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Ice hockey is one of the fastest and most exciting team sports in the world. It is played by two teams of six players on a playing surface made of ice. The teams move up and down the ice wearing ice skates and a variety of safety equipment and carrying hockey sticks. The object of the game is to put the hockey puck, made of vulcanized rubber, into the opposing team's net and keep the other team from doing the same. Ice hockey is played and enjoyed by millions of people throughout the world. Players can range in age from as young as 5 years old to senior citizens, and boys and girls can equally enjoy this great team sport.

Glossary of Hockey Terms

If you turn on an ice hockey game on television, on the radio, or online, you may hear words like: "The home team has a power play, and the leading scorer already has a hat trick in this game. The visiting team would desperately like to get the kill and will try to ice the puck every chance they get." For a non-hockey fan, this may sound like a foreign language, but to the hockey fan, this is music to their ears. Here's what some of these terms mean:

  • Power play: When a hockey team has an extra player on the ice because the other team has a penalty
  • Shorthanded: When one hockey team has one of their players in the penalty box
  • Penalty kill: When the team playing shorthanded manages to keep the other team from scoring until the penalty is over
  • Hat trick: When a player scores three goals in one game
  • Icing: Shooting the puck from one end of the ice to the other side

Ice Hockey Safety Tips

Ice hockey is a game that is played at a fast pace on a hard surface while wearing sharp blades. Because the game happens so quickly and on ice, there is a risk of injury. The risks range from twisting your ankle while trying to stop or turn to getting hit with a puck to even, in rare cases, getting cut with a skate blade.

To lessen the risk of injury, all players need to be equipped with the proper safety gear. This should include a helmet with a face cage, shoulder and chest pads, padded hockey pants, hockey skates, gloves, and shin guards. All these pieces of equipment should be properly fitted to prevent injury from a fall, collision, or hit from a puck. With all of this equipment, hockey players of any age will safely be able to play ice hockey.

  • Properly fitted hockey equipment is a must for the safety of all players.
  • To prevent injury, players must wear all of their equipment for practices and games.

How to Get Started

Ice hockey is a great game to see in person and an even greater game to play. To get started learning how to play hockey, you'll need to learn how to ice skate. A great way to start is through a learn-to-skate program. These programs can teach you the basics of using the edges of the skates to push off and turn. You will also learn the basics of starting and stopping and even how to properly get up after you fall, which is a much-needed skill!

Once you have properly learned how to skate, you can then transition into learning how to play hockey. With ice hockey, you not only have to be a steady skater, but you also need to learn the basics of skating with the hockey puck, passing the puck, shooting the puck, and avoiding penalties. One of the best ways to practice these skills is off the ice, using a tennis ball on a driveway or any flat surface. Add some obstacles, like cones to go around, and you have a great off-ice practice drill!



Edited by: Ben Thompson