What is Underwater Ice Hockey?

underwater ice hockey

About Underwater Ice Hockey

  • Invented: 2005
  • Founded By: Christian Redl
  • Highest Governing Body: World Underwater Federation

Underwater ice hockey is an extreme version of ice hockey in which the game is played upside down underwater. Underwater ice hockey is similar to regular ice hockey because both sports feature two teams trying to guide the puck into the opponent's nets. However, in underwater ice hockey, players must dive under the ice and flip upside down to play. Participants are only under the water for a certain amount of time, as they do not use any breathing apparatus during the game and must rely on holding their breath to stay under the surface. Famous diver and extreme athlete Christian Redl invented the game in Austria in 2005.

Competitors are equipped with diving masks, fins, wetsuits, and hockey sticks for the game. With the uncertainty of underwater sports and the safety of their participants, each game has four underwater divers with oxygen tanks to keep watch of the athletes and ensure everyone’s safety. The first Underwater Ice Hockey World Cup was held in Weissensee, Austria, in 2007, and won by Finland.

FAQ

What is underwater ice hockey?

Underwater ice hockey is an extreme type of ice hockey in which the game is played upside down, under the surface of the water, and along the bottom of the ice. The rules are extremely similar to regular ice hockey, as teams try to guide the puck into the opponent’s net in order to score points. The differences, however, mostly involve the extreme environment that the game takes place in,  which causes players to go up for air quite often during the game, as they are not given any underwater breathing apparatus. Therefore, underwater ice hockey players have slightly different strategies to regulate their breathing and work together to score goals under the ice surface.

What are the risks of underwater ice hockey?

Safety is always a risk when competing in extreme sports, and underwater ice hockey is no different. Players are forced to hold their breath underwater with only two very small breathing holes. Due to this, drowning is always a possible risk of underwater ice hockey. Four divers with oxygen tanks are deployed under the water to mitigate these risks. Additionally, playing under a sheet of ice can also pose the risk of hypothermia because the water is extremely frigid. In fact, the only way athletes are able to compete at all is by wearing wetsuits.

What equipment do you need to play underwater ice hockey?

In order to play underwater ice hockey, competitors must equip themselves with a diving mask, fins, a wetsuit, and a hockey stick. To play the game, two hockey nets must be bound upside down to the ice under the water. The underwater ice rink will be 6 feet by 8 feet, with breathing holes at either side of the midline. Four observers must be equipped with oxygen tanks so they can ensure the player’s safety underneath the surface.