Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey is a sport in which skaters use sticks to direct a puck into the opposing team’s goal. It is most popular in areas that get very cold such as Canada, Latvia, Nordic Countries, Russia, and the United States to name a few. Now that indoor artificial ice rinks exist the sport can be played all year. The sport has even become one of the four major North American professional sports.

The National Hockey League is the highest level for men. Hockey is the official national winter sport of Canada. After 12 Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women Championships the United States or Canada have won the gold every time.

Many believe that hockey evolved out of stick-and-ball games that were adapted to the icy conditions of Canada in the 19th century. The first mention of the work “˜hockey’ in English came in 1799 in England. Montreal has become the center of development for the game. In 1875, the first organized indoor game was played in Montreal with nine-player teams. The game used a puck instead of a ball in order to keep it from flying out of the rink and hitting spectators. In 1883 the first “world championship” game was held in Montreal. This game was organized into thirty minute halves and players were reduced to seven per side. In 1896 the first ice hockey leagued in the US, The U.S. Amateur Hockey League, was founded in New York City. In 1902 the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League openly employed professional players. In Montreal the National Hockey Association was formed in 1910. This league went on to refine rules and changing the halves into three 20-minute periods. The league re-organized as the National Hockey League in 1917 and expanded into the US in 1924. Leagues later developed in Europe.

Injuries are a common occurrence due to hockey’s tough nature. Therefore, protective equipment is highly recommended and enforced in highly competitive situations. Players can be moving at speeds of 20-30 miles an hour and along with blades, sticks, and the physical contact of the players a lot of injuries occur. Lacerations to the head, scalp, and face are the most frequent types of injury in hockey. Checks, where one player hits another, are a major cause of all types of injuries.

The objective is to score goals, putting a rubber disc into the opponent’s net, with the use of the hockey stick. The three major rules that limit movement of the puck are offsides, icing, and the puck going out of play. Out of play can happen when the puck goes past the perimeter of the ice rink. Most penalties are served in the penalty box which leaves the offending players team with one less player. The team with more players is on a “power play”.

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