Why do Hockey Players Spit So Much? (Real Reason)

Ever wondered why hockey players are always spitting, on the bench, on the ice, between shifts, literally everywhere? Wherever you look, they seem to be spitting!

The truth is, hockey is a high-intensity exercise carried out in cold air. While skating on the ice, saliva and mucus buildup, prompting the players to want to spit more to clear their airways – that’s the main reason why hockey players are continuously spitting.

Many sportsmen also spit right after drinking water; to quench their thirst, but without swallowing too much water that will weigh them down.

When you play hockey, most of your vital functions change to help your body avoid sudden breakdowns from exertion.

Your heart rate goes up to pump more blood and you sweat to help cool your body as it heats up from this faster, greater blood flow.

Similarly, you produce more spit, and often a type of thicker mucus called MUC5B. This thick stuff makes your mouth feel sticky. Hence, it is quite normal for you to spit out more frequently when skating on the ice.

Exercise Triggers Mucus Buildup:

When you exercise and ramp up your physical exertion, you need to get more and more oxygen to your muscles. Breathing through your mouth causes dry, cool air to enter your lungs directly.

This leads to more phlegm production and makes you more likely to cough and produce mucus (that needs to be swallowed or spit out).

While in normal circumstances, a sudden buildup of phlegm might be the sign of an incoming infection or illness, most times, mucus buildup during play as a result of the cold air and exercise.

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Hockey Players Spitting Out Drinks:

Ever noticed that players aren’t just spitting, but sometimes squirting out the water they just drunk from the sports bottle? They take a sip and then eject it onto the bench or ice right after.

Welcome to the home of sports
Welcome to the home of sports

Hockey Players spitting out drinks

Research carried out by Gatorade Sports Institute showed that players who rinse their mouth with carbohydrate solution are associated with improved performance in high endurance exercise.

Hence, when next you are on the ice, rinse out your mouth with a sports drink (rather than swallow) to improve your performance.

Moreso, players sometimes take in water with no intention of swallowing it. They just sip as much water as they can into their mouth and then spit it out right away. This is because they want to hydrate their mouth without taking on excess water. 

Final Thoughts

Apparently, Hockey players are not the only athletes that spit so much during their games. Many other athletes from different sports do so too.

Of course, it isn’t a culture, neither is it a routine. It just happens to be a scenario triggered by the exhausting nature of all sports. Hence, Hockey players are compelled to spit so much as their body systems adjust to prevent breaking down from exhaustion.

More Interesting Hockey Facts:

1. What is a Penalty Shot in Hockey and When are They Used?

2. Why is Fighting Allowed in Hockey – the NHL Fighting Rules?

3. What is the Average Age of Retirement in the NHL?

4. What Percentage of the NHL Draft Picks Makes the NHL?

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5. Where Did The Name Hockey Come From?

6. Why Do Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks? (Real Facts)