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The Pulse is a quick trip around sports asking Game Operations personnel a topical question regarding their production or event. We then bulk the answers together in an effort to showcase what's happening around the country at different levels and in different sports.

PULSE: Chuck-a-Puck
Chuck-a-Puck is promotion for hockey events, commonly done at Minor League Hockey games. It is popular because it not only provides an entertaining and interactive fan contest, but it can be a great revenue driver for teams. It is also popular sponsor inventory.

Teams sell numbered soft pucks at the event, typically for $1. At the point of sale teams record the puck number and the fans name/contact info. At a determined point during the event fans are directed to throw their pucks onto the ice at a target or targets placed on the ice. Pucks that land on the targets win prizes and are identified by the numbers.

Pucks are then collected and resold at the next event. Because pucks are reused, this creates a nice revenue opportunity for teams. Sponsor opportunities include naming sponsor, prize targets and even clean-up.

In this month's PULSE we have asked several teams to answer some basic questions to show how they use Chuck-a-Puck.

How many seasons has your team used Chuck-a-Puck?

Less than 3 seasons - 0%
3-6 seasons - 43%
More than 7 seasons - 57%
Our poll was sent primarily to teams we knew used Chuck-a-Puck, so the results a skewed a little towards teams who use this promotion.   However, it is hard to find minor league hockey teams who don't use it at all. 

How many games per season do you use Chuck-a-Puck?


Every Game - 71%
About half of the games - 14%
At about 25% of our games - 14%
Less than 10 times per year - 0%
Due to the revenue and the goal of training fans to take part every game, most teams find a spot for Chuck-a-Puck at every game.  Several teams who do not noted that they wish they had more opportunity, but had an otherwise full schedule of promotions that limited how many games they could use.

When do you typically do Chuck-a-Puck?

Post-game - 14%
1st Intermission     - 0%
2nd Intermission - 57%
Varies - 29%
Post game usually offers the best window for teams, since the clean-up can take time (and obviously you can't hold up the game to clean up pucks).  Teams noted that post-game can be late and some fans leave early. 
Also, post-game Chuck-a-Puck sees a slight decrease in puck sales and a slight increase in "lost pucks".

What color pucks do you use?


Black - 57%
Red - 29%
Orange - 0%
Blue - 0%
Other - 14%

Black and Red are the most popular.  Some teams are hesitant to throw black pucks because they are harder to see and can be confused with hard pucks.
The Store on offers all of these colors, in blank or imprinted pucks.  Our store sales show more of split between red and black than our poll did.  We also have white pucks, but generally advise against them since they are hard to see on the ice after they are thrown and it lessens the visual impact of the toss.

Do you have an imprinted logo on the puck?

NO- 71%
YES - 29%

We often tell clients not to imprint pucks, since that can increase "lost pucks" (pucks that don't get thrown).  Sponsor logos are often used with success, but imprinting with your team logo is discouraged since it tends to create an inexpensive souvenir and lost puck percentages are much higher. 

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