Serving Up Warm Biscuits: This Is How Hockey Pucks Are Made
If you have never seen, touched, or smelled a hockey puck...this is the post for you. If you are familiar with the textures and scents that pucks possess, but curious as to how they are made...look no further. We’re going to dive into the behind the scenes world of how these little black discs are born.
In the early days of hockey, even before organized games, it wasn’t unheard of to use whatever was small and hard enough to score on the opposition. This list would include frozen apples, pieces of wood, and even frozen cow poop. Now, remember, this is before modern industry entered the mix, so anything was game.
Eventually, the pioneers of the sport decided that carving pucks from wood would be the best option. At the time, it was, but still had issues. The wood pucks were light and would fly off with ease. While there was still work to be done, the wood alternatives were sufficient.
With industry and trade now becoming a huge aspect of Canadian life, the forefathers of hockey found a new material to create a puck...rubber. But, it came via another sport. Lacrosse.
Lacrosse is Canada’s national summer game and hockey winter. During the winter months with the ice and snow, there wasn’t much need for the rubber lacrosse balls, and one forward thinking player decided to cut a cross section of one of those balls. Because of that, we now have the modern puck...with a couple alterations of course.
Modern hockey pucks are made with several ingredients to give it their distinct texture, weight, and smell. While it’s industry secret as to the full list of ingredients, there are about 11 that go into the formation. How they are mixed and cooked is what separates pucks from other pieces of rubber.
The rubber itself is ‘pliable’ and ‘bouncy’, and when it gets cold...brittle. That was an issue with some of the first pucks used. They would freeze on the ice and often crack, or even break. It wasn’t until some chemists decided to ‘vulcanize’ the rubber that the pucks would be the perfect consistency for the cold surfaces.
While the hardness of the vulcanized discs we better than before, the design still needed to be enhanced. Enter Art Ross. The Art Ross.
Art saw the issues with the pucks at the time; they had sharp edges, would bounce, flip, and were hard to control. He decided to change this design by beveling the edges for a smoother glide on the ice and adding a diamond style tread around the sides to offer superior grip. This was in 1940 and is still in use today.