How does hockey work? What are the basic fundamentals of the game? Get ready to learn about Hockey 101. You don't need any prior knowledge to start learning.
Hockey The Basics
Hockey is a sport that is played on ice; players use ice skates and sticks to glide around the ice playing a puck. A puck is the "ball" of hockey, and it is the object that players must put into the net in order to score his/her team a point. There is a net on either side of the ice, and the objective of the entire game is to score on the opposition's net more than they score on your net. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner. Checking is allowed in hockey when a player has the puck; this means that the player with the puck can be hit or "checked" by the opposition making hockey a very physical game. Hockey is played inside of a rink surrounded by boards making the game very condensed and therefore, more intense and physical.
Hockey Equipment and Gear
Equipment is a very important component of hockey since it is such a unique sport. Ice hockey requires skates for players to be able to move along the ice as quickly and efficiently as possible. Hockey skates include a rounded blade in order for players to move, turn, and shift on the ice. This is different from figure skating blades, which are straight. Players also need padding in order to protect themselves from falling on the hard ice or from hard checks. Shin pads, chest protectors, and shoulder pads are all pieces of equipment worn in order to protect players. Helmets are also worn and can differ per player or position; goalies wear bigger, more protective helmets called masks as they are in the most danger of being hit by a flying puck. Finally, equipment such as gloves is worn in order to keep players warm and to allow for the most effective stickhandling during the game.
Hockey Penalties and Rules
In hockey, the ice is covered with a red line representing center ice and two blue lines representing the defensive zone for each team. Players must take the puck over the red line if they want to send the puck into the opposition's defensive zone. If they do not, this is considered icing, and the faceoff will be taken in their own defensive zone as a penalty for icing the puck. In a similar fashion, the puck must be the first thing that enters an offensive zone by passing the blue line, if this is not true, then this is offsides, and the faceoff is taken outside the zone. The objective for players is to score a goal, and they do this by having the entire puck cross the goal line that stretches across the net. Players can get into trouble defending the net along the way; if a player takes out another player's feet or arms, this can be called a trip or a slash, respectively, and is a two-minute minor giving the opposition a five on four advantage on the ice as a punishment. This is called a powerplay. There are also major penalties that last five minutes for things like fighting or an extreme case of boarding, which is hitting a player in the back into the boards.
In hockey, there are six main positions on the ice. The first is the goaltender, a player who defends the goal prevents the puck from crossing the goal line and entering the net. There are also three forwards and two defensemen for each team. The forwards include a center, a right-winger, and a left-winger. The center has many responsibilities, including taking faceoffs and clearing the middle of the ice for his fellow forwards. Centers are usually some of the most talented and well-rounded players on the team. The right and left-wingers play on their respective sides of the center and are responsible for getting the puck to the outside part of the ice and into the offensive zone. Defenseman defends the net in front of the goaltender and play the point in the offensive zone. This means that they stand just in front of the blueline and are used to move the puck and take shots for rebounds from their position.
Important Hockey Concepts
"The forecheck" or "forechecking" in hockey is used to refer to the pressure . put on defenders trying to exit their own zone. When a turnover occurs in a team's offensive zone they must continue to attack to try and keep the puck in this zone and not to let the opposing team exit that zone. This can create more offensive opportunities and mistakes by the defense.
Dump and chase
"Dump and chase" refers to an offensive strategy in hockey in which the offensive player shoots the puck into his/her offensive zone in order to get the puck behind the net and make it hard for the defensive team to exit the zone. The strategy is usually used by physical teams that are good on the forecheck and can be effective against teams that struggle in their own zone.