I spent some time on BC Ferries over the weekend. As I do every September, I purchased a couple of hockey pool magazines. The best, by far, is The Score’s SportsForecaster.
I was leafing through this year’s edition, and was reminded of something I’d noticed in the past: most defencemen shoot left. By ‘shoot left’, I mean when they’re taking a forehand shot, the blade of the stick sits on the ice to the left of their body. Having finished my meatless breakfast (not on the menu, but you can order it from the cafeteria), I started doing some addition. Here are the results:
- Of 1071 NHL players and prospects, 65% shoot left.
- Among forwards only, 61% shoot left.
- Among defencemen, 72% shoot left.
Avid Canucks fans will recall that for a while, the team has had only one right-shooting defenceman. This season it looks like they’ll probably have two.
What gives? I’m right-handed, and when I play hockey (of the road variety), I always shoot right. After all, apparently only 8 to 15% of adults are left-handed.
Not surprisingly, it’s all about defence. From Yahoo Answers:
When you shoot left, the hand in the middle of the stick is your left hand, and the hand at the top of the stick is your right hand. When you are skating fast, or stretching to reach a far away puck, you end up with only your top hand on the stick – as explained above, in the case of a left shot player, that would be your right hand.
That is why right handed people (which is most people) end up shooting left – so that when they have to handle their stick with just one hand, it is their dominant right hand.
This appears to be a largely North American phenomenon. I just checked the handedness of some prominent European scorers, and they mostly shot right. Regardless, another of life’s tiny mysteries put to rest.
In related news, I’m gong to be running a hockey pool in late September using The Common Fan. I’ll be looking for 10 to 12 participants. I’ll probably run the draft over Skype or some other IM system, and it’ll be a very low maintenance pool. Maybe we’ll have a couple of redrafts, but that’s about it. If you’re interested in joining, leave a comment or, you know, watch this space.