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ICE HOCKEY: DESCRIPTION AND TECHNIQUES

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Ice hockey is a contact team game played on ice and normally in a hockey rink. Players wear single bladed hockey skates that allow them to move quickly around the hockey rink.

Teams consist of six players who use sticks to handle, pass and shoot a vulcanized round rubber puck. One of the six players is a goaltender who is responsible for keeping the puck out of their net. The other five players have specific responsibilities with normally two of them focusing on defense and the other three more offense-minded.

The game is won by the team who is able to score the most goals in the opponent’s net. Games consist of three 20-minute periods and if the score is tied at the end of regulation there will be an overtime period. If the score is still tied at the end of overtime the National Hockey League uses a shoot out to determine the winner.

Hockey is a fast paced physical game that is most popular in areas of North America (particularly Canada and the Northern United States) and Northern and Western Europe.

Ice Hockey has a formal governing body called the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). There are specific rules that govern the sport and hockey referees are responsible for assessing penalties that will send a player to a penalty box for a specified period of time leaving their team shorthanded.

There are several key techniques and skills required to be a successful player.

Skating

Players need to be good skaters to be successful ice hockey players. This is the most important skill required. Not only do they need to be able to skate but they need to be able to stop and start quickly, turn while skating and also be able to learn to skate moving backwards. Speed is also an important ingredient.

Endurance

The game is played at a fast and furious pace and players need to be able to have endurance to get through a full game. Although they do play in short bursts (or shifts) it is still an extremely physically demanding sport.

Reflexes

Players need to have great reflexes to play hockey. Given the fast pace of play, the player needs to react quickly to what is happening around them and to where the puck is.

Shooting

The ability to shoot a hockey puck is a critical skill. Players need to be accurate since they are normally shooting at a small area of the net in able to score a goal past the goaltender. Shot types include a slap shot, wrist shot or snap shot.

Passing

Passing the puck to another player advances the puck down the ice towards the opponent’s net. The ability to pass accurately to a teammate is many times the primary reason for a goal. A pass that leads directly to a goal is called an assist.

Ice Hockey is an Olympic sport and has been a part of the Winter Olympics since 1924.

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