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How Long Do Hockey Players Stay on the Ice?

Hockey is a highly intense game, known to be one of the fastest games. . Players train hard to handle the pressure of giving their 100% every time their skates touch the ice. But did you know how long a hockey player stays on the ice?

On average, a hockey player’s shift in a game is just 47 seconds, with defensemen shifts lasting a bit longer, at 48.6 seconds. This is a rule of thumb in hockey to ensure players can perform at high levels in short sprints.

The Hockey Player Shift

Hockey is considered to be an anaerobic sport. Unlike aerobic sports, it is meant to be played in short, fast, and intense intervals. It is intended to be played with a sprint mindset and not a marathon.

The sport tends to confuse newer fans or casual viewers because players often get substituted. This is because hockey is played in short bursts of energy which means that players need to play with extremely high intensity.

With this in mind, an average hockey player only stays on the playing field for about 47 seconds, a little more for defense players at 48.6 seconds, and a little less for offense players at around 45 seconds.

The theory behind this shifting schedule is that after 45 seconds of intense activity, the human body cannot sustain the needed intensity in playing hockey after more than 48 seconds. (Source: BSHockey)

A study by writer Wayne Jones of Hockey Answered discovered the following average times of hockey players based on their position in the team. He averaged the shift time of 372 forwards and 186 defensemen across 13 teams.

Jones then divided the players according to their performance. He found out that the top 25% of forwards in the NHL played an average of 51.19 seconds, but averaging all 372 forwards, their time on the ice is at 46.06 seconds. Jones did a similar study for defensemen and found out that the top players averaged 52.60 seconds while the average for 186 players was 48.6 seconds. (Source: Hockey Answered)

Why is Hockey A Difficult Sport?

Ice hockey is considered to be the most demanding sport. It is played in three intense periods, with each period lasting 20 minutes. The clock only stops if there is a penalty, icing, commercial break, or a timeout. Otherwise, it is an intense sport played 60 minutes straight.

Players are trained to be aggressive, intense, and have great stamina. They are also trained to be attentive since hockey is a very technical game. Here are some reasons why hockey is hard.

  • Learning to Skate – since ice hockey is played with skates, it raises the difficulty of mastering the game since players must master skating at high speeds on the ice.
  • A high-speed sport – hockey is a high-speed sport, and players must keep up with the pace. Usually, players are so focused on keeping up with the game that they tend not to realize they are already injured.
  • Extremely dangerous gear – ice skates are sharpened to reach insane speeds while playing. A simple miscalculation can lead to severe cutting injuries caused by skates. It can even lead to dismemberment. To add to that, pucks zoom at insane speeds. Catching one with your body will leave a mark.

(Source: Sports Centaur)

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