Why Do Goalies Scrape The Ice Surface In Hockey?
A lot of activities occur on the rink in ice hockey, but the subject of today is one familiar to ice hockey goalies. Have you ever been to an ice hockey rink, and discovered that some goalies scrape the ice with their skates?
This is a normal activity for goalies in ice hockey and hardly will you see any goalie that does not perform this routine. But do you know the reason why ice hockey goalies scrape the ice? Well, this is what we will be looking at today in this article.
Five Reasons Ice Hockey Goalies Scrape The Ice
There are five major reasons why ice hockey goalies scrape the ice. The reasons range from it being a common ritual of the game to the effect it has on goaltending and navigation around the goalie’s crease.
The top five reasons why goalies scrape the ice are:
1. It Is A Ritual Common To Goalies
The act of scraping the ice is considered a ritual in ice hockey, but just among goalies. It has become part of many goalies, that the routine of scraping the ice surface once they get on the rink is second nature.
The portion of the ice goalies scrape with their skates is the goalie crease. A goalie once said that this makes him feel he has control over the net, in a game where no one has control over the outcome (source). It gives goaltenders a sense of control over the net and the crease around the net.
Game rituals and superstitions are common in many sports and by many athletes. For example, players in the NHL have different rituals they believe enhance their play from how they tape their stick to their pregame warmup. Scraping the ice is just one superstition common with goalies.
2. To Provide Traction And Resistance
Believe it or not, scraping the ice in hockey also has certain advantages for goalies. One major effect it has is that it increases the friction between the ice and a goalie’s skate, thereby increasing traction.
Traction provides better balance and stability on the ice.
This is because ice hockey surfaces become slippery especially after the ice has been cleaned with a Zamboni. A Zamboni is a machine that is used to clean and smoothen the surface of the rink in ice hockey.
Cleaning the ice is done before a game and during intermissions. Cleaning the ice makes it super slippery which is good for skaters but not what is desired by a goalie. Since the puck slides faster on smooth ice, goalies scrape the surface of the ice in the goalie crease so that the roughness would provide some resistance and sometimes deflection in the speed and direction of the puck.
Also, scraping the ice gives goalies better stamina and grip on the ice. This prevents them from sliding off or changing directions when performing the butterfly technique or making quick movements.
This is crucial because ice hockey players have insane accuracy and all they need is a little directional change to bag a goal.
3. Goalies Scrape The Ice To Get Their Blood Running (Warmup)
Goalies in ice hockey also scrape the ice as a means to warm themselves up. It is common for goalies to scrape the ice before they begin to perform their pregame stretches.
The energy put into scraping the ice gives goalies a little adrenaline and gets their whole body ready for the game ahead.
4. It Slows Down The Puck
It is a sneaky trick to scrape the area inside the goal crease so that it reduces the speed at which the puck is traveling. In ice hockey, smooth ice allows for easy gliding of the puck on the rink.
Scraping the rink reduced the speed due to the roughness and ice shavings that accumulate on the surface. This change in speed might just be the need factor to save a goal. This is because, in leagues as competitive as the NHL, a one-goal save can be the difference between a playoff qualification and disqualification.
5. To Locate Puddles On The Ice
Sometimes puddles form on the ice and if they are not recognized they can affect the efficiency of a goalie. Therefore, scraping the ice is done to identify water puddles in the goal crease.
Scraping the ice allows goalies to identify the puddles and scrape them off the water with their skates.
Whether goalies scrape the ice for superstitious reasons, instinctive behavior, or because of how it can benefit them in a game, every goalie has his reasons for scraping the ice. So next time you go to a hockey game and see goalies scraping the ice, you have an idea why they do that.
Thank you for reading.
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