Hockey is a unique and exciting sport to watch and play. There is an entire culture and vocabulary surrounding it. The game may seem overwhelming if you are just developing an interest in it. Luckily, some quick research will make you feel like a lifelong fan or player!
Hockey Basics- The Rink
A regulation NHL rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The midway point of the rink is marked with a red line. There are blue lines equidistant on both sides of the red line- 25 feet away. This 50 foot stretch is known as the “neutral zone”.
The goal line is marked, as well as the goals and creases. The face off circles are also painted into the rink. White powdered paint is mixed with water to create a liquid paint mix. Two or three coats of the white paint is then sprayed to completely cover the surface. This is sealed and frozen.
After the surface is completely white, the next step is to get the lines and markings down. All of the colored lines are sealed in place, as well, so they don’t run when water is added to build up the ice.
Hockey Basics- Scoring
The main objective of a hockey game is to score goals. This is accomplished by passing and shooting the puck quickly and accurately. To score a goal, the puck needs to pass under the goal’s crossbar, between the posts and across the goal line.
Assists are an important part of hockey, and statistical points are added to both of the last two players to touch the puck before the goal is scored.These are credited as a primary or secondary assist. In some instances, this can result in the goalie being credited with points, even if they never leave the goal area.
Although there are multiple, there are a few main violations that can cause a goal to be taken back or not counted. The first infraction that can cause a goal to be recalled is if the puck is purposely kicked into the net. The second is if there is goalie interference. If a hockey stick is raised about the height of the crossbar, this is another reason that a goal would not be counted
If a goal has been scored, players will then face off at the center redline, and begin playing. If a goal is not counted, the face off will happen in the defensive zone. If a player scores three goals in one game, it is known as a hat trick.
Hockey Basics- Penalties
When a player receives a penalty, they must spend time in the penalty box. There are three types of penalties- minor, major and misconduct.
Some of the penalties that can be committed during a game are elbowing, tripping, or roughing up another player, and fist fighting. Penalties can also be incurred when you use your stick as a weapon, by “hooking” , “slashing” or “spearing”another player.
Hockey Basics- Positions
The goalie position is probably the most important on the team. They affect the team's morale and confidence. The job of the goalie is to keep the puck out of the net. If the opposing team can’t score, they won’t win.
There are usually two defensemen, one on the left side and one on the right. Their job is to keep the puck away from their team’s goal.
The right and left wing positions both need to be physical players. They need to aggressively pursue the puck and have good handling skills.
The center is like the quarterback of the game. They are literally the center of the action, and need to be good at face-offs, passing and shooting.
Hockey Basics- Ultimate Fans
The more time you invest in learning and playing the sport of hockey, the more ingrained these basics will be in your head. Hockey is a great sport to get involved with, both as a fan and a player!