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Field hockey   Ice hockey   Street Hockey   Roller hockey (inline)  
Other forms of hockey
Roller hockey (quad) Unicycle hockey

Hockey is any of a family of sports in which two teams compete by trying to maneuver a ball, or a hard, round disc called a puck, into the opponent's net or goal, using a hockey stick. The dominant version of hockey in a particular region tends to be known simply as hockey, other forms being more fully qualified.


Field hockey

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

The governing body is the 116-member International Hockey Federation (FIH). Field Hockey has been played at each summer Olympic Games since 1908 (except 1924). Modern field hockey sticks are J-shaped and constructed of a composite of wood, glass fibre or carbon fibre (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 4000-year-old drawings in Egypt of a game resembling field hockey being played. While modern field hockey appeared in the mid 18th century in England, primarily in schools, it was not until the first half of the 19th century that it became firmly established. The first club was created in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London. Field Hockey is the National Game of India and Pakistan.back top

Ice hockey

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. It is the most popular sport in Canada, Finland and in Sweden.

The governing body is the 64-member 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.

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, legally, as to help a left- or right-handed player gain an advantage. Variations in curves include its lie and its curve type. 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 ranging upward from 0. It indicates how much the stick will bend before breaking when pressed on the ice. The higher the number is, the more pressure it is able to withstand. This flexing is what enables slap shots.

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.back top

Street Hockey

Another form of popular hockey is Street Hockey, sometimes known as road hockey. This is usually played with the same rules as ice hockey, or roller hockey, except it is on the street. Most of the time, a ball is used instead of a puck, because a puck would be too difficult to hit on an asphalt or cement surface. Street hockey is usually played during the summer.back top



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 played in three 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 (official rules). Some leagues and competitions do not follow the IIHF regulations, in particular USA Inline and Canada Inline.back top



Roller hockey (quad)

Roller hockey (quad) is the overarching name for a roller sport that has existed since long before inline skates were invented. Roller hockey has been played in sixty countries worldwide and so has many names worldwide. The sport is also known as quad hockey, international style ball hockey, rink hockey and hardball hockey. Roller Hockey was a demonstration roller sport at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.
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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 pedals) to play at the ball. The ball is similar weight and bounce to a "dead" tennis ball and sticks are as in roller hockey. The game is "non-contact". Each team consists of five players (one is usually a goalkeeper, but with no special rights or obligations), and substitution is allowed at any point in the game. Any player who allows his stick to impede an opposing player commits a foul, regardless of intent. 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.back top


Other 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.
• Floor ball, is a form of hockey played in a gymnasium or in sport halls. A whiffed ball is used instead of a plastic ball, and the sticks are made from composite materials. The sticks are only one meter long, allowing better stick handling, and making the game a whole lot safer. It is very popular in Europe, and is widely recognized as the world's fastest growing sport.
• 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 - and 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, see Minkey (Mini Hockey)
• 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.
• Shinny is an informal version of ice hockey.
• Shinty is a Scottish Highlands 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.
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