Goals Against Average measures the average number of goals the goalie allows for each regulation game. It is adjusted for the minutes the goalie plays.
A lower GAA is a sign of a goalie that allows few goals during a game. A higher GAA is a sign of a goalie that allows too many goals during a game.
Formula – How to calculate GAA
GAA = (Goals Against ÷ Minutes Played) x Regulation Game Length in Minutes
- “Goals Against” are the number of goals recorded while the goalie is on the ice. Include all goals against during regulation and overtime play. Do not include goals against during a shootout or when the net is empty. The NHL and IIHF Rule Books contain rules on goals.
- “Minutes Played” are the total number of minutes played by the goalie. Include overtime play. Do not include the time the goalie is playing during a shootout, or when the net is empty and the goalie is off the ice.
- “Game Length” is the regulation game length in the league the goalie is playing. In the NHL and the IIHF the regulation game length is 60 minutes. Recreational and minor leagues may be less.
A goalie was in net for 637 minutes, allowed 32 goals in that time, and the league’s regulation time is 60 minutes per game.
(32 goals against) x (60-minute game length) = 1,920.
1,920 divided by 637 minutes played = 3.01.
Therefore, this goalie’s GAA is 3.01
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you Calculate Goals Against Average in Hockey?
Divide “Goals Against” by “Minutes Played” then multiply that number by the number of minutes of regulation time in a game (usually 60 minutes, minor leagues may be less).
What is “GAA” in hockey?
“GAA” in hockey stands for “Goals Against Average.”H
What is a good GAA for a hockey player?
The NHL player with the best GAA of all time (Alec Connell – 1924 – 1937) had a career GAA of 1.916. The 50th best GAA of all time (Tommy Salo, 1994 – 2004) had a career GAA of 2.553. The 100th best GAA of all time (Johan Hedberg, 2000 – 2013) had a career GAA of 2.85. The 150th best GAA of all time (Gerry Desjardins, 1968-1978) had a career GAA of 3.290. All statistics from Hockey-Reference.com’s all time GAA leaders.
How long is league regulation time in hockey?
The NHL, all major hockey leagues, international tournaments, and European leagues have a 60-minute regulation time with 3 periods of 20 minutes teach.
Atom, Bantam, PeeWee, and Midget leagues have regulation times less than 60 minutes. 3 periods of 10-15 minutes (for a total regulation time of 30-45 minutes) are common in these leagues.
Sources and more resources
- Wikipedia – Goals Against Average (GAA) & Goaltender– Wikipedia’s definition of Goals Against Average and a Goaltender.
- Rule Books for the NHL and the IIHF include definitions for terminology such as “goals.”
- NHL Goalie Statistics from the NHL, TSN, ESPN, SportsNet, and Hockey-Reference.com, and QuantHockey (Includes All-Time Leaders).
- Dummies.com – How hockey works – A simple introduction to hockey.
- Hockey Canada – Answers to questions asked by hockey parents – A large FAQ on hockey and playing the game. More than most general FAQ’s, this page covers many of the “behind the scenes” questions about playing hockey.
- The Hockey Writers – Hockey 101: A beginner’s guide to hockey – A very extensive introduction to hockey. Starts at the basics and ends with advanced hockey statistics. Includes everything in between.