How fast do hockey players skate? (You won’t believe it)

nhl fastest skater

Hockey is an insanely fast-paced sport. Between soccer, football, basketball and baseball, hockey is by far the fastest team sport filled with the most action.

When you turn on a hockey game, or better yet go to see one in person, you can’t help but be blown away by the speed at which these players travel.

Hockey players have to move quickly and efficiently to get around the ice. They need to be able to cover large distances in a short amount of time. In order to do so, they need to be very efficient at moving their feet and legs.

But exactly how fast do hockey players skate?

Throughout a hockey game, a player will typically skate at speeds in the range of 10-25 miles per hour (16-40 km/h). The fastest skaters in hockey are able to harness the power in their lower body to reach top speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km/h).

It’s incredible the speeds at which the fastest players in the game are able to skate.

Who is the fastest hockey player?

There have been a number of fast skaters in the game of hockey throughout the years.

But who is currently the fastest hockey player? The title of the fastest hockey player currently belongs to Connor McDavid. Connor McDavid has won the NHL’s fastest skater competition three years in a row from 2017-19. He has a top end speed of 28 miles per hour (45 km/h).

During the 2017-18 season, 501 NHL players cast their votes on whom they think the fastest player in the league was. Here are the results.

Player Vote %
Connor McDavid 81.04
Michael Grabner 3.59
Nick Leddy 2.40
Dylan Larkin 2.20
Chris Kreider 1.60
Other 9.18

What is the average skating speed in hockey?

The average skating speed in hockey is approximately 16.5 miles per hour (25.7 km/h), according to data from Hockey Canada.

NHL fastest skater record

During the NHL’s All-Star Games, the NHL holds the fastest skater competition, in which the fastest hockey players in the game see how fast they can skate around the entirety of an NHL sized arena.

Although Connor McDavid seems to win this contest nearly every year, Jonathan Drouin actually holds the record for the NHL’s fastest skater with a time of 13.103 seconds!

Here’s a list of the 10 fastest times from the NHL’s fastest skater competition!

Season Player Time
2015 Jonathan Drouin 13.103
2016 Dylan Larkin 13.172
2020 Mathew Barzal 13.175
2012 Carl Hagelin 13.218
2017 Connor McDavid 13.310
2019 Connor McDavid 13.378
1996 Mike Gartner 13.386
2018 Connor McDavid 13.454
1993 Mike Gartner  13.510
1994 Sergei Fedorov 13.525

Something to keep in mind is that this competition is done without a puck on the player’s stick, with a puck on their stick in real game action, there is no one that touches the top end speed of one of the faster players and best speed skaters in the history of the game, Connor McDavid.

How many miles does the average hockey player skate in a game?

If you’ve ever watched a hockey game, you’ve seen the players skating back and forth up and down the ice all night. Seeing as a full length hockey game last 60 minutes, how many miles does the average hockey player skater per game?

In terms of distance covered, it depends on what kind of player we’re talking about. If we are referring to players who take regular shifts throughout the game, then the answer would be somewhere between 3 – 5 miles per game, depending on how much ice time the player gets.

Players who play the position of forward will likely cover more ground than someone who plays defense.

Considering it takes me about an hour to do 5 miles on the treadmill and regular skaters usually only get between 15-20 minutes of ice time, that’s pretty impressive.

What makes a hockey player fast?

Being a fast skater in hockey is one of the most important skills you could have.

Hockey players partake in extreme off-season training to get their bodies into peak physical condition an increase both their strength and power.

It’s a hockey player’s lower body strength and power which helps propel themselves to such great speeds on the ice while skating.

If you want to increase your speed on the ice, or are just interested in seeing what goes in to making a hockey player so fast, check out this video.


Are all hockey players fast skaters?

Hockey is a game of speed, which requires players to be fast skaters. In lower age group leagues, you will surely find players who don’t skate very fast, but typically by the time players enter peewee they are fast skaters relative to their age group. If you look at the NHL, every player in the league is a fast skater, some more so than others, but they are all very fast.

Who is faster, a hockey player or a figure skater?

Figure skating and hockey, although both taking place on the ice, require different types of skating.

Figure skaters overall are better skaters than hockey players, but when it comes to speed, hockey players are much faster skaters than figure skaters. This is because while figure skaters focus on control and balance, hockey players learn acceleration and explosiveness.

Not only that, but the types of skates figure skaters use put them at a disadvantage against hockey players in terms of speed, figure skate blades are longer which makes it harder to generate heel to toe power.

Final thoughts

Hockey players play at a speed that is not comparable to any other team sport in the world.

Some of the fastest players in the league can skate as fast as a moving vehicle in a school zone!

Being a fast skater isn’t exactly easy, professional hockey players put in countless hour strengthening their lower body and working on their agility just to keep up with the likes of Connor McDavid who seems to have been gifted his elite speed from birth.

Featured image source (here)