The official size of an NHL ice rink is 26m x 61m.
That means you don’t have an awful lot of space out there. Add in the fact that there are nine other players, four referees and two goalies (all usually 6ft+) means you have not much space at all.
You have be quick. You don’t have the time to get those long strides in. It’s about being first. If you aren’t first, you aren’t getting the puck. It’s about speed.
You don’t have time in a game of hockey to build your way into it. There isn’t a runway to get to top speed. You have to get to that speed as fast as you can.
You have to have a quick start.
You have to practice this quick start over and over again. It isn’t something you can just do right off the bat.
When you were born your first steps were celebrated. They were the most important of your life.
In hockey it’s the same. Your first steps are all that counts.