Hi there,

Been following this site for a while, but first time I'm posting - great initiative & resource!

I am looking into ways of recording an ice hockey session - basically not a real ice hockey game, but where a handful of ice skaters will perform moves, that kind of thing. I'd like to capture as much different sounds as I can - skating, impacts of players / impacts into the walls, the puck hitting the net.

I don't have any experience actually with this kind of recording session. One idea is that it'd be nice to try and attach lav mics to player's skates, and perhaps taping a small recorder on their body as well - as long as we can ask them to do specific moves, otherwise either they break a leg or we break equipment...

I've been reading about body packs (wireless transmitters/receivers) but it seems that quality-wise these things are not too hot... but probably safest solution for attaching a recording device to a sportsman?

Shotgun mics to point towards the action seems like another obvious idea, but I'm wondering about indoor use of shotgun mics, I know this can create some strange artifacts.

Well - I just wanted to throw this out here and see if anybody has experience with something similar to this, and might perhaps have some tips.

Thanks! Daan

6 Answers 6


My most recent hockey recordings were for the movie Tooth Fairy starring The Rock Dwayne Johnson. I made significant improvements to the onboard skating by using the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid wireless and mounting them on the back of the skater's calves. The shin pads and socks created a draft from wind movement on the microphone which was good and the microphones were not ECU so they had a lot more natural sound and reverb. I prefer these skates to the Miracle skates.

I would also recommend recording in a smaller rink with shorter reverb times and less reflections, this allows sounds to remain somewhat close and clean without the muddying long reverbs of larger rinks.

Shut your lights off in the rink and go with emergency lights (no buzz). The compressor could be shut off but this is dependent on the age of the rink and compressors. Record at night to minimize traffic and plane noise bouncing around inside the rink. Different types of artificial ice sound different so I strongly recommend listening to the ice at the temperature you will record at (night or day).

Work with different sized skaters to get different types of skating sounds, a 250 lbs skater sounds different than a 130 lbs skater. Also record some figure skating for sweeteners those blades have more bite and can be valuable for accentuated sound design moments.

For shooting, get clean post, glass, net hits by doing very long hard wrist shots. You don't want the reverb of the shot to over power the net or post, which it will. Record slapshot like a gun shot and combine the sounds to build up the power of the shot.

I hope this helps, if you have any other questions I am happy to pass along what I know.

Rob Nokes http://www.sounddogs.com http://www.robnokes.com

  • Welcome to Social Sound Design, Rob!
    – Utopia
    Sep 22, 2010 at 22:23
  • I was wondering about this when I attended an ice hockey game recently - what a fantastic insight Sep 23, 2010 at 22:48
  • Hi Rob. Welcome to SSD. Great methods.
    – oinkaudio
    Oct 7, 2010 at 6:17

I record hockey fairly frequently, and I do all of the design work for the Dallas Stars.

Michael Raphael also records hockey here and there, and you may ping him for some advice as well.

If this is just general hockey coverage you're probably good with a nice shotgun, a good stereo recorder, and some wired lavs that can run up to portable recorders attached to the skaters. I'd advise against using wireless stuff if you plan on running 96k or above just because those things will mess with your frequency response.

You probably already know this, but your environment will be reverberant and noisy. The reverb is something you'll just have to love about the recordings, and the noise from the lights and AC can usually be dealt with in post, though you'll help yourself out with good technique.

In my experience doing mostly stylized promo type stuff, these are the things that are most useful:

  • ice skate hockey stop x 100
  • body check-into boards x 1000
  • body checks-open ice x 1000 (sometimes I use football hits as well)
  • puck shot hard off pipe (even works well for goals) x 100
  • slap shot x 100
  • catch puck with stick
  • goalie beavertailing (as in the end of a power play)
  • sticks bang on boards (as in the end of a fight)
  • just taking an old stick and slamming it flat onto the ice is cool and versatile
  • general scrimmage amb w no crowd is always useful to me
  • zamboni
  • period horn
  • goal horn

I exaggerate on the number of versions youll need, but really only by a little. :)

pro level skaters sound way more intense on the ice than amateurs. If you have access to a minor league team or an open practice this can be one of your greatest resources.

  • Would hate to have been the person being body checked 1,000 times.
    – Utopia
    Sep 22, 2010 at 20:11
  • Would it help also to go get some equipment from a used sports equipment store or something so you can do some foley? Seems like their equipment squeeks and movement would help sell it as well.
    – Utopia
    Sep 22, 2010 at 20:13

Here's a video that you may find interesting...


Rob Nokes has done some amazing work in this field. You should find the following video very helpful and inspiring:




Yeah, I was just about to write about Nokes. He pretty much has the definitive hockey collection at this point. He did all of the work for Miracle and a couple of figure skating films. He wired up a tremendous amount of different skaters and rent a rink in Manitoba for over a week to put together an insane collection of sounds. You'll see from those videos that he recorded in the dark to try and minimize the sound of the rink.


Thanks so much to everybody who responded here, I am simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of incredibly useful information shared by you all! Very much appreciated, I thought this question was going to be too specific, so I'm pleasantly surprised to have received all this great advice.

Regards, daan

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