Hockey Warm-Up Skates

Over a number of years playing and watching hockey games and practices, I have noticed an odd habit with hockey players. If given no direction, when they first step on the ice they will automatically skate in a counter-clockwise direction. Age, ability level or familiarity doesn’t seem to make any difference. I was at a camp this week and I made the players skate in a clockwise direction and I heard comments like “Why?” and “This is strange”. The players felt uncomfortable skating in the opposite direction than what they were used to.

I’m curious as to why. No one teaches them to skate this way direction. There is no rule in warmups or practices about skating one direction. So why is this a habit? Where/when does it start? Does it actually affect how players skate? Are players better at skating/crossing over got the left than to the right? Do coaches even notice that players skate the same way all the time?

I’d love to hear if anyone has any ideas about this as it is something that has baffled me for a while now.

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