Hockey players are trained to have a firm grip on the stick, but there are many occasions where you see a stick dropped by a player accidentally. However, what is even more surprising is that players don’t come to pick up their sticks. They just leave it on the ice.
Why do hockey players leave their sticks on the ice?
So a question starts hitting the hockey fans, and they wonder why the players leave their sticks on the ice. The study of his question highlights two main points:
- If the stick is broken or damaged, it is illegal to pick it up. They must leave it on the ice immediately. In most official leagues, using or holding a broken stick is illegal. A 2-minute minor penalty will be imposed for equipment violations if you are caught using or holding a broken stick.
- Suppose it is accidentally or intentionally dropped on the ice. In that case, a player can pick it, but they mostly do not opt to pick it because of leaving their position and giving the opposition a scoring chance.
Let’s get into these points a little more deeply.
Leaving a Dropped Stick on the Ice to Remain In the Position
Hockey sticks can get out of the hand without breaking for various reasons like collision with other sticks or when hitting a slash etc, and it can come out of the hand. Regardless of how a stick slips out of hand, if it is unbroken, a player is allowed to go and pick it up.
However, when a stick drops on the ice, players must decide whether to pick up a stick or stay in the position not to give opponents a scoring opportunity.
Perhaps it seems the best decision to go and pick up the stick because it becomes difficult to defend and play without a stick. It will work only when they make it fast. If not, then it can cause his team a disadvantage.
Because the NHL games and players are highly professional and well-structured, a little slipping out of position would give a goal opportunity to the opponents.
However, it may appear the same to you as NHL players are in wait to have small windows to maneuver and pass the puck through. They are skilled enough to quickly capitalize on small mistakes and create scoring chances out of mini errors.
- What it has to do with picking up a stick?
If a player takes a long time to pick up the stick, then it is a chance for the other team’s offensive player to create an offensive scoring chance in some ways. It would be better for a player to play without a stick and use his body correctly in the correct position to keep opponents going in areas where they can score easily. A few seconds will be enough for the opposition to get a goal.
Although, it would be challenging to play and defend without a stick, which can put you at a disadvantage. But it is better than getting the stick early and losing your position; others get a chance at it.
So they opt to leave their sticks on the ice and ensure that they are in the correct position and wait until their teammates pass the stick to them, just like Auston Mathews passed the stick to his teammate.
Players Dropped Broken Stick
As earlier stated, it is illegal to use a broken stick. If a player is caught playing with a broken post, he will receive a two-minute minor penalty. Thus, it is expected for players to drop their sticks immediately and stop using them further.
How Often Does Stick Breaking Happen in the Game?
In the 1980’s times, hockey players used wooden made hockey sticks, and these sticks got firmly held up and not easily broken. However, sticks tend to break more frequently after the 1990s and 2000s introduction of new sticks.
Although today’s sticks are fantastic when used, they rea light to pick and generate powerful shots. But at the same time, these new sticks easily get broken. If there is a slight slit or a crack in the stick, it will quickly break on a simple shot.
What’s more frustrating for coaches is when a player gets the opportunity for an open shot and sees his stick getting a break while attempting the shot.
The sticks also get a break when players block the opposition’s shots. And it’s more painful to watch your team get a penalty kill and see one player’s stick getting a break. It is already not easy to have a penalty kill, and it’s become tougher when a player’s stick breaks. And NHL players are smart enough to lay their hands on sudden opportunity that they always pinpoint a player whose stick is broken.
Hence, a player can leave his stick on the ice and pray that the opposing team will not get a scoring chance.
- Would it not be better for a player to slash others sticks and break them?
No, you can never do that because if you slash another’s stick and it is broken, there is a straight two-minute penalty for you to receive.
This is a good rule for the maintenance of the game balance. But it becomes annoying sometimes as the sticks are so light that they can quickly get a break. So, to get the game in his team’s hand, a player gives a light slash to the stick, which is legal to do and considered a good game strategy. However, you will receive a two-minute direct penalty if the opposing player’s stick breaks. That’s why a player has to be careful that the other stick will not get a break.
The Bottom Line on Why Do Hockey Players Leave their Sticks on the Ice?
It would be best if you stopped wondering why NHL players do not pick up their dropped sticks. Next time you see a player, skate pass to the stick and not pick it. Remember that either it is broken, or he is defending his position.
Moreover, a player cannot hold two sticks at a time. This means a player cannot hand over a dropped stick to his teammate without dropping his own. However, he can kick-pass the dropped stick to his owner. Also, it is illegal to pass a dropped or broken stick in a position that can affect the play.