I've always wondered why some creative hockey team doesn't find a sumo wrestler, strap a pair of size XXXXXXXL skates to his feet, and tell him "sit there in front of the goal". Simply based on their size they should cover most (if not all) of the goal, making it all but impossible for the other team to score.

Why not?

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    For the record, fat doesn't necessarily mean "completely unable to move". I picked Sumo Wrestlers as my example not just because of their immense size, but also because they are in very good shape physically and are strong and surprisingly agile. Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 3:19
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    BTW this seems to be the first question on this site which is (at least marginally) related to sumo.
    – Martin
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 8:04
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    @Martin Only because the comparison was made to the size of sumo wrestlers. This question has nothing to do with sumo.
    – user527
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:46
  • Probably because agility beats out size when it come to goalie abilities. Sumo wrestlers are certainly agile for their size but just their weight alone would make it hard to drop to a butterfly and back up 10 times a minute.
    – DA.
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 17:09

4 Answers 4


Sports science actually "tested" this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP8ZVWiZUMA. They grabbed a professional sumo wrestler and dressed him up in goalie gear (even managing to put his leg pads on the wrong legs). They had NHL player George Parros shoot on him; they note in the video that Parros is not really known for scoring. This is true, and any average NHL scorer would demolish the goalie even more than Parros did.

The fact of the matter comes down to how accurate NHL players truly are with their shots. The puck is incredibly small and can find even the smallest holes when on the stick of a sharpshooter. Goalies need to be agile and mobile, and even when they had two large people in net at the end of the video, Parros was able to snipe the "5 hole" of a mega-goalie.

  • I do not consider that Youtube video to be a valid test. In a hockey game, there are defensemen that stand in the way of shots. Parros would not have had that much success if there were some defenders in the way. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 6:30
  • Also taking joe blow sumo wrestler and acting like they would be top 10% of guys that size is ludicrous. What a dumb video. This is like dude perfect fake.
    – Coach-D
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:20

First goalies must be able to skate outside of the net to control the puck for their team 10-20 times a game. Can you imagine putting in a player that led to 10 less possessions?

Second they may take up 50% of the goal compared to 25% of a normal human (given that the person isn't morbidly obese and bed ridden). But they won't be able to move at all. If they stand up chances are they let up most shots (ice level). If they play on the ground then any flip shot is a goal.

Third would be player safety. Given that your goalie will probably never be able to control the puck on shots, guys would just tee off on the guy all game. It will probably be close to impossible to pad the big guy and stay within NHL equipment guidelines (leg pads are restricted in width).

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    Why do you assume that they would be unable to deflect flip shots or skate outside of the net? Sumo wrestlers are a prime example of athletes who are pretty fast and agile, despite their bulk and weight.
    – Peteris
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 23:46
  • @Peteris - They are on skates. If they could run/walk then it would be part of a discussion. But on skates no way. Even if you got that rare sumo wrestler that could stand up on skates for more than 5 minutes, how long do you think it would take them to get back in goal after coming out 20 feet? On the flip shots they can if standing, but then how do they protect ice level?
    – Coach-D
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 3:40

The subject of really fat hockey goalies was actually covered in the book "Andy Roddick Beat Me with a Frying Pan" by Todd Gallagher, which answered a lot of drunken-bar-discussion type questions like that. It seems like the primary concerns would be (a) safety of the goalie, (b) the ability of that goalie to pass a physical, and (c) a sense of fair play. From an excerpt from the book:

if there was a team that was more concerned with winning than with their reputation, and if they could find a genetic marvel, a man pushing 2,000 pounds who's fatter than anyone the world has ever seen, who could survive making it onto the ice and withstand the pain of frozen hockey pucks being fired off his exposed body, and if that team could then win a legal battle against the NHL, and if the players didn't go on strike over the matter or beat the rotund goalie to death on the ice, that historically obese man could be a cost-efficient and effective goaltender.


Hockey Goals are 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall. 24sqft in area makes it impossible for a player to completely cover the goal. Even the most morbidly obese people are not 6 feet wide. Covering the entire goal is impossible, which is why quickness, flexibility, and positioning are the skills most often found in goalies.

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