hockey-history

Early history of ice hockey

The game of ice hockey as we know it today has developed form other ball and stick games, which are almost as old as civilization itself. Archeological evidence shows that these kinds of games have been played even in ancient Greece. Later something similar has been found also in China and Egypt. Of course, these ball and stick game were quite different from the modern hockey.

The biggest step in development of the game had been taken only around 1500s, when people started to play these games on the ice. But again, these games were just slightly similar to a modern ice hockey. In Holland people used to play a game on ice that was more similar to golf. In Ireland, there was a game similar to hurling. Also in other Nordic countries there was found some evidences of different games on ice, so it is hard to tell from which game exactly hockey has developed.

When Europeans discovered America, they found out that Native Americans also have their own games on ice. Very popular game there was lacrosse and it was played also on ice. So combining the ideas from Europe and America, the ice hockey was created. It was a lot more primitive then now and it was played only outside. Usually only in small towns and villages this game was popular.

The biggest gratitude on making ice hockey popular goes to Canadian named James Creighton. He introduced many people from bigger cities with this game and organized a group of people willing to play this game. They started to practice hockey indoors. After some months of practice and further development of the game, Creighton introduced society to ice hockey by special exhibition. Society had different opinions about ice hockey as a sport. Some believed it’s a good and interesting game, but others however thought it was violent and traumatic.

The game developed gradually, but at the 1877 the main rules were set. That was the time when ice hockey turned into a game we all knows today. The rules included the count of players in the team and on the field, the standards of the rink, the behavior of the players etc. After that, the game became a lot popular.

Many university students played ice hockey. In 1878 the McGill University established the first official hockey team and next few years there was many other teams established. Later also the first hockey league formed. In 1889 Governor General of Canada Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley watched leagues’ game and become a supporter of the game. Stanley created the concept of a regional competition and gave a cup to the winners. It was named the Stanley Hockey Championship Cup. Nowadays, we now it as Stanley Cup and it is still awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League.

At the end of 1800s and the 1900s the game of hockey spread all over the world. There were more and more teams and leagues established and this game became an object of interest not only for the players, but also fans.

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Best hockey players of all time

Ice hockey is a team sport and the main key of success is the whole teams’ performance. It is very important for the team members to be able to cooperate, but also the individual performance of each player in the team is noteworthy. Some of the players have showed spectacular individual performance and they deserve to be called the best ice hockey players of all time.

The first one in this list definitely is Wayne Gretzky. He played in National Hockey League for 20 seasons and also worked as a coach for Phoenix Coyotes and manager for Canada’s Olympic hockey team. In his career he has won nine Hart Trophies as the NHL’s most valuable player and ten Art Ross Trophies as the NHL’s most scoring player. He owns many records for example, for the most goals in one season and most goals in less count of games. Together with Edmonton Oilers he won Stanley Cup four times. After Wayne Gretzky retired, he was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He has 2857 career points which is a lot more than any other player has ever had.

The next one is Bobby Orr or in the full name Robert Gordon Orr. In NHL he played only 12 seasons, beside in some of these seasons he played only few games, because of the health problems. Although his professional playing career was quite short, in this time he showed his amazing skills. In his very first season in NHL he won Norris Trophy, although he played only 46 games. In the next season he won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the team. In his career he has won many awards and also owns many records, including most points in one NHL season by defensemen. If he shouldn’t quit because of the problems with his knees, maybe the list of his achievements would be even more incredible. Bobby Orr was also inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He has 915 career points which is one of the highest scores among defensemen.

Another hockey legend is Gordie Howe. He played in NHL for 26 seasons and also 6 seasons in the World Hockey Association. Most of his professional career he spent with Detroit Red Wings – 25 out of 26 seasons. He has won 6 Art Ross Trophies, 6 Hart Memorial Trophies, and 4 Stanley Cups with Detroit Red Wings and many other individual and teams awards. He also owns many records and he has left precious legacy to the game of hockey and society together. Of course, Gordie Howe was also inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He has 1850 career points.

This list could be continued with such players as Mario Lemieux which has gained most power play points in a single season, Maurice Richard who owns second best result in most scored goals, Doug Harvey who is considered as one of the best defenseman of all time and many others.

hockey

Basic rules of ice hockey

As in any other professional sport, ice hockey also has its own rules and regulations. These rules are quite complicated, because they are very detailed for any situation in a game. To play ice hockey professionally both trainers and players have to be aware of every single detail of these rules, but for ice hockey fans and amateurs it would be useful to understand at least basic rules to understand the game.

Ice hockey is a team sports game, which is played on the field covered with ice. The main objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposite team.

The hockey field has rectangular shape with rounded corners. In different leagues the sizes of the field differs, but mostly it is standardized to 30 m x 61 m with 8, 5 m corner radius. The field is surrounded with 1 m high barrier for the safety of players and fans. The whole field is divides in smaller sectors with specific lines. Together there are 5 lines – 2 goal lines, two blue lines which separate the offensive/defensive zones from the neutral zone and 1 center line.

In professional ice hockey players also have specific equipment. It consists of skates, a closed helmet, mouth guard, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey gloves, hockey pants, leg guards, thigh pads, hockey socks, shirt and hockey sticks. The goalkeeper also needs to use chest protectors and some other details of equipment are little bit different too. The field inventory consists of goals and the puck.

Together the team consists of 20 players – 12 forwards, 6 defenders and 2 goalkeepers. During the game, each team has 6 players on the field – 5 field players and the goalkeeper. The players on the field can be changed any time and that can be done unlimited times.

The game of hockey is divided into 3 periods. Each of these periods lasts for 20 minutes. There are breaks between each period. If there is a tie after these three periods, the game is extended for 5 minutes. If none of the team scores during the extension, result of the game is settled by penalty shots. These penalty shots are executed by three players of each tem and the team which scores more goals wins, but regardless to the count of penalty shots scored, winner team gets only one point to the total score.

There are also judges in professional ice hockey games. Their takes is to make sure that players play by the rules and in case of any misunderstandings settles the dispute. There are many violations that judges needs to settle such as the inhibition of the game, goalkeeper interference, highly elevated bat, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc. In any game there are two judges responsible for the offensive/defensive zone and two responsible for goal zone. Judges are entitled to give penalties to the players for violations. Most common penalties are declines.