The majority of the off-season for hockey players is focused on achieving a singular goal. For most, that means gaining X amount of weight, but there are exceptions. Certain guys have trouble keeping the pounds off, others want to tone up, some need to improve their cardio. Still, the goal is almost always centred around your build.

The main reason is that you think it’s going to help you once you step out onto the ice, but you’re also aware of another crucial moment that you have to be ready for: the weigh-in.

The weigh-in happens quick and casually, wedged somewhere between the “turn your head and cough” physical and the time you get your head shot taken. It’s a fleeting moment of stepping on the scale, a number being established, then it’s over.


It’s in the program. It’s in the media guides, on the scout’s clipboards, on the internet, in your opponent’s dressing room. There’s no update to it down the road, just THIS IS WHAT PLAYER X WEIGHS. ALL THE TIME. WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION.

So obviously, you want that number to be up or down, depending on your priorities (I keep hedging my bets with the “or down” talk, but almost everyone wants the biggest number possible. I can think of two players I played with who didn’t, so I’m doing that for them.)

The weigh-in usually happens in the morning, so the steps players take are as follows:

Naturally, you eat a huge breakfast. Something dense that makes you feel awful and sits in your gut for hours. Sausage-heavy biscuits and gravy, maybe. If you can, avoid pooping (journalism!).

Most humans can’t drink a gallon of water in 15 minutes without throwing up, so you have to plan your water intake very carefully. Ideally, you’d like to get one down in the morning, sip more on the way to the rink, then crush as much as you can as close to stepping on the scale. Nausea > weighing in light.

If you’re lucky, your team may want to help you out – after all, the better your players look, the more move on (I’m referring to junior/college/minor pro, to be clear – NHLers likely don’t care as much), and the better your program looks. So some won’t make you strip down to your underwear. I played on one team that let guys weigh in in their clothes, so a few guys layered on hoodies like they were trying to sweat out the flu.

Another season I played on a team that allowed you to weigh in your shorts. This led one savvy, devious player to take a couple 2.5lb weights from the weight room, and tape them to the inside of his thighs before hopping on. Now that’s good hustle.

Cheating your height is a lot harder to do, but you’d be surprised how unprofessional the measurement process is at most places. We had some five-foot intern put a clipboard on our heads one year in college, then measure the mark on the wall – being short, the clipboard angled up, so everybody came in with ridiculously tall numbers (I had to call our Athletic Administrator to change it before they printed programs – I’m over 6’1″ – listed as 6’2″ most years – but I’m sure as shit not 6’3″).

If you’re not lucky enough to have a short measurement-taker, then it’s heels-up, heels-up, heels-up, no matter how many times they tell you to stand flat.

Scouts know this happens, of course, but all that means is you have to do it. If you team comes down with a case of the morals, a scout would end up reading your actual height and assume you’re an inch shorter.

Whatever you can do to inflate those numbers, you do it, and nobody holds a grudge against anybody else for trying. As I mentioned earlier, I’m sure it doesn’t matter nearly as much once you’re an established NHLer, but in the process of getting there, you use any trick you can to get a second look from the league above.

Comments (13)

  1. Some heights/weights just sound so much bigger than others though. If you are on the edge of them, these tricks are especially important. In junior I was a shade under 5’11 and a hair under 200. You bet your ass I did everything I could to be listed at 6’0, 200. Sounds soooo much bigger than 5’11, 195.

  2. I’m actually 6’2, so that was always listed the same. But inexplicably between my fresh. and soph. years of college I went from 185 to 210. Not sure how that happened.

  3. Its actually amazing how much your weight fluxuates even throughout the day. Try it one day, weigh yourself soon as you wake up, after breakfast, before lunch, middle of the day, after supper, before bed… i bet the average persons changes between 5-10 lbs.

    So in SpecialKs instance, it could be something simple as the first time having small breakfast and no liquids to the next year having a large breakfast with lots of water, at a different time of the day…

  4. Don’t go to the bathroom for a whole day or two….eat a couple of steaks before the weigh in. That’s about 8lbs right there not including fluids.

  5. water and Creatine.. Thats another 5 pounds there.

  6. On a similar note, I used to work for a sports-supplement company and won an in-house body transformation contest mostly on the basis of being able to take a worse “before” photo than anyone else. My tactics included gorging on pickles to retain sodium, guzzling a ton of water (were I to do it again, I’d go with something carbonated), and holding off on taking a dump until I was turtleheading. I also made sure I was pale, hairy, a month past due for a haircut, and wearing a stupid, punchable sneer while I let my gut hang out for the camera. People always think trickery is involved in the “after” photo, but the real magic happens when an unphotogenic guy like me actively tries to look awful.

  7. Our GM let us fill in our own heights and weights. Because good Catholic boys never lie, right?

    My freshman roommate was a big guy. 6’5” with shoes on. He wrote 235 for the media guide. Seemed reasonable. One night the guys were at a house party and a scale was in the kitchen. ”Hey dude, jump on.” 5 players gathered around the scale. A 282 pops up and you would of thought a naked girl walked in the reaction it got.

    His explanation was that he didn’t want teams thinking he was slow and put him up against speedy match-ups. Sorry, but if I’m 6’5” 280lbs I’m tattooing it on my forehead.

    Needless to say he stayed my roommate until we graduated.

  8. I used to chug as much as I could out of a gallon jug of water right before I hopped on the scale.

  9. You know, this has “No-Miss Blue-Chip Can’t-Lose Ideas for Rec League Beginners to Achieve Awesomeness” written all over it… at least for an April Fools’ post.

    The most entertaining advice is always the worst advice offered in a somber, sober, and reflective tone.

  10. seems to stick you with whatever you weighed in at the first time you crack the roster of a team in a league they track. Lots of 200+ guys with 180 as their weight for eternity for this reason. My last season that mattered, I was rounded up to 6’2″ from a 6’1.5″ (just like JT) but was solidly 210. But what I weighed in my first appearance in junior A – 200 was what I was stuck with – a lot less impressive. There used to be a fight site online that would track the size of opponents. I took a loss to a guy that was registered as 175 to my 200 on, so that looked pretty bad. I’m guessing he was actually listed in the league as more than 200 that particular year.

  11. The introduction of the baking of processed cereals including the creation of flour provided a more reliable source of food. Egyptian sailors carried a flat, brittle loaf of millet bread called dhourra cake, while the Romans had a biscuit called buccellum.’

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