Why Do Hockey Goalies Scrape the Ice?

Why Do Hockey Goalies Scrape the Ice

Have you ever been to an ice hockey match before? Have you noticed their beginning action or you may say rituals? If yes, you must know that the hockey goalie does something strange. He scraps the ice before the goal net and marks some points. But doesn’t it sound weird? Like its nothing compared to plain levelled ice in front to get the goals on target, But it is not the same for the ice hockey goalies.

So, let us reveal the mystery behind it. Why do the players scrap the ice? The answer to this question is not just in one number but several of them.

  1. They scrap the ice to produce friction between the puck and the ice to slow the puck down.
  2. To better control the puck on scraped ice rather than the slippery one.
  3. It has become a mental practice to get warm up and be prepared for the match.
  4. Scraping also helps smooth out any rough spot on the surface to avoid bouncing the puck.
  5. Scraping helps in preventing wraparound.

Top 5 Points Why Do Hockey Goalies Scrape the Ice?

Having discussed the 5 points above individually, let’s get into the details of each point and find out the answer to the question that arises among hockey fans.

1. Scrape Makes the Puck Slow

The main goal is to prevent any intent from the goalie; too much for a GOAL, right? However, the goaltender takes every measure to avoid the puck from getting into the net. The plain slippery ice surface will speed up the puck’s movement and make its way into the net. Moreover, the puck may not always land in the net corners; instead of landing straight into the net, it makes its way.

Every year, it is observed that the goaltender prevents the goal with a margin of a few millimetres. Thus, scraping a little bit of the ice sounds okay and slows the puck down from crossing the margins. So, it is the main reason NHL goalies rub the ice to build up some snow on a plain surface and slow down the puck.

For the viewer of the match, it may not be a convincing argument that scraping will slow down the puck, but the men in the field can observe it. And it adds some time, maybe some milliseconds, for the goaltender to settle himself to block the puck. Additionally, If you go and ask any goalie about the scraping, he will tell you that a single millisecond can flip the winning match into a losing one.

Hence, I hope you get the point that scraping ice is not a joke but a logical action by a goaltender in the field of ice hockey to avoid goals.

2. Scraping Makes Ice, Less Slippery

The goalies prefer to play on ice that is not much slippery as it makes skating difficult when moving from side to side on the field. They need to move very cautiously to score a goal. And the moving pattern is like up and down, side to side. While moving quickly and vigilantly, they protect and pass the puck to their team members. A slippery surface of ice will not allow the players to carry that fast and rapidly because they cannot control their movement on a super slick surface of ice. Next time you are at the match, you need to notice that a bit of staggering of the player can lead to a goal against his team, thus directing them to lose around. Therefore, goalies confirm that they maintain consistency in their movement around the ice field.

So, scraping the ice a little will produce friction that will help the players to move smoothly on the ice and control their skating motions. It will slow down the skating speed but will allow better control of the puck and the movement of the player in a precise way.

3. Scraping, a Warm-up Practice

We have often heard that any game is a game of nerves, or you play any game with your wits. So, psychologically a person needs to make up his mind to start a new thing. And for goalies, the initial practice to start a match in scraping the ice in front to get ready for the real game.

This warm-up routine also helps them get physical strength and the player’s vibe out at a level required for skating. This routine also allows players to stay focused, concentrate on the game, and score well for their team.

As we are considering the fore practice of scraping as a warm-up routine or a psychological act. It could have been more meaningful for some players when it comes to sports; many players believe that the game progresses depending on their luck. For many players, a practice of scraping the ice will act as rubbing the magic lamp for good.

4. Scraping Smooths Ice Spots

Starting a game begins with smoothing the ice with a Zamboni. It is often used in the ice field to smooth out the surface before and after the match to maintain the shape of the ice, but it will still leave out some spots that did not come under it or did not get smooth. Professional leagues have staff members who help to maintain the ice field by manual labor, so it is made sure that the ice is always slippery and in shape.

Despite all the efforts, ice is still unbeatable and can suffer changes in shape and texture, especially when players move around thundering on it. Thus, scraping can be done to prevent any bump on the surface. Additionally, goaltenders want the puck to strike any spots and get trajected to an angle. That will help it to pass a goal. That is why the goalies scrap the ice to smooth the bumps equally in all the directions that a puck may follow.

5. Use Scraped Snow to Put on Posts to Prevent Wraparounds

Sometimes goaltenders will try to goal with all their wits and can come from behind the net to score a goal using a technique called ‘wraparound.’ in response to this tactic, the goalies will gather some snow at the ends of the net, making a crease to avoid the goals using wraparounds. This quick-witted effort of the goalies will prevent the opposing team’s puck from entering the net from behind.

Goaltenders are not allowed to accumulate ice into their goalposts in the NHL. The reason is that during timeout breaks of matches, the staff members are called to look into the ice maintenance and shovel off the extra ice crumbs gathered on the ice surface and their goalposts. On the other hand, goalies can pile up snow to a certain amount around the net.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the other goalies’ habits other than scraping the ice?

When you pay attention to goalies’ habits on the ice rink, you will notice that scraping the ice is not the only work they do at each game; there are other habits too they do, like,
●     Lead the team while coming onto the ice rink.
●     Tapping on the goal posts either with their sticks or pads.
●     Get either his pads or gloves tapped by team players. 

Why do the goalies slap their sticks on the ice? What does it mean?

The loud sound at the final moments of a power play when goalies slap their sticks on the ice signals their team that the power play is soon to end.


To summarize all the details discussed above, Ice goalies have developed a healthy habit of scraping the ice for ease or advantage, and they are allowed to scrape. There are five reasons for their effort. At first, scraping ice makes the surface of the ice rough, and secondly makes the ice less slippery. Scraping helps to slow down the puck as it moves toward the goalie. Thirdly, to smooth out the rough patches on the ice field. Fourthly, it prevents those wraparounds by the opposing team. Lastly, it helps goalies prepare themselves for the match and put their guards on to avoid the goal. The main reason for all the scarping is to have a fair play and game, help the goalie prevent scoring, and help the goaltenders make the goal straight into the net. Both have their share in the scraping, either making a goal or avoiding it.

I hope this article will clear all your concerns about scraping in ice hockey. If YES, drop a comment of appreciation below!

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Austin Taylor

Who is Austin Taylor?

Meet Austin Taylor, your go-to source for everything ice hockey! With a passion for the sport that’s as deep as the ice itself, Austin Taylor brings you concise, expert insights and nitty-gritty details on all things hockey. From gear reviews to strategy breakdowns, Austin Taylor is your trusted guide to navigating the exhilarating world of ice hockey. Get ready to lace up your skates and dive into the game with Austin Taylor as your ultimate companion.

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