated to make a player lose about 350cals per hour. 

Since basketball deals with lots of movement, turning and jumping, it is a nice sport to lose a good amount of weight. 


Swimming as a sport expends a high amount of energy (calories). Why is this?

Well, swimming is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that builds up muscles. Unlike other exercises, swimming engages the majority of muscle in the body, leading to a general weight loss as every part of the body loses calories. 

However, the amount of calories lost per hour depends on the type of stroke, intensity and weight of the player. 

According to, a 140 pounds person loses

  • 223 calories per hour when swimming with moderate effort
  • 528 calories per hour when swimming at medium speed 
  • 878 calories per hour when using the butterfly stroke


Boxing is another great way to lose a huge bunch of calories and, at the same learn to defend yourself. Boxers can lose anywhere from 700-1000cal per hour. This depends on if they are fighting or sparring and how intensely they fight. 

Calories Burned In Hockey Compared To Other Sports

Diet Of Ice Hockey Players

Diet Of Ice Hockey Players

The diet of an ice hockey player is an important factor to look into, especially when we talk about the number of calories they burn per game. Players need to ensure that they eat food with more calories than what they burn.

This is an essential rule because if they eat less than the calories they burn, they can experience fatigue and lose weight. However, sometimes players do eat fewer calorie foods because they want to lose weight. 

What Should Ice Hockey Players Eat Before A Game?

According to, players’ pre-game meals should be a combination of foods that give energy fast and slowly – I’ll explain. 

Highly starchy foods give a high burst of energy. However, these energy burst is usually short-lived, followed by a feeling of sluggishness and tiredness. However, proteins and fatty foods, on the other hand, release a more consistent and lower energy boost 

Therefore, a good pre-game meal should comprise 50% of carbohydrates, about 25% of proteins and around 25% of veggies. Something like pasta with meat or fish and a side salad is recommended. 

Also, a sandwich with chicken and a side salad is a good meal choice.

What Should Ice Hockey Players Eat After A Game?

Post-game meals, on the other hand, are lighter and serve mainly as recovery meals. They should compose main proteins – to help with body repair and lots of liquids. Carbs are also essential since gaining lost energy is also important. 

Options for a post-game meal include a dairy-based milkshake or fruit smoothie, ham, baked beans, grilled salmon, eggs, baked potato, salads etc. 


Finally, it is very important that players stay hydrated before, during and after a game. Ice hockey players lose as much as 5-8 pounds of weight while playing a match. This weight is mostly water weight and little body fat. This is why hydration is key. 

Thank you for reading. If you are looking forward to losing weight by playing ice hockey, at least how you know how many calories you can burn. 

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