I’m aware that there’s a condition called “Pica” where people consume “non-nutritive” (odd) things like clay, chalk, dirt and so on, but what we’re about to discuss here doesn’t seem to be a condition, so I feel okay having a little fun with it.

Well, hold on, “doesn’t seem to be a condition” isn’t necessarily accurate: is being a goalie considered a condition? Can someone consult the DSM-IV to see if it’s official? If it isn’t recognized yet, surely it will be in the next edition.

Anyway, my daily perusing of Reddit Hockey today led me to, a strange, strange post from a goaltender “consumed” by the idea of eating a puck (see what I did there?).

Not like in the “gobbling up rebounds” sense, but…I just…I dunno. From “willworkforicecream,” the question:

TITLE: Would it mess me up if I ate a puck?

I asked this in r/askscience, but I’m hoping that someone here may have some actual experience in the matter.

I’ve been a goalie for a few years now and I keep getting this urge to eat a hockey puck.

Stay with him here. There’s more.

I’ve always ignored it before, but it is becoming more tempting. I consider myself to be a reasonable and logical person, but I can’t shake it.

So here is how I see it.


  1. It will possibly get the notion out of my head if I just get it over with.
  2. I may absorb the mystical powers of the puck and increase my goaltending skills.


  1. It could mess up my insides.
  2. I would have one less hockey puck.

So, as stated before would it negatively effect my health if I ate a hockey puck?

EDIT: Some people seem to think that I will be eating this thing whole. That’s just nuts.

Yes. Yes that’s the crazy part.

First off, dude has a terrific sense of humour. Excellent pros and cons list.

I get how this sort of thing starts. He loves pucks so much he wants to consume one. Be one with the puck, and so on. The notion itself is, well, whatever it is, but to go through with it? He wouldn’t really, would he?

He would, and I know you want to know how it turned out. Here’s the update:

Title: [Update] Would it mess me up if I ate a puck?

Short answer: Yes.

I have found a high correlation between puck consumption and terrible, terrible diarrhea and stomach pains.

I’ve made multiple attempts by eating a small sliver a day for various periods of time until I was unable to stand it any more. The longest was about two weeks in duration. The shortest was two days. Diarrhea and stomach pains every time.

I have not noticed a statistically significant increase in goaltending ability.

Edit: Here’s a picture:

Edit 2: Some people are under the impression that I’m still eating this thing. Called it quits about a fortnight ago. I’m not crazy.

Hah, oooohhhkeydokey then.

Lesson learned, kids: do not consume hockey pucks.

Reddit Hockey didn’t seem to offer our puck-hungry goalie friend any answers…

…so I thought I’d see if we have any scientists in the Backhand Shelf hockey community to explain to our friend why this isn’t a good idea.

I’m guessing “ingesting chemicals and vulcanized rubber isn’t awesome” may be our jumping off point, but I’ll guess we’ll see. Have at ‘er.

Comments (10)

  1. SO let me get this straight: It did NOT help in his puck-stopping abilities? Ok then, he’s nuts.

    • What’s the line from that commercial about sports related superstitions? “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”

      Aren’t pucks made from some petroleum product? I’m guessing there are a few reasons why that would mess you up.

  2. If you showed this to Vesa Toskala he would eat it, and it would go right through him. Thank you. try the viel

  3. Ahh goalies, an endless source of entertainment!

  4. One important thing to learn about reddit; no one ever tells the truth.

  5. I’ve been missing Jo Innes and The Quiet Room. Bet she could work something up on this.

    • Well aside from the whole mechanical obstruction side of things (when you start barfing poop you know you’ve really screwed up), it probably wouldn’t really hurt you to eat a puck. It would make you crazy as a shithouse rat though. Oh wait, this is a goalie? Never mind. Foregone conclusion.
      They’ve done research on vulcanized rubber ingestion because of chopped up tires being used for playgrounds and athletic turf. The stuff I read basically said that being exposed for several hours a day for years at a time still wouldn’t get you anywhere near the EPA cancer threshold for aromatic hydrocarbons (that crap in vulcanized rubber). Their ingestion estimate wasn’t insignificant either – one study said a gram a day.
      I’d guess if you choked down a whole puck you wouldn’t die. You might tear up your guts with sharp edges and feel like a dumbass, but you’d probably live.
      DISCLAIMER: Don’t eat a frigging puck. This is not an endorsement. If you eat a puck it’s not my fault and you’re a great big weirdo.

  6. He went on to say this:

    I thought about taking a picture of my bowel movements, but they were like this weird orange goo that was really sticky so I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

  7. Maybe he’s related to Corporal Klinger, who once tried to win his Section 8 by eating a Jeep.

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