Ice Hockey Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Ice Hockey, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

How to Play Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice, where players on ice skates use sticks to hit a rubber puck into their opponent's goal.

Ice Hockey History

An early form of hockey was thought to have been played by the Mi'kmaq First Nations in Eastern Canada in the 1800s. The first recorded hockey game took place between British soldiers stationed in Kingston and Halifax in the mid 1850's. The modern game of hockey evolved in Montreal. The first known hockey rules were established by students from Montreal's McGill University in the 1870s. In addition, the first indoor game and first organized hockey club took place at McGill University. In 1888, the new Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston watched the Montreal Winter Carnival tournament and was impressed with the game of hockey. He decided that there needed to be a trophy to recognize the best team, so he bought a decorative bowl. This became known as the Stanley Cup and it is now given out to the championship team in the National Hockey League each year.

Professional ice hockey started in the early 1900s. The National Hockey League began in Canada in 1917, and expanded to the United States in 1924. Professional leagues developed later on in Europe. Today, there are professional leagues in most countries in Europe. Hockey is recognized as the national sport of Canada.

Ice Hockey Rules

Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink between two teams of six players. Most North American rinks are 200 ft by 85 ft. The corners of the rink are rounded, and the rink is surrounded by 40 inch boards. There are two goals at either end six feet wide by four feet high. The object of the game is to score goals by using wooden sticks to hit a rubber puck into the goal. The team with the most goals at the end of three 20 minute periods wins. In the situation of a tie at the end regulation, an extra period is added. The game is played to sudden death, where the first team to score wins.

A faceoff in the middle circle takes place at the beginning of each period and after every goal. A faceoff consists of the referee dropping the puck in between two opposing players. The game is restarted with a faceoff every stoppage of play. Stoppage of play includes, the goal keeper stopping and holding the puck, the puck going out of the rink, an off sides call, icing, or a penalty. Off sides occurs when a player is in the other teams zone before the puck. Icing is called when a player hits the puck from his side of the red line past the other team's goal keeper. After a stoppage of play a faceoff takes place in the nearest circle.

A penalty is awarded to a player for holding, interference, hooking, cross checking, and high sticking, and results in time in the penalty box. Penalties range from two to five minutes. During this time the opposing team enjoys a man advantage. This time is referred to as a power play.

Ice Hockey Tips

Good hockey players are good ice skaters. Players should feel comfortable on the ice and be able to stop and start quickly, and skate backwards. Players can work on their shots by shooting the puck at targets such as cans or cones.

Ice Hockey Equipment

Hockey is played with a vulcanized rubber puck. Every player needs hockey skates and a hockey stick. Since hockey is a full contact sport, players' need to wear protective equipment including helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, mouth guards, protective gloves, heavily padded shorts (known as hockey pants), jock straps, shin pads, and neck protectors. Goaltenders (or Goalies) have a special goaltenders stick, and usually wear a neck guard, chest protector, blocker, catch glove, and leg pads.

CCM and Easton are popular equipment manufacturers for the sport.