Photo by Andy Melton
When selecting a hockey ball, you want to find one with the least amount of bounce that will best simulate the feel of a hockey puck. Drop the ball from a height of three feet onto the playing surface. When dropped from this distance, the ball should not rebound more than eight inches on the first bounce and no more than two inches on the second. Some of the best ‘no bounce’ hockey balls contain water. This allows the ball to feel like a puck by 1) reducing bounce and 2) increasing weight making it more difficult to lift off the stick.
Probably the most important factor to consider is the temperature that you will be playing in. Many companies manufacture a ball for a given temperature range, often coded by color. First, is a warm weather ball or a traditional “orange ball”. This ball is to be used when playing in weather is 60°F or warmer. Second, are hot weather balls. These are meant for play 75°F or warmer. Third are cool weather balls. These are meant for play between 30°F and 60°F . Last, are cold weather balls. These are meant to be played with in temperatures less than 30°F. Beware when using a ball that contains water in a cool weather setting. I made the mistake of doing this and the ball ended up cracking. The diagram to the right shows Mylec’s color coding system. Other brands may differ in color, but should offer a specific ball for a given climate.
Sometimes I get asked why not just use a tennis ball? I highly recommend you do not use a tennis ball for hockey. Here’s why: they possess all the undesirable qualities of a bad hockey ball. Too much bounce and too much grip. Seriously, just go out and spend the $3 you won’t regret it.