How Fast Do Hockey Players Skate? (Explained!)

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Alex PT

The average hockey player skates at speeds of 10-25 mph, but the fastest players can reach speeds of up to 35 mph. The world record for the fastest skating speed in a game is held by Connor McDavid, who reached a speed of 40.9 mph in 2015.

How Fast Do Players Skate?

How Fast Do Players Skate

When hockey players are at their fastest, they can reach a top speed of 40km/h (25.5mph). We’ve seen some of the fastest completing a lap around the ice in just 14 seconds. However, most professional hockey players are capable of reaching the 20 to 30km/h (12 to 20mph) range. Teenage and recreational players can reach up to 12 to 22km/h. 

How fast are NHL players on the ice?

NHL players are some of the fastest athletes in the world. The average NHL player skates at speeds of around 20-25 mph, but some players can reach speeds of up to 35 mph. The world record for the fastest skating speed in a game is held by Connor McDavid, who reached a speed of 40.9 mph in 2015.

There are a number of factors that contribute to a player’s skating speed, including:

  • Leg strength: NHL players have incredibly strong legs, which allows them to generate the power needed to push off the ice and reach high speeds.
  • Core strength: A strong core is also important for skating speed, as it helps players maintain their balance and control while moving quickly.
  • Technique: Good skating technique is essential for speed. NHL players use a variety of techniques to maximize their speed, such as efficient stride length, proper edge control, and good body positioning.
  • Equipment: NHL players use specialized skates and other equipment that is designed for speed.

Players’ skating speed can vary depending on their position. For example, forwards typically skate faster than defensemen, as they need to be able to break away from defenders and create scoring opportunities. Goaltenders also tend to skate slower, as they need to be more focused on positioning and stopping shots.

Factors That Affect How Fast an Ice Hockey Player Skates

  1. Player’s Physical Strength and Endurance

The most obvious factor influencing a hockey player’s speed is their physical condition. Just like any sport, enhanced strength and endurance can drastically improve performance. This includes leg strength, core stability, and cardiovascular endurance. If a player has strong and compact muscles, they can generate more force against the ice, propelling them quicker.

  1. Technique

The player’s skating technique significantly affects their speed on the rink. The utilization of long, powerful strides and maintaining low body posture aids in gaining and maintaining speed. An efficient technique enables the player to smoothly transfer energy from their body to the ice, moving faster.

  1. Skate Design

The design of the hockey skates plays a crucial role in a player’s speed. This includes the length, curvature, and sharpness of the skate blades. Sharper blades cut into the ice better and produce more grip, preventing slipping and enabling faster speeds.

  1. Ice Quality

The condition and temperature of the ice can profoundly affect a player’s speed. Smooth, cold ice reduces the friction between the ice and skate blades, allowing for a faster glide. Conversely, rough, warm ice increases friction and slows the player down.

  1. Equipment Weight

The weight of the hockey equipment, including the skates, pads, and the stick can have a considerable impact. Lighter equipment means less effort for the player to carry it around, enabling them to skate faster.

  1. Body Weight

A player’s body weight can also influence their speed. Lighter skaters often move more quickly due to carrying less weight, while heavier players might have more power but lack the same speed.

FactorsInfluence on Speed Functions
Player’s Physical StrengthGenerating force and power
TechniqueEfficient energy transfer
Skate DesignGripping and gliding functions
Ice QualityReducing friction
Equipment WeightLowering physical burden
Body WeightBalancing speed and power dynamics

In conclusion, several factors contribute to how fast an ice hockey player skates. By optimizing these factors, a player can significantly improve their speed and performance on the ice.

How Many Miles Do Hockey Players Skate During A Game?

An average NHL player can expect to skate up to 5 miles per game throughout a 60-minute hockey game including all of its starts and stops. Depending on the position of the player and the total time they spent in a game, the speed covered can vary relatively. The nature of the game can also be a determinant of how much the player would skate

To get the total miles an average player would skate in a whole season, you’ll have to multiply 5 miles, which is the average distance a player skates in a game, by the NHL’s long 82-game schedule. You’ll get a total of 410 miles per season. That’s to say that an NHL player covers 5 miles per game and 410 miles per season. Keep in mind that this calculation might be higher considering the playoffs and overtime. Don’t forget that some playoffs last for months. Besides, winners of the Stanley Cup title might play as many as 28 games in addition to the regular NHL’s long 82-game schedule. One might just conclude that hockey players skate more than a thousand miles if you factor in training and practices.

The Fastest NHL Hockey Player

The fastest skaters at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game include Nathan MacKinnon, Mathew Barzal, and Connor McDavid. However, Connor McDavid, who plays for the Edmonton Oilers as a forward, is always debated as the NHL’s fastest skater. He achieved this feat after winning the Fastest Skater competition for three consecutive years. McDavid peaked at 40.9km/h. 

2019 World Ice Hockey Championships Fastest Skating Times

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which is another top hockey association has released the top speed numbers of players during the game even though the NHL has disappointed us by not releasing theirs. By the way, the IIHF governs the World Championships and Olympic hockey, and they released the top speeds of the players at the 2019 World Ice Hockey Championships. 

The table below contains a list of the players with the top speeds during the 2019 World Ice hockey championships’ fastest skating times. 

PlayerCountrySpeed KM/H
Ronald KeninsLatvis41.32
Leon DraisaitlGermany39.94
Frederik TiffelsGermany39.61
Marek HovorkaSlovakia39.58
Patrick KaneUSA39.26
Adrian KempeSweden39.16
Tristan SchewweySwitzerland38.99
Connor McDavidCanada38.91
Kasperi KapanenFinland38.75
Miro HeiskanenFinland38.63


Hockey Players Skate FAQs

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers. These FAQs will help you understand everything you need to know about how fast NHL hockey players skate. Let’s check it out!

What Is The Average Speed Of An NHL Skater?

The average speed of an NHL skater is approximately around 40 kilometers an hour (40.9 and 25.4 miles per hour). These hockey players can reach 20 to 25mph to 30 to 40km/h in-game action. 

How Fast Does Connor McDavid Skate Mph?

Thanks to the new technology incorporated into NHL, Connor McDavid’s speed was completely analyzed by Sportsnet. After the analysis, it was said that McDavid’s skating speed crosses 40 kilometers an hour (40.9 and 25.4 miles per hour).

Who Is The Fastest NHL Skater Of All Time?

We’ve prepared a list of some of the fastest players to ever play in the NHL. The list includes; 

1. Pavel Bure

2. Paul Coffey

3. Yvan Cournoyer

4. Sergei Fedorov

5. Mike Gartner

6. Bobby Hull

7. Connor McDavid

8. Scott Niedermayer

How Fast Do Youth Hockey Players Skate?

Youth players can skate up to 40km/h (25.5mph) at their fastest. Most hockey players are extremely fast, and they can complete a lap around the ice in just 13 or 14 seconds. However, only the fastest players can reach these high speeds.

How Many Miles Do Hockey Players Skate?

A typical NHL player skates up to 410 miles per season or 5 miles per game. Hockey players are really athletic, and the average player a fat level of under 10 percent, stands 6’1” tall and weighs a lean 200 pounds. Besides, NHL players accelerate to speeds up to 30 mph to stop on a dime. 

How Fast Do Pro Hockey Players Shoot?

The average snapshot speed in the NHL is around 100 miles per hour. This average snapshot speed has really changed and improved when compared to the average speed of Slap Shots in the 90s. 

Final Thoughts

Some speedy NHL players can reach up to 20 miles (32 km) per hour on the ice. By the way, the fastest skaters in the NHL have reached speeds in excess of 30 miles (48 km) per hour! We’ve reached the final session of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know how fast hockey players skate. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!


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