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This City News Toronto segment claims that many ice hockey players have been sniffing smelling salts (based on ammonia carbonate) for a supposed performance boost. (They go on to quote an expert explaining there is no evidence for the boost.)

Now, you may have seen many Leaf players using smelling salts to try and give themselves a bit of a boost on the bench. It is something even the younger players are now embracing.

Is this a widespread practice as claimed? Is it some some type of a joke or hoax?

Screenshot of man sniffing

  • I can tell you that the video isn't a joke. It's "the" news/tv station of Toronto and they're legitimately reporting this story. Whether the story is true or not might require some digging, but since they're showing lots of hockey players actually snorting the stuff on the bench, I think the video itself answers your question. – user34380 Jun 14 '16 at 12:46
  • @TechnikEmpire sniffing it for the sake of the TV report/news is one thing and smelling it during the real game another. – Grasper Jun 14 '16 at 13:22
  • At 22 seconds that Nazem Kadri in-game sniffing the salts. Are you saying that a pro hockey player is snorting them in a real game just to fake this for the fake news report? I don't get your logic. The video you post yourself shows several NHL players in real games sniffing the salts. – user34380 Jun 14 '16 at 13:24
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    Why does this question contain a photo of an American football player? – jwodder Jun 14 '16 at 14:25
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    Your question should reflect that and frankly if you're looking for a universal then I think the question is, as almost always, no. It's like asking for a universal on whether or not all hockey players stretch their hams, or if all hockey players double tape their handles for a better grip. – user34380 Jun 14 '16 at 14:47
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Yes, according the Sports Illustrated article Whiff 'n poof: NHLers still swear by smelling salts

Article says smelling salts are used before every game.

The ballet starts before each NHL game, once the last anthem notes trail off and the house lights turn on. Watch next time. The choreography is easy to learn.

On the bench, trainers and equipment managers pass out packets no bigger than Tootsie Rolls, tossing others to players out of reach. The players then squeeze the packet, which is sheathed in cotton for protection, and crack the glass vial inside. In case they need help, two arrows on the label point to a dot in the middle. “CRUSH ONCE, USE AND DISCARD,” it says, then below that, “CRUSH HERE.”

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  • Thanks. I have been a fan of ice hockey since I was born and never knew this. Crazy. – Grasper Jun 14 '16 at 17:19
  • I didn't know either, but I haven't gone to a pro hockey game since the Baltimore Skipjacks moved. – DavePhD Jun 14 '16 at 17:38

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