Interesting facts of ice hockey

As an ice hockey is a very old and popular sport, it is no surprise there are some interesting facts and legends in conjunction with this game and the players of it. Here are the most interesting facts about the game of ice hockey.

  • The history of ice hockey is unclear until this day. Unlike other popular sports games, there are many versions of both early origins of ice hockey and history of modern ice hockey. Some believes that it comes from Europe; however others claim that Europeans stole the idea of the game from Native Americans. Also there is version that none of the games played before 1800s can’t be considered as the ancestor of modern ice hockey.
  • The first organized game of ice hockey was played only in 1875 in Montreal, Canada. There was only two teams participating in this competition and there were only nine players in each tem. Most of them were students from the same university.
  • Until this day Canada is considered as a birthplace and main centre of ice hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada. Also many best hockey players come from Canada. Although nowadays many other countries have proved their ability in ice hockey, Canada is still the leader.
  • Since 1914 the most prestigious award in professional hockey is the Stanly Cup. Since that time it has been awarded every year, except two – 1919 and 2005. In 1919 it was because of the epidemic of Spanish flu, which also hit the players of Montreal Canadians team. In 2005 it was not given, because the season was cancelled.
  • There are lots of accidents connected with Stanly Cup. One it was accidentally left by the side of the road. Also it had been thrown into a swimming pool and even lost in an airport. Despite all of that, the cup is still used as an award of best hockey team.
  • The original Stanley Cup was only 22 cm high. As there are names of players of each winning team written on the base of the cup, there was a need for lot bigger cup. Now the base of a cup with all the names is approximately 80 cm high.
  • The team who has won the most Stanley Cups is Montreal Canadians. Together this team has won 23 Stanley Cups. The second team who has won the most Stanly Cups is Toronto Maple Leafs, but they have only 13 cups. That means Montreal Canadians has proved their superiority.
  • Until 1959 no goalie wore the face mask for the protection. Only after the goalie of Montreal Canadians, Jacques Plante broke his nose because of flying puck; he started to wear the mask and established it as a tradition. Nowadays the face mask is an integral part of goalies uniform.
  • Two ice hockey players who are considered to be one of the greatest of all time – Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy were born on the same day. Also their birthplaces were located only about 200 km apart. That is very odd coincidence.
  • There are twelve woman name on the Stanley Cup, but none of them were players of any team .They were either team owners or executives.
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Ice hockey equipment

Hockey is a sports game which is played on very hard surface in high speed and with hard rubber puck. It is easy to get injured while playing this game, so there is very specific and complicated equipment used to protect the players. But you have to know that this equipment is not cheap and you may need a onlain sesxebi or swrafi sesxi uprocento to buy yourself all the necessary equipment parts.

The most important item of the equipment is helmet. It is meant to protect players head. They come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have face visors to fully protect the players face in case of falling on ice or other contact with something potentially dangerous. They are usually made of nylon with vinyl foam padding to reduce ensure the amortization and reduce any head traumas.

The next one is neck guard. It is also very important, because neck traumas in one of the most common ones in the game of hockey. It also is made of nylon and some padding for the comfort. Although it is an integral part of ice hockey equipment, many players choose to not wear it, because it is quite uncomfortable.

The next item is shoulder pads. They protect many meaningful parts of players’ body, such as ribs, chest, spine, shoulders etc. Basically it is a vest with panels. These panels are quite resistant and can protect from skate blades and flying puck. This item is usually used only in professional ice hockey; beside some leagues don’t require it. If players don’t wear shoulder pads, they must avoid from any physical contact, which difficult the game.

Of course, there are also elbow and knee pads used. Joints are one of the weakest points of humans’ body, so they must be protected. Some of the joint pads even have some extensions to protect also upper arms and legs. They are made from resistant fiber with padding. These items are usually used in any game of hockey and are considered as basic parts of whole equipment.

Also shirt and pants are parts of equipment. They are not meant for protection, but to cover everything mentioned above. In professional ice hockey they are integral parts of equipment, because they have teams and sponsors logos on.

Then there is also mouth guard. It is assumed that all hockey players have lost some teeth during the games. The mouth guard is meant exactly for the teeth protection. They are usually made form elastic plastic. They can protect players’ moth and teeth in most cases, but it cannot completely exclude the chance of losing teeth.

And then of course, there are hockey skates. Just like any other skates they have sizes and many variations. Players can choose the most comfortable skates for them. Unlike figure skates, the blades have a rounded heel and no toe picks. They are dangerous if comes in contact with player.

And the last items are the sticks and the puck. Unlike everything mentioned above, they are integral parts of the game, not only protection. As we all know sticks are meant for controlling the puck, but the puck itself is the main object of the game – it must be shot into the goal to score.

This is the basic equipment of every hockey player. Goalies have more advanced equipment, because they have bigger chance of getting injured. Also there are some exceptions and supplements of equipment in some cases, but this is what basic player needs.

hockey-health

Benefits of playing ice hockey

Many people associate ice hockey with high risks of getting injured and don’t see any benefits from this sports game. Although ice hockey really is risky and quite extreme, if you stay cautious and protect yourself, you not only won’t hurt yourself, but also gain some precious physical and mental health benefits.

Ice hockey is a great cardiovascular training just like running, cycling and swimming. It makes your heart rate and breathing to increase. It results as a burning body a fat, so playing ice hocky is a great way how to stay in shape. What are even most important, cardiovascular trainings strengthen your heart. That means there are a lot lower risks to get heart diseases which are the most common cause of death. So we might say that playing hockey might prolong the life of player.

Unlike other cardiovascular trainings, ice hockey also includes some parts of strength trainings as well. That means you not only lose the body fat, but also gain the muscle mass. Especially leg muscles of hockey players are very developed. Cardiovascular training together with strength training can noticeably improve the overall health and strength of body. It results as smaller chance of getting injured or sick.

Ice hockey also is a great way how to improve the coordination and balance. Skating itself requires great ability to balance your body, but in the game of hockey it’s taken in the whole new level. To play hockey you must react and move fast while you’re on the skates, so you will be forced to use your balance and coordination to not fall. Also there are other players on the ices and you must be stable even if someone pushes you. In this condition you will be able to improve these skills very fast.

As it was mentioned before, there is also mental gaining, not only physical. It is a great way how to improve the brain power. Hockey is not all about skating around the field and trying to hit the puck in the goal. It is very strategic game. You have to know all the physic laws to play it well. Both halves of your brain are engaged while ice hockey is being played.

And the last benefit is the great time you have. It is really fun and interesting game. Your mood will improve cardinally after the play. Also it is a way how to meet new people and improve your social life. Those people who are engaged with some sports activities usually are lot happier and satisfied with life.

So if you are interested in this game, don’t be afraid to play it, only because it is associated with high risk of injuries and traumas. Just learn everything gradually and always wear appropriate outfit. Then you will be able to enjoy the game and improve your health and quality of life in many different ways.

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Basics of ice hockey strategy

Ice hockey, just like any other sports game, has its own strategies and tactics. It’s not only skating and cashing the puck. Every situation must be evaluated and coach and the players needs to choose the right strategy to win the game. Players need to think what to do each time and what the best solution is. Although tactics of the game is very complicated, because there are many methods that can also be mixed, there are some that are used very often. So let’s take a closer look at some of the most common strategies of ice hockey.

The first tactic is forecheck. Basically it is defensive play in offensive zone. The aim of this strategy is to make strain to the opposite teams defenseman so the players could regain the control of the puck. Usually it is used in situation when there is need to recover the puck after a rebound or after turnover. It can be either aggressive or conservative. The aggressive strategy is more suitable for fast players with great balance. The conservative strategy can also be used by not so agile players.

The next strategy is cycling. It is typical offensive strategy. That means the forwards are trying to move the puck along the boards from the defensive zone into the offensive zone. Then there is a chance of scoring. Usually in this strategy three forwards are working together by making a triangle. That makes it possible for one of the forwards to head for the goal, but this strategy also includes other ways.

Then there is gaining the zone. It is the most common strategy in ice hockey, but it is very complicated for the players to use it if opponents are protecting themselves wisely. It means gaining control over the puck, although it is crossing opponents’ defensive zone. In this situation players could also use the foarcheck strategy, but then they are not really gaining the zone. Player needs to get the control of the puck and get into opponents end at the same time to succeed.

Checking is one of the most popular defensive strategies. The aim of it is to separate the defenseman from the puck. It can be done in many ways. For example, there is body checking which means that player is using his whole body to separate the defenseman form the puck. Also there can be hip checking, shoulder checking, poke checking etc. It all depends on the way and parts of body used to gain the puck.

Clearing the puck is another defensive method. That means player relieves any sustained pressure by the opposite workforce. Payers can clear the puck just to relieve that strain on their workforce, without even trying to take the control. It often ends up with icing, so players must be careful.

Of course this is just a small part of ice hockey strategies. These are the ones that are used in typical games, but to win, coaches and players must know how to mix the basic strategies and think several steps forward. Both teams are aware of the basic strategies, so it is important to not let opponent guess what they are trying to do.

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.

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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.