Do you lean to the right or left?

I had a pretty interesting conversation the other day concerning left handed shooting hockey players versus right handed shooting hockey players. (well I guess it is interesting if you like hockey.)  A dad from my Learn to Play Hockey Class asked me which way should his son shoot……
So it got me thinking about why players shoot the way they do and if had anything to do with where they are from. I looked at our clinic and a learn to play class of a group of young american players that I have been working with and realized about 80% of them shot right. I know from my past experience teaching schools in Canada that about 70% seemed to shoot left. It got me wondering why and have since asked a lot of people their opinion. The only somewhat logical response I got had to do with a lot of the American kids learning baseball first and the majority of them swinging right handed. Sounds good to me…..I guess. The other theory my coaching buddies came up with is that there were a lot of pure right handed goal scorers in NHL history. The reason could be that a right handed shot would normally be shooting to the far side of the net, which happens most times to be the goalies stick side, usually the weaker side for the goalie. Left shots normally shoot far side as well which turns out to be the goalies glove hand. (probably why I didn’t score more, I am a lefty…..)
But a lot still remained a mystery so I put the cracker jack research team from Platinum Hockey on the case to come up with some more information to try to figure things out. Here is what they came up with.
We decided to look at the top 10 players of all time. (this can be argued in another blog as well so dont get mad….)
1. Wayne Gretzky L
2. Bobby Orr  L
3. Mario Lemieux R
4. Gordie Howe R (but he could shoot pretty damn good Left as well)
5. Bobby Hull  L
6. Maurice Richard L
7. Jean Belliveau L
8. Mark Messier L
9. Steve Yzerman R
10. Ray Bourque L

So that is 7-3 lefties to righties unless you count Mr. Howe as a lefty as I do. 8-2.

Then we looked at the top Goal Scorers of all time

Top Goal  Scorers
1. Wayne Gretzky L
2. Gordie Howe R
3. Brett Hull R
4. Marcel Dionne R
5. Phil Esposito L
6. Mike Gartner R
7.Mark Messier L
8. Steve Yzerman R
9. Mario Lemieux R
10. Luc Robitaille L

Righties win that one 6-4……

So then we looked at the current breakdown of the NHL Players from the most represented countries as a percentage of which way they shoot.

Country Total Players Left Shots Right Shots % left shots (app.) % right shots(app.)
CAN 599 392 207 65.44% 34.55%
USA 250 136 114 54.40% 45.60%
CZE 50 31 19 62% 38%
DEU 13 11 1 84.61% 7.69%
FIN 39 32 7 82.05% 17.94%
RUS 37 27 10 72.97% 27.02%
SVK 19 16 3 84.21% 15.78%
SWE 68 57 11 83.82% 16.17%

So what did we learn?

1. It looks like there is not that much baseball in Europe……..that is about all I can figure out.

2. Crosby, left. Ovechkin right. Malkin left. Stamkos right….. the confusion continues.

3. I am pretty confident that Barack Obama shoots left and there is no doubt that Sarah Palin shoots Right……:)

 To Be Continued…….

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