Hydration Strategies for Hockey Players

Should Hockey Players Drink?

Fuel and Hydration Strategies for Hockey Players

Ice hockey is an intermittent, high-intensity sport like soccer or basketball, but check this… hockey has more physical contact with scrums and cross checks. Ice hockey players need multidirectional movement and speed, agility, balance, coordination, endurance, and strength. Dry land training is part of the sport as well as practice on the frozen h2o/ also known as ice.:) Even though ice hockey is played in a cold arena on a cold surface, heavy uniforms and padding contribute to high sweat rates in some players. Proper fueling and hydration to stay strong for the entire practice or game are important for success in the sport. H2O Nutrition develops sport strategies for hydration and fuel and today’s blog shares a guideline for what hockey players should drink.

Ice hockey uses up a lot of the body’s glycogen (carbohydrate stored in muscle), especially in the leg muscles. Without enough carbohydrate, fatigue can result, limiting the player’s ability to maintain high-intensity effort, especially in the later stages of the game.

The United States Hockey Association is the national governing body for elite junior and senior hockey players (www.usahockey.com).

H2O Hydration Strategies for the Hockey Player:

Ice hockey players, especially goalies, can sweat heavily under all their padding. A study of Canadian elite junior hockey players found that one-third did not drink enough during practice or a game to prevent a sweat loss of 2% body weight or more, even though there was plenty of time to drink. Losing 2% body weight through sweat has been associated with decreased sports performance in the later stages of a practice or game.

Hockey players have plenty of breaks in the action and should take advantage of the time between shifts to drink fluids. Keep a water bottle at the bench for easy access to fluids.

H2O is best for most athletes. Plan to drink about 2 cups (16 ounces) of water 2 to 3 hours before a workout or game. Then drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water 10 to 20 minutes before exercise.

Sports drinks are a good choice when you have long, hard workouts or for all-day tournaments. Stick to the basic tried-and-true sports drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde, because they provide a good balance of carbohydrate, sodium, and potassium to replace losses. Replacing carbohydrate and electrolytes during a game can help maintain physical and mental performance in the later stages of the game. Follow the same drinking schedule as for water, but also listen to your body. Drink when you are thirsty and monitor how much you urinate and the color of your urine. If you are urinating frequently throughout the day and your urine is a light-straw color, you are probably drinking enough fluids.

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