I just want to say thanks to FTB-n, tolusina and NorthStar for all the advice. The forum community here is very helpful and the primary reason I frequent this site. I just wanted post an update, I am currently shooting at a Hockey Tourney fundraiser for the LNHL in Ontario and have swapped my 7D for my wife's 6D. I am applying the advice you all provided and am having much improved results in acquiring more "keeper" photos.
Once again, thanks for the advice and I have two more days hockey photography to put to practice!
good improvements Pakneh....make sure you look at the image in post editing for ways to improve the image...boosting exposure usually helps with hockey to see their faces a bit better.
it looks like you're really in a dark ice arena if you're shooting at iso8000....tough conditions.
i took the liberty (i hope you don't take offense) to show you what I would do with the last image...
straighten..cropped...add exp...a little contrast..sharpening...added some light to the players face...and noise reduction.
obviously i'm just working with a small jpeg file and would be better with RAW.
unless you're planning to print it out in a larger size(rare now days) don't be afraid to crop it tighter to bring us closer to the action. with sports, there's a reason why people pay more for the front row.
looking forward to seeing more!