We have, as spectators, always watched ice hockey with excitement and amusement. We have watched men race across for goals. But have you wanted to play it? Have you ever held back thinking how hard it would be? There is an easy way to learn and play.
Like many other games, ice hockey too is a team sport. It has two teams with six players each, one goalkeeper and five defensive players. The five players can move across the rink (the ice field). The aim of the game is to have maximum goals to be the winner. You have to ensure that you don’t let your opposition score, which is called playing defense. The game has a time structure. It is divided into twenty-minute periods. There are three such segments in the game. In case the score is equal or neither of the team has scored, an extra time is allotted which quite similar to the game of football.
To regulate and maintain the decorum of the sport, there are some rules and restrictions. There are two types of penalties in the game, one recognized as major and the other as minor. While playing, you will often find players pushing each other in order to possess the puck. There are some ways which are considered offensive. Slashing, hooking, interference, looking from the back, etc. are all considered minor penalties. Avoid committing them. For example, while being in control of the puck, if a player comes and tries to take possession from your back, it is considered as a minor penalty and it can take a player off the ice for two minutes. No substitution for this player is allowed. That leaves the team with only five players on the rink. If the team scores a goal after the minor penalty, the player is allowed back in. There are also instances when the opposing teams fight on the rink. This leads to a major penalty. The player is sent off the ice for five whole minutes. Major penalties can also involve emitting a player that caused physical injury to another.
When you start off as a beginner, the greatest challenge is to know how to hold the hockey stick correctly. The idea is to be comfortable so that you can maneuver the puck accordingly. One must also practice dribbling, slapping, hitting and pushing with the stick regularly. Every game also has a set of safety guards and equipment. Make sure you have the important few before starting out. The helmet, mouth guard, puck, stick, skates, shin guards, jock and socks are essential for the safety of players.
Once you take note of all the above, you will slowly realize the simplicity of the game and start enjoying it. The game tests your strategies, team spirit and individual skill at every moment. Ice hockey is played on a national and international level in many countries. It is an extremely fast game and can get rough at times so if you have a weak heart, do not try it.