Volume 6, Issue 7 (July 2009)
Experimental Characterization of Ice Hockey Pucks and Sticks
In spite of the broad popularity of ice hockey, little has been done to characterize the performance of pucks or sticks used in play. Data representative of play conditions is particularly lacking. A high speed impact test was developed to measure the puck impact force and coefficient of restitution. Puck brand, temperature, and speed were all shown to have a measurable effect on the relative puck response. The high speed puck test was modified to measure the performance of hockey sticks. The performance of six wood and 11 composite sticks (including different shaft tapers for each group) were compared to evaluate the effect of modern materials on the game. Stick performance was expressed in terms of the maximum puck speed from an idealized slap shot model. In spite of the popularity of the relatively expensive composite sticks, on average the performance of the wood sticks was 10 % higher than the composite sticks. Shaft loading was found to increase the puck speed but did not significantly change the relative performance of the sticks. In contrast to balls in golf and baseball, puck hardness was shown to have a negligible effect on stick performance.