The best source of hydration is a hotly debated topic in the hockey world. There many great options on the market, including Gatorade, Vitamin Water and good old H2O. However, I recommend thinking outside the box when it comes to hydration.
Regular water is difficult to beat as a hydration agent. Since our bodies are composed mostly of water, it's not hard to see why. But we don't only lose water when we sweat. We also excrete electrolytes (including sodium), which are critical for muscle function. (See Hydration Facts Athletes Need to Know.)
To counter this, you need to replenish electrolyte stores throughout the game. Many professional players have turned to Pedialyte to complete their hydration.
Yes, Pedialyte, the drink designed for kids. It is replete with electrolytes, helping hockey players—who typically sweat heavily under 20 pounds of equipment—maintain their performance over three periods.
I do not recommend cracking open a bottle and drinking the whole thing. You will end up with a terrible stomach cramp or worse. My suggestion is to take a 50/50 approach—combining Pedialyte and water.
According to a case study conducted by the University of Guelph, an elite hockey player loses roughly 1.8 liters of fluid per hour of practice. So, optimally, he or she should consume .9 liters of Pedialyte and .9 liters of water each hour.
Hockey hydration supplements that introduce electrolytes into the body are great during a game, and especially important an hour before a game. Whatever you choose to drink, first and foremost, ensure that you remain hydrated, and choose something that will replace lost electrolytes.