History Of Ice Hockey
The history of ice hockey is far older than the pucks we know today, but the general culture of ice hockey as we know it, most probably starts with English soldiers playing a kind of field hockey on ice in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The basic instinct to hit a ball with a stick is seen developed in isolated cultures all over the world, doing it on ice however restricted to colder climates, is still older than the first pucks. Pucks were first recorded as being used in Ontario at the Kingston Harbor in 1860 (from the verbs “to hit” or “to strike” in Hurley). To give an exact person, place or event would be a very personal history of ice hockey; and just as everyone has their favorite team, we all have our favorite version of “the facts” as well as philosophies about what it means to play. But one thing people can’t argue with is exactly where and how the very first “indoor” ice hockey match occurred, as it seems to be where our gladiator culture emerged.
March 30, 1875 at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink the first indoor hockey match was organized by James Creighton, an ice Hurley player (considered by some the father of ice hockey) was from Halifax and studying engineering at McGill University in Montreal at the time. Nine man sides were used and the “field” of ice was 80ft by 204ft. Creighton’s team managed to win the game with 2-1, and most importantly, our ice gladiator sport was born! Yes! The game ended in one of the greatest fights ever seen. The wire dispatch from Kingston’s Daily British Whig in Montreal reported the following “Shins and heads were battered, benches smashed, and the lady spectators fled in confusion,” that definitely sounds like ice hockey!
We may not be able to agree between ourselves on any one place or time where ice hockey first appeared in the world, but the culture of indoor ice hockey we now see all over the world seems to have been born with the need for speed and exercise. Pucks are naturally a part of this culture and symbols of our loyalties. The word puck can be traced back to “pouke” in the 1300’s with the Old English meaning of “devil” or “evil spirit” and later the verb “to poke”. Shakespear’s Mr. Robin Goodfellow. The “Puck” was a mischievous Satyre spirit in “A Midsummer Night's Dream” who is constantly getting into trouble, by “poking people the wrong way” if you may.
Ice Hockey Rules and Regulations
The Playing Area
The playing area or rather the surface is practically a thin ice sheet, known as the rink. The rink has to be divided in several zones by a red line at center ice and 2 blue lines. Now, as far as the measurements are concerned, the usual North American rink is 200 feet by 85 feet. These are larger when it comes to European ice hockey surfaces. The rink has to be enclosed by boards and plexiglas. To tell you more about the zones, each ice surface according to the basic ice hockey rules are divided into 3 zones. The defending zone is where the goal net is located, for the team which has to defend that goal. Then, there are 2 blue lines in the middle of the rink and in between them is what is called as the neutral zone. Finally the area where a team has to attack, the opponent's goal, it is called attacking zone. Read more on who invented ice hockey.
Teams and Players
There are 6 players of a team in the rink, including the goaltender. The others are skaters. The five play as forwards and defensemen. The ice hockey rules and positions are that there are 3 forwards and 2 defensemen. Only the goaltender cannot move from his place, otherwise all the other 5 are permitted to move anywhere in the rink. In addition to that, the goaltender cannot cross the line, the center ice red line, dividing the rink into half. The game can only begin once the referee drops the puck between the 2 forwards from opposing teams. This face off is also used to resume the play if it is obstructed midway. A game has 3 periods of 20 minute each, as per the ice hockey rules. If at the end of these 60 minutes, the teams are tied, there is a sudden death, that is overtime. The team scoring first here is declared the winner.
Those who do not obey the rules are penalized. One of the most common amongst them is that a player is sent off. It is a major penalty and the player is sent off for 5 minutes. A player can be sent off in case he is involved in a fight with another player. Elbowing, kneeing, checking from behind and roughing are other reasons of giving a player a penalty. Usage of stick, in a dangerous way, like hooking, tripping, slashing, spearing, etc calls for penalization. In case of a minor penalization, a player is sent off the rink for a couple of minutes. Moreover, if a goal is scored, the penalty immediately comes to and end.