As the new hockey season (and so the post-game interview season) arrives, it is important to refresh our understanding of hockey players’ special metaphorical math in regard to percentages. In standard, boring old mathematics, that is, “percentage” is up to a maximum of 100, but hockey players (as well as other athletes) use an alternate system known as “emphasis percentage.”

You see, in reality, it’s actually quite difficult to always give 100% effort (that’s a sure way to burn one’s self out), but nor is it very safe to admit to the picky journalists that one gave, say, 80% on a given night. Thus, a special alternate system of percentage was invented just for athletes and motivational speakers. Emphasis percentage works exactly like regular percentage, except that, instead of counting the number of points within a 100, E% has a maximum total of 150.

Thus, after a game, an athlete can happily, and honestly, state that they put in “120%,” which looks great for emphasizing that they tried really hard, but doesn’t provoke nit-picky questions from reporters about why they didn’t give their maximum.

If you’re curious, however, to know what an athlete actually put forth, just remember the exchange rate from E% to regular % is .67. If in doubt, here’s a handy chart:

**Regular % → Emphasis %
** 73%

**→**110 E%

80% → 120 E%

100% → 150 E%

Note: 110 is the E% minimum.

If, however, you ever hear someone claim that they gave 200%, don’t believe them: it’s impossible.

*P.S. Of course, not everyone agrees with my assessment of hockey percentages:*

*P.P.S. Also, to further prepare you for the hockey cliche season, consider this:*

Brilliant decrypting of this hidden code, bravo!

Does this mean you are ineligible for membership in various hockey clubs for having spilled their most intimate secrets?

Thank you for your concern, Tarrin, but the situation is safe. You see, emphasis-math is not a secret, it is simply a (previously) unwritten understanding between hockey players and hockey journalists. That is, hockey reporters have agreed not to undermine hockey players’ cliches and in exchange they will receive the same consideration when they ask cliched questions of hockey players. Neither side minds if we the audience are aware of the formula behind their language so long as those on camera can maintain the pretense of original phrasing without interruption from those sharing time in the spotlight.

In case I’m not the only one who had trouble finally understanding Seth’s reply, I’ll try to rephrase it in a more easily understood manner:

Emphasis-math is not 100% secret, however players and journalists have a 110% clear understanding of each other’s percent vocabulary. Furthermore, their mutual objective in providing their viewers with 120% of the entertainment of any other television genre is satisfied only when both parties agree to follow the script 130%. It is not calamitous if an outsider deciphers 200% of their 50% secret code, so long as the show still exhibits 100% of their confidence in the 150% accuracy of their reporting.

Nicely put, E.S.! (I guess all your gratuitous standing is good for the meditation. ;)) You make great percentage points; in fact, I only barely put them better myself.

E-S: LIKE.