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Shea Weber winding up for a slapshot.

A slapshot (or slap shot) in ice hockey is the hardest shot. It has four stages which are executed in one fluid motion:

  1. The player winds up his hockey stick by raising it behind his body, sometimes raising the blade to shoulder height or higher.
  2. Next the player violently "slaps" the ice slightly behind the puck and uses his weight to bend the stick, storing energy in it like a spring. It is this bending of the stick that gives the slapshot its amazing speed. Just like a bow and arrow, the stick's desire to return to being straight is transferred to the puck, giving it much more speed than just hitting it alone could do.
  3. When the face of the stick blade strikes the puck, the player rolls his wrists and shifts his weight so that the energy stored in the stick is released through the puck.
  4. Finally, the player follows through, ending up with the stick pointed towards the desired target.

The slapshot is harder than other shots, and because of the violent motion involved, somewhat less accurate. It also takes longer to execute; a player usually cannot take a slapshot while under any significant pressure from an opposing player because the opponent could easily interfere during the windup. The slapshot is most commonly used by a defenseman at the point, especially during a power play, although a forward will sometimes find an opportunity to use it. At the yearly NHL all-star "hardest shot" skill competition, the winning slapshot typically propels the puck at around 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour). Zdeno Chara earned the record for fastest slapshot during the 2009 NHL All-Star Skills Competition with a 105.4 mph shot using a carbon fiber stick (newer carbon sticks are lighter, allowing for faster movement and thus produce faster shots). The invention of the slapshot is credited to Bernard Boom Boom Geoffrion of the Montreal Canadiens, hence the nickname, although American hockey player John Mayasich had been using the slapshot since the early 1950s.

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