All Star Aaron Ekblad vs. Joe The Beer League Goalie

How many times have you watched a hockey game and wondered to yourself, “Wow, how does a goalie even see that shot?!”

NHL players have the hardest, most accurate, and deceptive shots in the world yet goalies stop, on average, 92% of shots fired at them – pretty remarkable. I recently got the opportunity to face one of the NHL’s hardest shots from point blank range courtesy of Florida Panthers’ All-Star defenseman Aaron Ekblad on his in-house Xtraice Home synthetic ice rink.

The Results?

Not good for me personally, but it was a unique chance to discover exactly what goalies are dealing with when professionals have time and space to do what they’re paid to do – score goals.

The most common question I received after the Hockey Tutorial video with Aaron was, “How hard and fast was it?” While obviously extremely fast (mid 90’s mph), that really wasn’t the challenge when facing his shots. When a shooter is in tighter like he was, speed will help beat the goalie – obviously – but the more challenging aspect of his shot was the speed of his release and the deceptive nature he has when shooting.

A recreational hockey player takes more time to wind up their shot while almost telegraphing where they are trying to put it with their hand placement and stick angle, allowing goalies to prepare a split second earlier, and make the save. A player of Ekblad’s caliber, with his skills training background, makes his shot immensely harder to read and track into your body.

The Difference?

If you watch his hands while shooting, there isn’t as much obvious movement leading to where he’s aiming – his hands move more subtly yet with extreme strength and quickness, allowing for that lightning fast release point, not allowing a goalie to pick up on much. If you combine that subtle release with the speed and accuracy of the shot, you can see why the professionals are on a whole different level than your average beer league player.

Based on the results of Ekblad’s career thus far – #1 overall draft pick, Calder Trophy winner, two time NHL All-Star – it’s easy to see how his own hard work in the gym, on the ice, and on his own Xtraice Home surface has paid off and will continue to do so.


Big shoutout and special thanks to Hockey Tutorial for the opportunity to do this! I’ll start getting ready for the next one!!