Every Friday I answer my mail bag in "Ask The Hockey History Blogger." Feel free to ask me your hockey questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenny from Ottawa, Ontario wants to know how many pucks are used in an average game.
Well Jenny, I could not find hard statistics on this one. The best I could find is an average of 12 per game. That makes sense. Four pucks for each period, or a new puck every 5 minutes. The pucks are frozen before the game so that a thin layer of ice forms around them. This layer of ice reduces friction when the puck races along the playing surface. The helps to reduce the likelihood that the puck will bounce and roll. Hopefully the puck will lie flat. After 5 minutes of action, the ice around the puck would have been smacked off.
I once heard that the NHL recommended 3 dozen pucks be frozen ahead of each game, more for a playoff game. With the netting around the end zones nowadays, I would be surprised if all 36 pucks were needed for a 60 minute game. Fewer and fewer pucks are escaping into the crowd.
The conscious effort to maximize puck optimization is a relatively new development in hockey history.
Back on November 10, 1979, the NHL witnessed an entire 60 minute game played using only one puck. It is believed to be the only time in modern NHL history that that has happened. The puck used that night by the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame.