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Hockey is a sport that is not only one of the major sports in the United States, but also extremely popular throughout the world. Hockey can be classified as a family of sports because of the diverse forms that the game has evolved into worldwide. The competition is between two teams which try to maneuver a ball, or a hard, round disc called a puck, into the opponent's net or goal, using a hockey stick.

The most popular form of the game is ice hockey. It is one of the more physical sports, and one of the four major professional sports in North America. The sport itself is played on numerous levels, including men and women's NCAA hockey. It originated as a pastime in Canada, but has become popular in almost all parts of the world, especially the colder areas, where hockey can be played outdoors on ice. The sport's popularity in the United States is concentrated in certain regions, notably the Northeast, the Midwest, and Alaska.

All versions of hockey require hard work, discipline, and teamwork to succeed.

Field hockey

Main article: Field Hockey
Field hockey game at Melbourne University.

Field hockey is played on gravel, natural grass, sand-based or water-based artificial turfs, with a small, hard ball. The game is popular among both males and females in many countries of the world, particularly in Europe, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Asia. In most countries, the game is played between single-sex sides, although it can be played by mixed-sex sides. In the United States and Canada it is played predominantly by women.

The 116-member governing body is the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Field Hockey has been played at each summer Olympic Games since 1908 (excluding 1924).

Modern field hockey sticks are J-shaped and constructed of a composite of wood, glass fiber or carbon fiber (sometimes both) and have a curved hook at the playing end, a flat surface on the playing side and curved surface on the rear side.

There are 4,000-year-old drawings in Egypt of a game resembling field hockey being played. While modern field hockey appeared in the mid-eighteenth century in England, primarily in schools, it was not until the first half of the nineteenth century that it became firmly established. The first club was created in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London.

  • Field Hockey Glossary
  • Artificial Turf: Artificial turf was first used for Olympic field hockey at the 1976 Games in Montreal. Today all international matches are played on a synthetic surface.
  • Ball: Made of solid plastic, weighing between five and a half ounces and five and three-quarters ounces with a circumference of eight and thirteen-sixteenths inches to nine and a quarter inches. Usually white in color, other colors may be used as agreed.
  • Bully: A neutral re-start to play following a stop in the action, much like a face-off in ice hockey. The ball is placed on the ground between two players, one from each team. The players alternate taps to the ground with taps to the flat side of their opponent's stick, three times, before going for the ball.
  • Center pass: A pass from the center of the field used to start the game or restart the action following halftime or a score.
  • The "D": Slang for the striking circle. The D-shaped area formed by the 16-yard semicircle line of the striking circle joining the goal line.
  • Dangerous Play: Any action that could result in danger or injury to the player or another player. Dangerous play could include a raised ball, am illegal tackle or playing the ball while lying on the ground.
  • Misconduct: Offenses such as rough or dangerous play, intentional offenses, time-wasting or any bad behavior. In addition to any penalty, umpires may issue warnings (Green Card) or suspension (Yellow or Red Card) for misconduct.
  • Obstruction: An infraction for shielding the ball from an opponent with a player's body or stick. All players must have an equal chance to gain control of the ball as it is dribbled or passed down the field.
  • Penalty Corner: A free hit awarded to an offensive player from a point on the goal line least ten yards from the nearest goal post. One attacking player hits the ball to a teammate just outside the striking circle line. No shot on goal may be taken until the ball is stopped or come to rest on the ground outside the circle. All attackers must be outside the circle before the hit is taken. A maximum of five defenders may be behind the goal line while the remaining defenders must be positioned beyond the center line.
  • Scoop: The lifting of the ball off the ground by placing the head of the stick under the ball and shoveling the ball forward.
  • Striking Circle: A semicircle measured out 16 yards from each goal line. All goals must be struck from within this circle.
  • Watered-Down: The soaking of the artificial surface in all international matches. A wet turf "holds" the ball to the ground better than dry turf and it is better for the health of the athletes.

Ice hockey

Main article: Ice hockey
The Barrie Colts applying pressure at the Brampton Battalion net in an ice hockey game


Ice hockey is played on a large flat area of ice, using a three inch (76.2 mm) diameter vulcanized rubber disc called a puck. This puck is often frozen before high-level games to decrease the amount of bouncing and friction on the ice. The game is contested between two teams of skaters. The game is played all over North America, Europe and in many other countries around the world to varying extent.

The 64-member governing body is the International Ice Hockey Federation, (IIHF). Men's ice hockey has been played at the Winter Olympics since 1924, and was in the 1920 Summer Olympics. Women's ice hockey was added to the Winter Olympics in 1998. North America's National Hockey League (NHL) is the strongest professional ice hockey league, drawing top ice hockey players from around the globe. The NHL rules are slightly different from those used in Olympic ice hockey–the periods are 20 minutes long, counting downwards. There are three periods. In some situations, the puck is frozen prior to the start of a game to limit bouncing.

Ice hockey sticks are long L-shaped sticks made of wood, graphite, or composites with a blade at the bottom that can lie flat on the playing surface when the stick is held upright and can curve either way as to help a left or right-handed player gain an advantage. Most companies that produce sticks have sponsored players and in return, use their custom curve on publicly retailed sticks. To shoot with a left curved stick, the stick is held with the right hand at the top and the left hand partway down the shaft. To shoot with a right curved stick, the stick is held with the left hand at the top and the right hand partway down the shaft. Most people who are right handed shoot with a left curved stick, and most people who are left handed shoot with a right curved stick. This keeps their dominant hand at the top of the stick, allowing more control. Sticks also have flex numbers, a number on the stick that can go from zero to 100. It indicates how much the stick will bend before breaking when pressed on the ice. This flexing is what enables slapshots.

There are early representations and reports of hockey-type games being played on ice in the Netherlands, and reports from Canada from the beginning of the nineteenth century, but the modern game was initially organized by students at McGill University, Montreal in 1875 who, by two years later, codified the first set of ice hockey rules and organized the first teams.

Some notable players in ice hockey have included Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, and Dino Lelis.

  • Ice Hockey Glossary
  • Empty-net goal: A goal scored against a team that has pulled the goalie.
  • Dead puck: A puck that flies out of the rink or that a player has caught in his hand.
  • Falling on the puck:

A minor penalty, which occurs when a player other than the goalie closes his hand on the puck, deliberately falls on the puck, or gathers the puck under his body while lying on the ice.

  • Forecheck: To check or harass an opponent who has the puck in his defensive zone and keep the opponents in their end of the rink while trying to regain control of the puck; usually done by the forwards.
  • Freeze the puck: To hold the puck against the boards with the skate or stick in order to stop play briefly or gain a face-off.
  • Hat trick: Originally it referred to a player scoring three goals in a row, but the term has been broadened to include any player scoring three goals in a game.
  • Power play: An attack by a team at full strength against a team playing one man (or two men) shorthanded because of a penalty (or penalties) which resulted in a player on the opposing team receiving penalty-box time.

Other forms of Hockey

Road hockey

Another popular form of hockey is road hockey, sometimes known as street hockey. While this is a similar variation to field hockey, there are distinct differences. The first of which is the minimal contact allowed in road hockey, and the limited use of protective gear. Although there is still contact, it is not as fierce as in field or ice hockey. There is no bodychecking allowed in this sport.

Roller hockey (inline)

Inline hockey is a variation of roller hockey very similar to ice hockey, from which it is derived. Inline hockey is played by two teams, consisting of four skaters and one goalie, on a dry rink divided into two halves by a center line, with one net at each end of the rink. The game is broken down into four 15-minute periods with a variation of the ice hockey off-side rule. Icings are also called, but are usually referred to as illegal clearing. For rink dimensions and an overview of the rules of the game, see IIHF Inline Rules. Some leagues and competitions do not follow the IIHF regulations, in particular USA Inline and Canada Inline[1].

Roller hockey (Quad)

Roller hockey (Quad) Roller Hockey is the overarching name for a roller sport that has existed long before inline skates were invented. Roller hockey has been played in 60 countries worldwide and thus has many names worldwide. Sometimes the sport is called Quad Hockey, Hóquei em Patins, International Style Ball hockey, Rink hockey and Hardball hockey depending on the part of the world it is played. Roller Hockey was a demonstration rollersport in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.

Unicycle hockey

Unicycle Hockey

Unicycle hockey is similar to roller or inline hockey; however, each player must be mounted on their unicycle—with both feet on the pedal—to play at the ball. The ball is of a similar weight and bounce to a "dead" tennis ball and sticks are identical to roller hockey sticks. Each team consists of four players and one goalie, and substitution is allowed at any point in the game. Two common penalties are SUB (Stick Under Bike) and SIB (Stick In Bike) and result in a free shot being awarded to the player that was fouled. In addition, players must also keep one hand on the end of the stick at all times and never allow the head of the stick to be lifted above waist height.

All forms of hockey

Other games derived from hockey or its predecessors include the following:

  • Ball hockey is played in a gym using sticks and a ball, often a tennis ball with the fuzz removed.
  • Air hockey is played indoors with a puck on an air-cushion table.
  • Bandy is played with a ball on a football-sized ice arena, typically outdoors. It is in some ways field hockey played on ice, but bandy has in fact more in common with association football (soccer).
  • Beach Hockey was a professional league that played for three seasons at Huntington Beach, California. The game was played on inline skates at a rink. The league was canceled after ESPN stopped funding them due to low ratings.
  • Broomball is played on an ice hockey rink, but with a ball instead of a puck and a "broom" (actually a stick with a small plastic implement on the end) in place of the ice hockey stick. Instead of using skates, special shoes are used that have very soft rubbery soles to maximize grip while running around.
  • Bubble hockey is played in a plastic sealed table with the 'players' being moved by the use of pushing and turning rods.
  • Floorball, or floor hockey, is a form of hockey played in a gymnasium or in sport halls using a plastic puck or hollow ball, and plastic sticks.
  • Foot hockey is played using a bald tennis ball or rolled up pair of socks and using only the feet. It is popular at elementary schools in the winter.
  • Gym hockey is a form of ice hockey played in a gymnasium. It uses sticks with foam ends and a foam ball or a plastic puck.
  • Hurling and Camogie are Irish games bearing some resemblance to—but notable differences from—hockey.
  • Indoor field hockey is an indoor variation of field hockey.
  • Mini hockey (Popularly known as "Mini-Sticks") is a form of hockey which is played in basements of houses. Players get down on their knees, using a miniature plastic stick, usually about 15 inches (38 cm) long and a small blue ball or a soft, fabric covered mini puck. They shoot into miniature goals as well. This is popular throughout North America, though it has not yet made the jump to Europe. In England this refers to a seven-a-side version of Field Hockey, played on an area equivalent to half a normal pitch for younger players
  • Polo is a form of hockey played mounted on horseback.
  • PowerHockey is a form of hockey for persons requiring the use of an electric (power) wheelchair in daily life. PowerHockey is a competitive sports opportunity for the physically disabled.
  • Ringette is an ice hockey variant that was designed for female players; it uses a straight stick and a rubber ring in place of a puck. Note: Ringette distances itself from hockey as it has its own set of rules and is closely related to a mix of lacrosse and basketball.
  • Rinkball is a Scandinavian team sport, played in an ice hockey rink with a ball.
  • Rossall Hockey is a variation played at Rossall School on the sea shore in the winter months. Its rules are a mix of field hockey, Rugby and the Eton Wall Game.
  • Skater hockey is a variant of inline hockey, played with a ball.
  • Sledge hockey is a form of ice hockey played by the disabled. The players sit on sleds, and push themselves up and down the ice with picks on the butt end of their shortened hockey sticks. The game is played with many of the same rules as regular ice hockey.
  • Spongee is a cross between ice hockey and broomball and is most popular in Manitoba, Canada. A stick and puck are used as in hockey (the puck is a softer version called a "sponge puck"), and the same soft-soled shoes used in broomball are worn. The rules are basically the same as ice hockey, but one variation has an extra player on the ice called a "rover."
  • Table hockey is played indoors with a table-top game.
  • Underwater hockey is played on the bottom of a swimming pool.
  • Nok Hockey A table-top version of hockey played with no defense and a small block in front of the goal.

General Hockey Terms

Injury potential penalties Injury potential penalties include butt ending, checking from behind, head butting, spearing, board checking, charging, cross checking, elbowing/kneeing, high sticking, holding the face mask, slashing, and roughing. A linesman may report these infractions occurring behind the play to the referee (following the next stoppage of play) if the referee did not see them.

Interference Making body contact with an opponent who does not have possession of the puck. Interference is also called when a player is standing in the crease or otherwise makes contact with the goaltender.

One-timer Shooting the puck immediately upon receiving it without stopping it first. A one-timer is an effective way to beat the goalie before he can slide from one side of the crease to another.

Penalty killing When a team is shorthanded and attempts to prevent the opposition from scoring, this activity is known as "penalty killing."

Power play When a team has more players on the ice than the opposition due to one or more penalties against the opposing team.

Red line The line that divides the rink into two equal parts. This area is center ice.

Shoot-out Some minor and international leagues refine the overtime situation by having their teams play a five-minute sudden death period, and if no one scores, the game is decided by a shoot-out. Each team picks five players, and each one of them takes a penalty shot on the other team's goalie, skating in by themselves with the puck from center ice and trying to score. Whichever team scores more wins.

Sniper A player who is a pure goal scorer and who doesn't hit other players or the boards all that much.

Stanley Cup The trophy awarded annually to the NHL champion after a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Championship Series.

  • Wrist shot

A wrist shot is used to shoot the puck off the blade of the stick with a flicking motion of the wrist.

  • Zamboni

The vehicle used to prepare the rink's ice surface before the game and after each period. The Zamboni scrapes a thin layer off the ice, heats the ice, and puts down a fresh layer of heated water that freezes to form a new layer of ice.


  1. Canada Inline, Canada Inline. Retrieved March 24, 2008.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Hammond, Tim, Dave King. Sports. New York: Knopf, Distributed by Random House, 1988. ISBN 0394896165
  • Brown, A. Johnatha. Hockey. Milwaukee, WI : Weekly Reader Early Learning, 2005. ISBN 0836843401
  • Johnstone, Robb. Hockey. Mankato, MN: Weigl Publishers, 2001. ISBN 1930954158

External links

All links retrieved January 11, 2018.

Field hockey

Ice hockey

Roller hockey (Inline)



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