Video Series: “Science of NHL Hockey” Explores the Science behind Ice Hockey

science videos of nhl ice hockey
According to a press release from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the agency has teamed with NBC News’ educational arm, NBC Learn, and the NBC Sports Group along with the National Hockey League (NHL) in the creation of a video series entitled “Science of NHL Hockey”

Hosted by NBC News’ Lester Holt, the video learning program is a 10-part video series which explores the science behind what is called “the fastest game on ice.”

The educational video series was developed with educators in mind. The program was made to fit well in the classroom environment for both teachers and their students. Available to the public at no cost, the videos are aligned to lesson plans and national state education standards.

The free downloads of the videos and the program is available on, and

According to the National Science Foundation statement:

The “Science of NHL Hockey” videos will debut during NBC Sports Network’s all-encompassing coverage of the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend from Ottawa January 26-29, including a select number of videos airing throughout the Honda SuperSkills Competition on Saturday, January 28, from 7-9:30 p.m. ET. The NHL will feature the videos on, NHL Network in the United States and Canada and in a number of arenas throughout the league.

This collaboration between NBC Learn, NBC Sports and NSF uses the universal appeal of hockey to drive an understanding of complicated scientific concepts. Students and teachers see how the principles of science enable players to perform actions such as quickly stopping on ice, passing the puck to a teammate, shooting a slap shot and making a great save.

The science is broken down by capturing the athletes’ movements with a state-of-the-art, high-speed Phantom camera, which has the ability to capture movement at rates of up to 10,000 frames per second. These dynamic visuals allow for frame-by-frame illustrations of specific scientific principles such as Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, kinematics and velocity. Other video episodes analyze the hockey science behind reflexes and reaction time, statistics, vectors, linear motion, geometry and more.

NBC Sports Group oversaw the Phantom video shoot in September 2011 during the yearly media tour sponsored by the NHL and its players association. NBC Sports Group also provided research and technical support throughout the project.

Current NHL players who participated in the video series include:

•Jaroslav Halak, Goaltender, St. Louis Blues
•Erik Johnson, Defenseman, Colorado Avalanche
•Brenden Morrow, Left Wing, Dallas Stars
•Matt Moulson, Left Wing, New York Islanders
•Pekka Rinne, Goaltender, Nashville Predators

In each video, an NSF-supported scientist explains a selected scientific principle, while NHL athletes describe how the principle applies to their respective positions. Series scientists supported by NSF are: Edward Burger, Williams College; Irene Fonseca, Carnegie Mellon; Jim Gates, University of Maryland; Robert Gehrz, University of Minnesota; and Patricia Shewokis, Drexel University. The videos also include actual game footage provided by the NHL, and the lesson plans that accompany the videos will be provided by the National Science Teachers Association.

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