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Hockey is one of the world's most
It's a ball and stick game dating back
thousands of years.
Hockey is similar to football in some
ways and is sometimes called soccer
The sport is popular with men and
women and the rules are exactly the
same for both sexes.
Two teams of 11 players compete against each other using a hooked stick to
hit, push, pass and dribble the ball.
It's a fast and open game, and great fun to play.
But there are certain rules you must follow too.
So to avoid being shown a green, yellow or red card, click around the Sport
Academy's guide to the rules of hockey.
PITCH or PLAYING AREA
These days, most matches are played on
synthetic or artificial pitches.
The pitch is only slightly smaller than a
football pitch measuring 91.4m (100 yards)
long and 58m (60 yards) wide.
The long sides are called the sidelines and
the short sides are the backline.
The shooting circle is marked 14.63m (16
yards) from each goalpost.
Goals are 2.14m (7ft) high, 3.66m (12 ft) wide
and 0.91m (4 ft) deep.
The backboard is 18 ins high.
There are 11 players in a hockey team.
Every team must have a goalkeeper. The
other 10 are field players.
The field players can be attackers,
defenders or midfielders.
The exact line up will depend on the team
strategy and so the exact number of
forwards, midfielders and backs will
Goalkeepers have special privileges.
Unlike their team-mates they are allowed to use their feet and other parts of
their body to control the ball.
That's why they have to get padded up.
They have to wear special protective clothes such as leg guards, kickers,
hand protectors and headgear.
Teams are allowed to make up to five substitutions.
An official is a person who has some
responsibility in enforcing the rules and
maintaining the order of the game. There are
two categories of officials, officials, who are
the referees and linesmen that enforce the
rules during game play, and , who have an
administrative role rather than an enforcement
A referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game and (s)he
can be identified by his/her red or orange armbands. Under most officiating
systems, (s)he is the only official with the authority to assess penalties for
violations of the rules. However, the linesmen can report a variety of
penalties, such as "too many players" and major penalties, to the referee,
who may then assess the penalty. The referee also conducts the
opening faceoff in each period and faceoffs that follow after a goal is scored,
which are done at the center ice faceoff dot.
• Butt ending: When a player jabs an opponent with the top end of his stick.
• Checking from behind: Whistled when a player hits an opponent who is not aware of
the impending contact from behind and therefore cannot defend himself.
• Cross checking: When a player makes a check with both hands on the stick.
• Elbowing: When a player uses his elbow to foul an opponent.
• Fighting: Called fisticuffs in the National Hockey League rule book, it is assessed
when players drop their gloves and throw punches at each other.
• Hooking: When a player impedes the progress of an opponent by “hooking” him with
• Interference: When a player interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent
who does not have the puck. Also assessed to a player who deliberately knocks the
stick out of an opponent’s hand or who prevents a player who has dropped his stick
(or any other piece of equipment) from picking it back up.
• Kneeing: When a player fouls an opponent with his knee (of course!).
• Roughing: Called when a player strikes another opponent in a minor altercation that
the referee determines is not worthy of a major penalty.
• Slashing: When a player hits an opponent with his stick, or “slashes” him, either to
impede his progress or cause injury.
• Spearing: When a player stabs at an opponent with the blade of his stick, whether he
makes contact or not.
• Tripping: When a stick or any portion of a player’s body is used to cause an opposing
player to fall.
The penalty box (sometimes called the sin
bin, bad box, or simply bin) is the area in ice
hockey, rugby league, rugby union and some
other sports where a player sits to serve the
time of a given penalty, for an offense not severe
enough to merit outright expulsion from the
contest. Teams are generally not allowed to
replace players who have been sent to the
Ice hockey has popularized the term "penalty box". In most cases it is a
small isolated bench surrounded by walls on all four sides, with the side
facing the ice having the access door. There are typically two penalty boxes:
one for each team. In ice hockey a period in the box occurs for
all penalties unless circumstances call for an ejection or a penalty shot. If
three or more players are serving penalties at once, the team will continue
playing with three on the ice but will not be allowed to use the players in the
box until their penalties expire.
THE HOCKEY STICK
The size of the stick that is most effective
for a specific player is judged by that
players height. A 28" stick would be used
by a player under 4' most commonly,
whereas a 38" stick would be used mainly
by players over 5'10". However
'defenders' often like to have a longer
stick than 'attackers' as this can be used
for a greater reach when stopping a
moving ball. The 'attackers' prefer a
shorter stick as it allows greater control
of the ball.
Sticks are approximately 150–200 cm long, composed of a long, slender
shaft and a flat extension at one end called the blade. The curved part
where the blade and the shaft meet is called a taper. The blade is the
part of the stick used to contact the puck, and is typically 10 to 15 inches
long. Stick dimensions can vary widely, as they are usually built to suit a
particular player's size. Taller players usually use longer sticks.
THE HOCKEY BALL
For Field Hockey, the ball must follow these
a is spherical
b has a circumference of between 224 mm and
c weighs between 156 grams and 163 grams
d is made of any material and coloured white (or
an agreed colour which contrasts with the playing
e is hard with a smooth surface but indentations
For Ball Ice Hockey, Road Hockey or Inline Ball Hockey, there is no official
weight of a hockey ball... but in organized leagues, the universal ball is made
of an approved plastic with a diameter of 6.6 cm to 7 cm, usually orange in
Each goal is worth one point.
A goal can only be scored from inside
the shooting circle - a semi-circular
area in front of the opponents' goal.
Goals scored from outside this area
To get into a goal-scoring position,
the ball must be passed or dribbled
down the field with the flat side of
The entire ball must cross over the line.
The familiar thud you hear when a goal is scored is the ball hitting the
But the ball doesn't have to hit the board for the goal to count!