Ice hockey involves a variety of activities that take place on the ice, but today’s topic is one that goalies in the sport are familiar with. Have you ever visited an ice hockey rink and seen goalies using their skates to scrape the ice?
In ice hockey, goalies typically perform this routine, so you will hardly see a goalie who doesn’t. But do you know why ice hockey goalies scrape the surface of the ice? Well, in today’s article, we will be focusing on this.
Five Reasons Ice Hockey Goalies Scrape The Ice
Ice hockey goalies scrape the ice for five main reasons. The reasons for this customary practice in the game include its impact on goaltending and navigating the goalie’s crease.
These are the top five causes of goalies scraping the ice:
1. It Is A Ritual Common To Goalies
Ice hockey goalies are the only players for whom scraping the ice is a ritual. Many goalies now consider it second nature to start scraping the ice as soon as they enter the rink.
Goalies use their skates to scrape the goalie crease, which is the portion of the ice in front of the net. A goalie once remarked that, despite no one having control over the outcome of games, doing this gives him the illusion that he has control over the net (source). It gives goalies a sense of command over the net and the area around it.
Superstitions and game rituals are prevalent in many sports and among athletes. NHL players, for instance, have various customs that they feel improve their play, from how they tape their sticks to how they warm up before a game. One such superstition that many goalies hold is scraping the ice.
2. To Provide Traction And Resistance
Unbelievably, goalies can benefit from scraping the ice in hockey as well. Its main impact is to increase traction by increasing the friction between the goalie’s skate and the ice.
Balance and stability on the ice are improved by traction, which is acquired from scraping the ice.
Increased traction avoids slipping, which happens when ice hockey surfaces after a Zamboni has cleaned the ice. Ice hockey surfaces are maintained to be smooth and free from shaving or skate marks with the aid of a Zamboni.
In addition, when it comes to ice hockey, the surface is cleaned before a game and during the breaks. The ice becomes extremely slippery after cleaning, which is great for skaters but not what a goalie wants. Goalies scrape the ice in the goalie crease so that the roughness will offer some resistance and occasionally deflection in the speed and direction of the puck.
Due to the general fact that pucks slide faster on a smooth surface, the vigorous marks from a goalie’s skate in front of the net are a way of enhancing goaltending.
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)
Ice hockey goalies also use scraping motions on the ice to warm up. Prior to starting their pregame stretches, goalies frequently scrape the ice.
Goalies’ bodies are prepared for the game ahead thanks to the energy expended on scraping the ice.
4. It Slows Down The Puck
It is a cunning trick to scrape the area inside the goal crease to slow the puck’s motion. Smooth ice makes the puck’s movement on the rink during ice hockey games much easier.
Due to the surface’s abrasiveness and ice shavings that build up on it, scraping the rink decreased speed. In cases where a goal needs to be prevented, this change in speed can come in handy. This is because playoff eligibility can be decided by a single-goal save, especially in a league as competitive as the NHL.
5. To Locate Puddles On The Ice
Sometimes puddles form on the ice surface, 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.
Every goalie has a different motivation for scraping the ice, whether it be out of superstition, instinct, or to gain an advantage during a game. You’ll now understand why goalies scrape the ice the next time you watch a hockey game.
Thank you for reading.