An Introduction To Hockey

 By: Jason Tarasi
Hockey is a sport that is enjoyed by many players and fans. Because it is most frequently played on ice (professionally anyway), it is often referred to as ice hockey, though there are some variations of the game using a roller rink rather than an ice rink making it possible for those who don't have the benefit of ice rinks to engage in the game for fun. Hockey that isn't played on the ice is generally referred to as roller hockey.

Ice hockey is played in a 200 foot by 85 foot rink. Lines are painted on the ice to mark various zones. The red line in the center of the rink marks the middle of the ice so the hockey players can tell how far to shoot. Blue lines are used to mark the three zones of the ice - the defending zone, the attacking zone and the neutral zone.

One each end of the rink, in the center of the ice is a set of goal posts which are set six feet apart, and a net. Between the goal posts there is a red line painted on the ice which is called a goal line. The object of the game of hockey is to make goals by knocking the hockey puck into the net using a hockey stick. A team achieves points when the puck crosses the goal line and goes into the net which oddly enough is also called the goal. The blue area in front of the goal that is painted in blue is called the crease. Only the goaltender is allowed in the crease, so if a player skates into the crease while attempting to make a goal, they may get an interference penalty.

Generally there are six players per team on the ice at one time. The three players that line up at the front of the team are called forwards and they mainly serve as the team's offense. Depending on their placement they are referred to as the right wing, the center and the left wing. Behind the forwards are two defensemen, one on the right and one on the left. The sixth player is the goaltender, also called a goalie. The goalie generally stays in the crease to protect defensive zone, the defensemen also defend the goal as the forwards attempt to make goals for the team. Forwards and defensemen are allowed to provide both offense and defense for their team as they react to the activity of the game. At the end of three twenty-minute periods, the hockey team with the highest score wins. Tied games go into a five-minute period of overtime.
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