How The Game of Hockey is Played Hockey is a sport that is physically demanding and is popular in areas that are significantly cold such as Canada, United States, Russia, and some parts of Europe like Norway, Sweden, and Scandinavia. The game consists of 22 players that are rotated in at 6 players at a time. The game is played in a 3 20 minute periods and overtime is played in 20 minute periods until a goal is made by either side and this applies if it's a tied game at the last period and this is one way to break a tie to end a game-as of the late ties are no longer allowed in the NHL. The game itself has modified itself over the time since its conception with the establishment of strict regulations and like it was back in Europe where the referee was in the audience instead of on the field where today the referee is actually on the ice with the players skating back and forth and they have 2 of them on the ice to watch the players and confer calls between themselves and the league officials who are watching from the sidelines as well. The league behavior of the past and today is way different because the regulations are much more organized and this time they added the penalty box which means a player that's committed a move on the ice or some play that wasn't a part of the league-mandated rule book is kicked off the ice and have to sit out the rest of the period or game depending on what the referee decides. If players are called too many times it can result in penalty shots, which can give points to the rival team. The game has really taken a turn in the years with players becoming really aggressive and to the point that they're actually fighting on the ice which says a lot about how the first real hockey players played since they had up to 30 people per team which is less than the number on today's NHL teams The way hockey is played today is amazing because you see fights that take place on the ice between fellow players and rival players and sometimes the referee will end up in the middle of the brawls that happens on the ice because they're busy trying to break them up because some of the brawls can get bloody because they usually have fist fights because it would be assault with a weapon if they used a stick or even their helmets. Many hockey players have fought so bad they actually broke the protective glass at rink side from them hitting it so hard when they're busy going at it like children on the playground. This is the reality of hockey in today's world, which can result in serious injuries, which are mostly cuts and bruises from the constant fist fighting on the ice. The fights can result from calls the players feel are unfair and fall in favor with the other team or even a rival player taunting them in some way which can cause them to be angry and combative. Most players are usually sent to the locker room to cool their tempers off so they aren't so riled up to fight. Hockey is such a high-energy game that anyone can get angry very quick and fast. It's usually hard not to get angry, but when it comes to the referee that's a whole separate ballgame. When it comes to the game of hockey it's like chess your motive is to shoot goals. The Terminology Used In Hockey The language used in hockey is so detailed that only a true hockey enthusiast can really understand each and every term that's used by referees and many of the terms used are also the same things that cost some teams penalty shots or even time in the penalty box. There are a total of 27 different plays that are considered penalties according to league rules and regulations. In order to be a referee one must know all the terms and what they mean and to be able to execute them during a game. A hard-core hockey fan can learn this easily through enough exposure to the game. Learning the terms used in play calls are almost similar to what referees in basketball and football do since there's a lot more calls than you would see in baseball. The most common of calls is when players fight against each other or against rival team players. Most of the other calls aren't frequently used so much, but you're likely to see a lot more fighting and unsportsmanly conduct on the ice. In order for someone to completely understand the terminology it's what you call an acquired talent because it takes a lot of listening and patience to really embrace the terms used in this line of sport. Some players who have tempers or behavior that's unconventional or unsavory can be linked to a respective term which doesn't help that particular player(s) because this only feeds into how the media views them too when they have to do by-lines for their articles and stories. The terms are so out of the ordinary it's like they need their own dictionary or thesaurus to make full sense to those who don't understand these terms enough to really explain them in detail. Either way the terms are very much a reality in hockey since back in years past the terminology wasn't even in existence. Some of the expressions in hockey today weren't even used in the past, but as modifications in language changed that's when they came up with these funky expressions for player's behavior, team pep talks, and when it came down to someone's playing ability there was a special term for everything and some of it is quite hilarious if you hear it often enough. The expressions alone could have their own section in the dictionary since for someone that doesn't understand hockey they surely won't understand the terms that both players and coaches will use on a constant basis. Most of the time you'll just see people using terms for poor sportsmanship and fighting since most of the time the other terms are used during a game. The hockey world is almost separate from every other sport because of the uniqueness of them using words that aren't even along the lines of football and basketball since the terms are more in depth than the other two sports. Unless you're a hockey enthusiast you'll never really understand the terms of this sport. That's why it's a learned trait to understand the language used in hockey. If you sit with someone you can learn things most normal people who are not hockey fans don't hear very often. The average hockey fan that is totally into the game are busy using 4 letter words more than staying calm. The adrenaline rush is so great that many hockey fans can actually make themselves dizzy from the stress. Many fans don't realize how hyped up they can get even at a simple referee call which can sometimes incite stuff on the ice with players going at it with each other. Using Your Hockey Stick Effectively Ice Hockey is composed of two basic skills, great skating technique and great stickhandling skills. In this introduction, let's look at good basic stickhandling. The very first thing to consider is whether the hockey stick you are using is the best one for you. It may be an old stick inherited from a friend or brother, or it may be the "top of the line" that you had just read about in a magazine. There is no best shape or material for a hockey stick, but the most important consideration is to have as much of the stick blade on the ice as possible. This is known as "stick lie". To check this, look at the wear on your stick blade. It should be worn pretty evenly all along the middle. Wear just along the toe, or just at the heel, shows that you may need a stick with a different lie number. Players who like to play hunched over a bit (like Wayne Gretzky) will require a lower lie number, like a 5, and players who skate more upright use sticks with higher lie numbers. A stick should be long enough for you to feel comfortable receiving and executing passes, and this is best determined by trying out different stick lengths. You might do this by trading sticks for a few days with your friends or team members. The old rule that your stick should come up to your chin is just a rough estimate, and is not a hard and fast rule. Finally, a rule that is usually quite sound is "the younger the player, the less curved the stick should be." It is easier for younger players to develop good passing skills with a stick that is straighter. As he matures and his skills develop, he can change sticks. Place your hands on the stick far apart enough to be comfortable, but the farther down the lower hand is, the more you will need to bend at the waist. So take a comfortable standing position and adjust your hands accordingly. To begin a pass, the puck is taken from behind the body and swept to the area of the midline of the body. When the puck is in this area, this is the critical time to ensure the puck will get to its target. Once it is through this area, shift your weight to the front leg and point the stick blade at the intended target. This last motion has the same effect as the follow through of a stroke in golf, ensuring that the puck is sent in the right direction. Practice a pass slowly, thinking through each step: start the puck toward the midline, center yourself and the target, and follow through. Remember that the motion is a sweeping motion, not a slapping motion. A slapped puck may dance across the floor instead of sliding, or may explosively get to a teammate before he is ready to receive the puck. If possible, aim "tape to tape", from your hockey stick to a teammate's hockey stick. If there is no one open, pass to an area that a teammate can skate to and receive the pass. If you practice these skills thoughtfully and slowly, you are guaranteed to become more comfortable and proficient in passing! Equipment and Warm-ups for New Hockey Players In order to play professional level hockey, you need great athleticism, stamina, courage, and skill. The very foundation of a hockey player at any level is good skating technique, and this is true whether you are playing in a peewee city league or on the professional circuit. This is a brief introduction to skates and warm-ups. To put it briefly, skating is ultimately an alternating, one-legged balancing act. Let's begin with the equipment you are balancing on, the proper pair of skates. If your feet are growing, a used pair that fits correctly is a much better choice than a larger, "top of the line" pair with room to grow. Your heel should rest flat in the back of each skate, and your big toe should barely touch the front portion of the toe cap. More room here is NOT beneficial. Ankle support is important, especially for young skaters. Either leather or man made material is fine, and depends upon the comfort level of the skater. Get good high grade steel blades, dry them off after each use, use skate guards if you walk across other surfaces with your skates. Keep a small sharpening stone in your hockey bag. Sharpen your blades as you need to, or when you get a nick in your blade Your best skating posture varies slightly from person to person, but everyone should have the proper posture, which includes bent knees and ankles with a proper weight distribution over the balls of the feet. LOOK FORWARD, not down at the ice, and keep proper alignment. From a front view you toe, knee, and chin should be in a line, and from the side your ankle, hip, shoulder, and head should be aligned. Many people admired Paul Coffey and his fluid style of skating, but Paul practiced this skating style for years. Before you start any ice hockey practice, make sure you do warm-up exercises. It is good to do these in full gear, as they improve balance and posture, as well as stretch out muscles. Your first stretches should be upper body stretches, keeping leg lunges and groin stretches until the end of the warm-up. Stretch out your upper body and shoulders with shoulder rolls and dips. Hold the hockey stick across your shoulders at the upper back, and turn at the waist for shoulder rolls, and dip to touch a right hand to a right knee (or left to left) for shoulder dips. Another important area to stretch is the lower back, which gets a lot of strain in a regular hockey game. Stretches that make your back curve strongly either concave (called seal stretches) or convex (where you bend forward with your chest near your thighs) will help this area of the body. Finally, do hamstring stretches and groin stretches (various leg lunges and sitting exercises) to complete your warm-up, and be ready to play ice hockey. For a complete guide to stretches, confer with your coach, or get a good book with a lot of diagrams or pictures. It is important to keep proper alignment when doing these stretches in order to protect your body, and have a great hockey match! Common Injuries To Hockey Players Everyone knows that hockey can be a rough and sometimes brutal sport to be involved with. There are a lot of injuries that are common to hockey players that are either a part of the game or some can be threatening to one's career. This is why so many hockey players are prone to a lot of injuries to the back, knees and arms and a plethora of other things as well. There are ten injuries that hockey players are prone to and they are: * Lower back problems * Head trauma * Neck strain * Tendonitis * Black eye * Broken teeth * Frostbite * Spinal cord injury * Broken bones It's these injuries that can resort to ending a player's career which has happened a lot in the NHL a lot of players end up cutting their careers short because of injuries due to repeated injuries to the same place over and over again for a course of years. This can also keep a player in pain for years on end and can escalate to chronic which requires them to be in some kind of physical therapy and pain management. It's not a pleasant thing for many athletes who have career ending injuries because they're constantly in pain that can sometimes be unbearable which can make their lives hard to deal with. Many athletes are also becoming too reliant on medications to fix problems and that too has caused issues. A lot of the common knee injuries are fixed with shots of cortisone which can cause erosion of the cartilage in the knees which can be serious and result in full or partial knee replacement when it gets to be to the point that tearing begins to set in. This is why a lot of physical and massage therapists can know right away what part of an athlete's body will eventually wear out because of the frequent repetitive moving they do during a game or even the training they do in the off season. The surgeries these athletes get are really the most painful things around they may fix the problem, but they can also cause pain to get worse over time to where it's chronic and persistent and can be bothersome making it difficult to sleep and do normal daily activities in and outside of the home. Many athletes are usually not good at accepting retirement especially due to injuries that can end a career, but many of them will not listen to a doctor when he or she tells them to rest and follow the self care instructions laid out for them so they can get the recuperation in so they can be back on the ice in a shorter amount of time. There's a reason doctors say this and that's so the body can take the time to heal itself from an injury and can allow the body to recuperate naturally without so much pain medication. Common Problems in Ice Hockey Skating Techniques A good hockey player depends upon a great skating technique to support his game. Let's look at the three main phases of the skating process in hockey, and bring up a few common mistakes that can be made in each phase. The first phase is the stride, or where the power comes from to glide forward. This action begins in the hip of the back leg, flows through the knee, and finishes in a full extension of the ankle. The leg and foot should be at about 45 degrees from the direction that you intend to skate, and the weight should be on the ball of the foot, and more to the inside edge of the blade. When the leg is fully extended, you should be able to visualize a straight line from the foot, through the leg and hip, all the way up to the shoulders. Don't do a lot of arm flailing, and keep only one hand on your stick if you do not have the puck. Common problems with the stride phase are that your stride skate comes off the ice before the leg is fully extended. Skate slowly around the rink to check to make sure that the leg is fully extended before you begin to bring it forward, to make sure you get the full power and speed from each stride. Also check that your ankles are essentially straight, and not leaning strongly in or out. If so, you might want to find a different pair of hockey skates that provide the amount of ankle support that you require. Make sure that your weight is more to the inside edge of the blade, and don't feel embarrassed about falling down when trying this. Do not point your toe straight down at the completion of the stride, for this upsets balance and decreases speed. Once the stride phase is complete, the next phase is when you glide on the forward foot. Weight should be over the ball of the foot, and the leg bent nearly 90 degrees. The rest of your body should have shoulders over hips and eyes forward, not down. This phase takes strong muscles, and it takes time to develop it well. The big problem here is balance, where your leg should be directly under the center of your body, your weight should be centered on the blade and not on the inside edge, and your head is up and over your support leg. The final phase is to get the back, or stride, leg underneath your body again. Slightly raise the hockey skate off the ice, and return the leg so that the skate points in the direction you want to go next. This gets you ready to use the other leg to begin the next stride phase. The biggest problem here is to avoid moving your body side to side, as that will disrupt your balance and slow you down. During the recovery phase, also make sure that the gliding skate stays flat and your weight does not move to the inside or outside edge of the hockey skate. These pointers should help improve your hockey skating technique. There are a number of good books that include drills to practice individual parts of the skating technique, and drills to strengthen your muscles. A Moment in Hockey History -- The Face Mask Many people will be surprised to learn that professional hockey goalies played without any face protection until nearly 1960. Pucks can be hit at speeds up to 160 mph, and goalies used to get bruises and gashes on their face regularly during a hockey game. The first goalie to wear a mask was Jacques Plante, a highly respected player with the Montreal Canadiens, and one of the legends of hockey. He was an odd fellow, prone to asthma attacks, and to getting more injuries than many other hockey players. He preferred reading books and painting over going to parties with his teammates. During his career, he had gotten more than two hundred facial stitches. In that era, a few hundred stitches were not highly unusual for a hockey player, but generally they were not just on the face. He also had had two broken cheekbones, four broken noses, and a fractured skull. Before Plante, several goalies had tried to use masks, but they were wire (similar to ones used by baseball catchers) and impaired vision to some extent. As the 1958 hockey season was coming to an end, Plante was injured when a puck hit his forehead. A member of the audience that worked in fiberglass wrote Plante a letter, and explained how he could make a mask molded to fit Plante's face, and strong enough to protect it. Plante agreed to sit as a model for the mask, and to wear it during the next hockey season. He brought it out during the preseason games, and was laughed at and criticized by the hockey community. His coach in Montreal was sure that the mask reduced his vision and asked him not to wear it. About two months later, Plante was in a game when someone hit a backhanded from the side of the net. There were too many players around the goal for Plante to see the puck, and the puck sliced into the side of his nose, which bled profusely. It took seven stitches to close the wound. Plante would not go into the next game unless he was allowed to wear his mask. Since the Canadiens were traveling, the rules at the time required the host team to provide a backup if the goalie became unable to play. Teams in the 1950s did not travel with backup goalies, and the goalie that the home team found was overweight, nearly forty years old, and had not played recently. The coach of the Canadiens decided to let Plante play, for he would be a much better choice for goalie even wearing his mask. The Canadiens won that game, three to one. Further, Plante contributed to the Canadiens winning the next eleven games in a row, all while wearing his mask. To make sure that the mask did not impair vision, his coach still required that Plante have an eye exam while wearing his specially designed mask. Two other goalies joined Plante that year, and slowly the practice spread. The last bare faced goalies were seen on the professional hockey circuit appeared in the early 1970s. The Origin of Ice Hockey, Skates and Rink Maintenance Ice hockey evolved and developed from the concept of field hockey that was played in Europe for hundreds of years. A McGill University student named J.G.A Creighton, as many of us know took the modern day version of ice hockey from its roots in Canada. He was the dubbed the 'grandfather' of ice hockey regulations since his rules were used in the first game of ice hockey played in Montreal in 1875. Around the 18th century the first rink or playing area for ice hockey was used in a game common at the time in Scotland called 'curling'. The original team line up consisted of 30 people on each side and their answer to a goal was frozen stones on both ends of the field which is known to us as goal lines. The rules of ice hockey were drafted at McGill University in Montreal in 1879 and by 1893 the sport of hockey had made its way to the United States and by the turn of the century in the 1900s hockey had slowly made its way to various parts of Europe and England. This also brought the birth of the first ice rink (mechanically-refrigerated) was built in 1876 called the Glaciarium, this place was built about 30 years before hockey had really implemented itself as a popular sport in England. Ice hockey in its infancy needed maintenance because the ice would be rough and difficult to skate on and they didn't have a zamboni machine, which was later invented in 1939 by Eureka, Utah native Frank Zamboni and later released, for commercial use in 1942 and since then more than 8,000 Zamboni resurfacing machines are used by professional, college, university, and recreational ice facilities to keep their rinks maintained. This was a long way from the birth of the automatic refrigerated rink, which required people to hand scrape the rink, which was time consuming. Until the Zamboni machine cut that time down drastically by being able to drive the length of a rink and have it smoothed out in virtually 15-20 minutes before and after use. The University of Minnesota was the recipient of the 8,000th Zamboni machine in 2005. It wasn't until 1867 when a factory foreman by the name of John Forbes developed the first steel bladed skate at the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based factory Starr Manufacturing Company and the prototype was a clip on design, but 13 years earlier James A. Whelpley had came out with the first "official" ice skate that was designed for long distance skating called the "Long Reach Skate". This skate got its name after an area along the St. John River in New Brunswick where James Whelpley and his family owned a factory that manufactured the skates. The skate along with Forbes' later modification of the skate had steel blades on them with the exception of Forbes' design that was changed to make the blade shorter for rink skating. Over the years more modifications followed to what we have as the modern skate today that's manufactured by companies like CCM (Canadian Cycle and Motor Company-established in 1889 out of Weston, Ontario, Canada)-the main supplier of hockey gear for many college, university, semi and pro hockey teams for their skates, and other Canadian-U.S. based companies like Bauer Sports to make the skates that are purchased by hockey enthusiasts all over the world today. Many hockey buffs are usually very selective in their skates because they want the best and top of the line skates since a serious hockey player will pay good money for skates. The Hockey Team of the Decade Let's go back twenty years to the Olympics of Lake Placid. It was 1980, and in those years the NHL hockey stars could not be chosen for the Olympics. The athletes were chosen at the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Co., where they went to demonstrate their skills. After rigorous training and months of playing together as a team, they were finally at the Olympics, and the chant "USA! USA!" was making the arena shake, as this team of young college men were about to upset Czechoslovakia by a score of 7 to 3. Czechoslovakia won the silver medal in the previous Olympics, and was the world champion team in both 1976 and 1978. This was only two days after the US team had battled to a 2 to 2 tie with Norway, another game no one really thought they had a chance to win. For the hockey faithful in America, this was starting to be the best Olympics since 1960. Maybe the crowd gave a home advantage to the hockey team, allowing them to put their emotions into the game so that it improved their play. As coach Herbie Brooks said, "We had our minds going flat-out and our legs under control." His style was hard and fast skating, and working together as a team, and in that game each player showed how well he understood that style of hockey. The Olympics ice hockey rink is 100 feet wide, which means there is a lot of open ice, and Coach Brooks style tended toward breaking toward open ice and skating hard. He had adopted the European style of hockey in order to be able to fight against it most effectively. As he said "We had to cram two or three years of experience playing this way into five months of exhibition games." There are always key players on hockey teams, and Coach Brooks knew he would need a very good goalie, who at times could give a superior performance. Jim Craig, the former Boston University goalie, came through against Czechoslovakia. The opposing team goalie, Jiri Kralik, did not have a good night. The entire US team was young, with an average age of twenty-two, and perhaps a young team did not have enough experience to know that they weren't skilled enough to beat the top European teams. When all of the teams arrived in Lake Placid, right wing Dave Silk spent some time looking over the other teams and nationalities. He saw that the Czechs had "Russian muscles", which meant that it wasn't hard for them to hold a defenseman at bay during the game. He found the East Germans the most unsettling, for they used their spare time to play a game called Submarine, where they kept sinking American battleships. Coach Brooks knew that his team was comparing themselves and told them "You go up to the tiger, spit him in the eye, and then shoot him." The strong hand of the coach, the amazing effort of the young team, and the enthusiasm of the crowd allowed the team to bring home the gold medal. A Hockey Great -- Wayne Gretzky Wayne Gretzky was acknowledged as one of the all time great hockey players by nearly everyone when he broke several of Gordie Howe's records. He became the all time leading scorer with his 802nd goal, and also the all time point-getter when he got his 1852nd point. Wayne was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and his father built a backyard ice rink when Wayne was six years old. He practiced daily for hours, with his dad teaching him the skills of skating, shooting, and stickhandling. Even at the age of six, Wayne was playing on a team of ten year olds, far beyond the normal skill range of a six year old. One year he got 378 goals on a peewee team, and earned the nickname "The White Tornado" because of his talents and his white gloves. Wayne moved to Toronto at the age of fourteen to have more opportunities in hockey, and at 16 played in the World Junior Championship. He was thought too small and slight to even make the Canadian team, but once there, he was named top center and was the leader in scoring for the entire competition. Wayne knew that he wanted to play professional hockey, but at 17 was too young for the minimum NHL draft age of 20, so he signed a contract with the Indianapolis Racers. That hockey team had financial troubles, and so Gretzky was moved to the Edmonton Oilers, where he became universally noticed. In his first year at Edmonton he attracted a lot of notice, but only won one hockey trophy that year, the Hart Trophy. The next year, 1980, began Wayne's march to claim many of the hockey statistics as his own. He won his first scoring title, and made a new assists record of 109, to surpass Bobby Orr. The following year, he went past Phil Esposito's record of 76 goals in one season, which many people had thought would stand forever. Gretzky scored 92 goals in one season, which many people now view as simply impossible to break. He also registered 212 points in a season, and he is the only player to ever have done that. He is the only hockey player to break 200 points in a season, and he repeated that feat for four seasons. Gretzky had a few signature moves. He was known for not using a man skating ahead of him, but instead using the trailing man on rushes. When the team had a penalty, Gretzky did not ice the puck in a defensive role, but rather tried to surprise the other team by scoring shorthanded. He would also skate past the blue line and then curl, where he would wait for a defensemen to join him and create a real scoring chance. "Gretzky's office" was the area behind the other team's goal, because he made so many perfect passes for scoring opportunities from there. After playing with several teams, Wayne Gretzky ended his professional hockey career with the New York Rangers in the 1998-1999 season. The National Hockey League retired his number 99, a fitting tribute to a remarkable player. African-Americans in the NHL African-Americans have lost a lot of their history due to slavery and racism before during and after the civil rights movement. Yet history was made when a Canadian-born black man named Willie O'Ree who played 41 games (3 1/2 years/seasons) with the Boston Bruins and this was 1958 at a time blacks didn't have much ground in the world since this was a milestone since hockey was a white male dominated sport and for O'Ree since at the time he started his career he was 23 years old. The sport hockey was about 10 years late when it came to integration of minorities in the NHL because all the other sports had already made the transition by the 1950. Hockey was the only sport holding out since it was what you called the whitest sport ever since they had no black players, team owners, or sportswriters. O'Ree was crossing lines many blacks of his time had a heck of a time playing and being taken seriously in sports. Blacks have not made their place in the hockey world again for nearly 30 years. It wasn't until 1998 that Willie O'Ree was formally acknowledged for his groundbreaking historical position as the first black in the NHL and was appointed director for youth development for the NHL/USA Hockey diversity task force where he goes all over the country establishing programs with different teams. This was a milestone that was long overdue to happen because the face of sports would show some sign that the walls of racism and segregation have started to crumble down. When someone who lived in a time where the color of your skin limited you to advance in something, but it was one man who stepped out of the confinements of racism and segregation to be one of the best players in the NHL. Today's NHL has recruited people of other ethnic backgrounds to the pro teams that currently make up the team list. It's showing that it's not just whites who made the NHL it's the fact that more opportunities in the league now more than ever with how they're recruiting players, team managers, and other areas of the league. When you remove racism and segregation the world of opportunity looks brighter for those who are of a different ethnic background to feel like they can succeed in another area of the sports world. Hockey will definitely improve with time to allow other ethnic groups to be recruited to play hockey. Until then it will be a majority black and white issue in the league and that's up to the world to demand to see the full equality that should be in the league and around not just players, team owners/management, but also stretching itself to the audience the sport is trying to draw in to diversify the sport to be a sport anyone can play and enjoy watching. Willie O'Ree spends much of his time in San Diego since he left the league when his knee was so bad that later on he had to undergo a full knee replacement, but his time is spent traveling the country lecturing and working his position as director of youth development for the NHL's diversity task force. With O'Ree's current position this should set the league in the right direction in terms of diversifying the sport of hockey. Diversity has opened the door for people of all ethnicities to enjoy and it's a shared interest across the board for all ages. Some make it a family event to incorporate a single sport and in a region where hockey is popular it's the choice sport for some people. The History of Hockey This unique sport of using a stick and a hard rubber puck has pretty unique history going back as far as 17th and 18th century England. In the Irish term it was coined as 'hockie', and over time it's made its way to what it is today. The sport over time had acquired a pretty high charged and chaotic competitive side. Whole villages would play against each other and according to what was noted in history it was an expression of pride and manhood and up to 100 people would participate in the games played. The game would last nearly 2 months and it resulted in many people getting seriously hurt and injured. The umpire (don't know why they used this term which is normally addressed in baseball) would only make calls when the team requested the umpire to do so and they were basically mute spectators. Later 'umpires' became referees, which is the common term used in the sport of hockey. After a few years and some advancements in the sport with the implementation revising the rules and that's when it was limited to 30 players per team when modern day NHL hockey teams have a total of 22 players that are sent out in increments of 6 players. The first real hockey organization kind of like a prototype to what is known as the NHL (National Hockey League) in today's terms began around 1875 when Eton College had been the originators of the official rules (regulations in NHL speak) to bring order and maintain sanity in the game which was the setting for the modernized rules and regulations that the NHL currently uses to this day. The early form of rules actually drew on the idea of giving the referee more authority to make calls during a game, which made the game a lot more organized and improved the quality of how the game is played. The whole sport of hockey has been through a transformation in terms of how its development is concerned. Fast-forward to today and hockey is played under strict regulations and guidelines, which goes across the board for all the teams in the NHL. The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded in 1917 so the league has only been active for 100 years as of November 16th, 2007 when the anniversary of its establishment is commemorated. The league actually started with a group of small expansion teams out of Canada, and it wasn't until the 1920s that the United States had entered the league since the Boston Bruins hosted the Montreal Canadians in the first official game on American soil. Since then the league has grown to a total of 30 pro teams and that doesn't count the expansion teams that are established and growing as new teams forms over time. The league went through lots of changes beginning with a handful of Canadian teams and it's since grown into 30 teams across the United States and Canada for the past 100 years. The teams and their regulations had changed in the last 100 years with new requirements for drafting and regulations throughout the league for each team. Teams today are more likely to recruit new players from colleges, universities, and minor league teams. The way the draft worked before was that they allowed walk-ons and that was more than 25 years ago so standards of the draft has changed since then with the exception is that they don't accept everyone and records are what play a huge part in the scout's decision to offer a spot on the team. Athletes Who Buy Into The NHL Franchise In terms of ownership and operation of a team most of the teams in the NHL are owned by private people and investors, but only one player so far has sole ownership of a NHL franchise and that's Mario Lemieux who played 17 years (1984-2006) with the Pittsburgh Penguins and when the team was in jeopardy with bankruptcy he purchased the team in 1999. This was 7 years before his retirement from the team. He was called by most to be the next "Wayne Gretzky" because he was equally talented as Wayne Gretzky who basically started his playing career from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and finishing out his career with the New York Rangers. Gretzky too also has ownership (partial) of the professional team the Phoenix Coyotes since his retirement in 1999. There's a lot to be said since athletes who turn around and invest in the teams they devoted years to a successful career with for so many years tend to bring back a bigger crowd because the status of being an owner is an even bigger place in the sport of hockey. After 17 seasons Lemieux had defiantly earned his place in the hockey world since he owns the Penguins and what person could be better fitted since he knows the team from the inside out and can appoint the right people to recruit talented players to the team. Owning a team is a lot of work and can be expensive and risky if you don't know what you're doing to bring in the crowd needed to make a team successful. Many people don't see the actual price tag it takes to operate and run an NHL franchise. You're looking at between $50-75 million dollars to own and operate a team and that doesn't include the cost of renting a facility where the games are played at since the numbers would be through the roof if you had to do the math on that one. Milwaukee doesn't have a hockey team for the very reason explained it was a financial issue and having done a survey there was a huge lack of interest. The interest level would be much higher if they had someone like Wayne Gretzky or some well known NHL legend either co-owning or is the sole owner of a team then there would be a chance for Milwaukee to actually consider the idea because then the investors won't feel like they'll lose money on a project that isn't really going anywhere if there's no standing or interest in it. Not to mention the main focus would be the financial projections for the next 5 to 10 seasons because the idea of having a franchise in the NHL is to make money and be a winning team. It's when you see teams going into bankruptcy because usually that indicates low ticket sales over a course of years or in a single season to not packing them in and looking at attendance and other factors as well such as merchandise sales. It's not a pretty sight when teams end up being bought or sold by people, but they seem to have a chance of surviving when the owner is a popular player because the name alone will draw in some serious revenue when people know that a former professional player is the owner of a team that does win.
Ice Hockey in Movies, Television, and Music Hockey has really made a stand in movies and like all of the major sports; hockey plays a huge role in American pop culture. Though it is the least most popular sport, a few Hollywood films have been made about hockey. Like the 1984 film Youngblood when the sport of hockey was at its peak during the late 70s and through the 80s and then when 1992 was when the Mighty Ducks was released to introduce hockey to a new generation of sports enthusiasts. Either way the sport has made itself profitable in film to keep people interested especially the hockey fans that didn't get the recognition before the films were made about this sport. Hockey also crossed over into American television from shows like Cheers to Home Improvement and even NYPD Blue with characters either making references to being fans of hockey or having something in their environment to tell the audience that they like the sport. Recent shows like Rescue Me featured some scenes of people playing hockey as a part of a charity event. Hockey is so popular in Canada that it's a very important part of Canadian culture. It always features Canadian-produced shows and furthermore it's launched a new genre of reality and scripted shows since the United States hasn't really attempted to create a reality show about the sport of Hockey since they've covered everything from law enforcement to talent shows, but not the sport of hockey. Film director Kevin Smith who's a big hockey fan always manages to add in some reference to the sport in his films Mallrats, Jersey Girl, and a couple others it's kind of like Spike Lee using the technique of the background moving to make it look like the people are walking and in conversation or thought it's kind of like Smith's trademark film making technique. Yet hockey is still not nearly as popular as basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, and golf, but it's slowly coming into its own. Cartoons have come into making hockey a part of it's story lines like Peanuts where Snoopy who's well known by any one who's a fan of the Peanuts cartoon that he loves ice hockey and many comic strip frames feature him playing the sport with his constant companion Woodstock. The only other cartoon that had a reference to hockey was in the show The Simpsons where Lisa was playing in a hockey match. Hockey has also stepped into the world of music as well with known singers like Warren Zevon and Stompin' Tom Connors. Hockey has been an integral part of American and Canadian culture in some way shape and form, but it has boosted the popularity of the sport among the people who are fans of it greatly and it will continue to rise in years to come. It's usually those who live in cold climates that will appreciate such a sport as hockey. Hockey's history spans many years, but in Canada it's a way of life just as football and basketball are a way of life in America, Canadians appreciate the action and how it brings people out to have a good time and enjoy a sporting event that's a national pastime like baseball. For most Canadians its hockey and beer exactly how Americans like their professional sports games and the majority of the hockey movies made was around the time Hollywood was going through that phase where films were being made about sports, books, video games, songs, and historical time periods. The Mighty Ducks was the most recent in the last 15 years of a rehashing of hockey themed movies. A Hockey Coach to Remember herbert Brooks coached the miracle hockey team of the Olympics of 1980. He had skated in two Olympic teams himself, was a long time college hockey coach, and spent 1979 looking for recruits for the team. In 1980, the US did not recruit NHL stars, for the players were still of entirely amateur status. Herbie Brooks went to the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Co in 1979 and found those players who were the most willing to adapt to his style of hockey playing. His style was to skate hard and fast and work together as a team, with no individual standouts. He gave them psychological tests as well as physical ones, and tried to determine which players could not play together due to intense regional rivalry. Hockey was strong in only a few places back in 1980, and the rivalry between the University of Minnesota and Boston University was intense, culminating in a 1976 NCAA semifinal that was one of the nastiest college games played until that point. Twelve of the young men he was considering for the team were from Minnesota, and Brooks had coached nine of them at the University of Minnesota. Four were from Boston University, and Brooks was not sure if they could forget their regional allegiance to play together for the Olympic team as a true team. The Easterners thought that Brooks was especially hard on them, but the men who had skated under Brooks said that his motto was "I'm here to be your coach; I'm not here to be your friend." Brooks was given a whip by the team as a gag gift for Christmas. To get the team to work together, Brooks had six weeks of training camp, and then sixty-one hockey games played all over Europe and America during a five month period. Brooks ran them ragged, criticized them, and left the morale building to his assistant coaches. During this five month period he went over and over the team plans, looking for how to play the perfect game of hockey. When the team was winning, he congratulated them, but kept working over the plans. When the team tied, as they did in Norway, he was disgusted with the lack of effort. After the game was over, he told his players "If you don't want to skate during the game, then you'll skate after it." And the team did just that, skating line sprints: end line to blue line and back, end line to red line and back, end line to end line and back. The crowd left, the janitors turned out the lights, and still the team skated. The next night, the team won, 9 to 0. Herbert Brooks died in an automobile accident on August 11, 2003. His Lake Placid team came to pay their respects to a hard taskmaster, but a beloved and respected coach. As they said in the eulogy "Herbie had a dream. And his players had a dream." He pursued that dream to the remarkable gold medal team of Lake Placid in 1980. When Hockey Players Were Tough To find hockey players that could brave exhaustion, hockey fights, and sleet and snow, we have to go way back to 1905 and an early Stanley Cup contest. The Stanley Cup had started in 1892, and in those days there was no playoff structure, so an opposing team could simply issue a challenge to the reigning champion. The team from Ottawa presently held the title, and a team from Dawson City in the Klondike issued a challenge to Frank McGee and his Ottawa team. The Klondike in the Alaskan wilderness that was having a gold rush just like the one in California in the 1840s. Adventurers and people looking to strike it rich rushed into the area, and one of the lucky ones, Colonel Joe Boyle, issued a challenge to the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Stanley Cup. The Silver Seven were known for their physical and sometimes cruel playing style, but this rough and tumble town felt they were up to the match. The team had raised the $3000 they needed to get to Ottawa, and now they just needed to get a few more players. They picked up Albert Forrest, a seventeen-year-old goalie, and the youngest player in Stanley Cup history. In the middle of their journey the rag-tag hockey team picked up their last team member. The journey started in mid December in the frozen north, leaving Dawson City by dogsled. The team covered about forty miles a day, and temperatures got as low as twenty-eight degrees below zero. Travel by dogsled requires that you walk alongside the sleds for large stretches of time, and most of the team got sore feet and blisters on this part of the trip. They arrived near Juneau, Alaska too late for the weekly steamboat, and waited a week for the next boat to Seattle. The hockey team finally got to Vancouver, where they caught the train to take them to Ottawa. As the train traveled across the Canadian north, towns were alerted that the hockey team was coming, and they were met at the station by enthusiastic crowds that cheered them on. It took twenty-four days to go from Dawson City to Ottawa, and the visiting hockey team arrived only one day before the Stanley Cup competition was scheduled to begin. Tired from travel, the train, and the dogsled, they asked for an extension. The Ottawa Silver Seven said no, and so the contest of three hockey matches began the next day. Ottawa won the first game nine to two. That evening one of the Klondikers remarked that the legendary McGee of the Silver Seven, who was blind in one eye, "didn't look like much", since he had scored only one goal. The remark was reported to McGee, who responded in Game 2 with fourteen goals total, including eight goals in a row. The final score for Game 2 was twenty-three to two. One of the most difficult trips to get to a Stanley Cup competition ended in the worst rout of any game in its history. And the final blow for Forrest, the youngest of the Klondikers: once he was back in Alaska, he had to walk the final 350 miles to his home. Hockey Players Mismanaging Their Money Athletes make a lot of money playing hockey for the NHL through endorsements for lots of things from clothes to cars. The problem with a lot of professional athletes is their insatiable need to spend a lot of money. What really is amazing is how they live above and beyond their means when usually the people that spend excessively like that are the ones who haven't really experienced having money in abundance. Many athletes also make the mistake of making poor business choices and investing their money into things they don't really do a really full and through amount of research before they hand over the check. Many athletes don't have smart people working to help protect their money. Smart investing is what few athletes learn since many of them are not with college degrees and had gone professional before they had the chance to finish their studies. Part of the thing that isn't emphasized is the importance of having an education because many kids look up to athletes and think that it's cool to do what they're doing when you need an education to get anywhere in the world. Some athletes are so corrupted with elements around them from having people telling them about opportunities that are not the best to invest in. The money that athletes make are not being invested wisely so that they can have money to live on in case their career ends due to injury or retirement. The sad thing is they go from making 7 figures and up to almost nothing. Many well known name athletes have dropped from the scene when they lose everything they have because of poor investments and associations with people who are only interested in hanging out with you only because you're famous and have money. Real friends are not going to focus primarily on what you have, and they have your best interest at heart. Also people who care about you won't allow people who are going to bring nothing positive to your life to be around. The problem with most professional athletes is that their egos can get blown up pretty bad mainly due to groupies feeding their egos with things that make no kind of sense. The money is great, but people forget that money can't always buy you happiness and in a pro athlete's mind regardless of sport whether it's baseball or hockey the rules still apply across the board. The people that they hire are mismanaging their money because of cases where managers were squandering money when they were supposed to be busy paying their client's bills and expenses. This is where many athletes need to really screen those who handle their money because you got people that aren't honest and will steal from you and won't even know it until you start getting notices from creditors or even being sued and that's the only time athletes have the sense to look over their books when money is missing from their accounts. The strange thing is that many athletes aren't aware of what they sign most of the time until they're really in a clench when they have financial obligations to meet. That's why most of the time athletes rely on their managers and laywers to do all the decision making when they need to also learn about where their money is going and who they are paying for jobs and services rendered. When athletes are not educated about money and sensible spending they can end up in a position where they won't have a dime left to their name. Hockey At The International Level Since the conception and foundation of Hockey, this sport has crossed from Canada-the birthplace of the sport and across the pond to Europe and back to the United States. As far as competition at the international level. The international men's ice hockey world championships are highly regarded by Europeans and less regarded by Americans because it coincides at the same time the Stanley cup playoffs happen. Unfortunately, Canada, United States, and other countries with a large concentration of NHL players have not always been able to round up their best because many top players are playing for the Stanley cup trophy. For many years professionals were barred from playing at the international level, and now that many Europeans are playing for the NHL, the world championships no longer represent the world's top players. Hockey was an event that's been a part of the Olympic games since 1924 with Canada winning 6 out of 7 gold medals, United States won the gold medal in 1960, Russia won all, but 2 gold medals between 1956 and 1988, but it was professional Americans, Swedish, Finnish, and Canadians that were banned from Olympic competition. U.S. non-pro college students went on to beat the Russians and win the gold medal in 1980 in Lake Placid, New York. It was then that a new surge in the popularity of the game that most Americans weren't paying too much attention to. The 1972 and 1974 Summit series had solidified Canada and Russia as hockey rivals. The Canadian Cup where the best of the best nations were able to play later followed it. The Canadian cup later became the World Cup of Hockey with the United States winning in 1996 and Canada winning in 2004. Since 1998 NHL professionals have played in the Olympics giving the top players more opportunity to compete and face off with other professional players from different countries. There have been 9 women's competitions and women's hockey has been in the Olympics since 1998 and in the winter of 2006 marked the world championship or Olympic face with Canada and Sweden not Canada and the United States. Women are coming into the fold on own in this sport and are competing just as hard as males. Females still have a long way to go in terms of really being there with males at the domestic and international levels. Hockey was always that sport dominated by males and yet women still have long way before they're really taken seriously in the hockey world. Hockey is still enjoyed by millions of people in Canada and the United States and still to this day still breaking attendance records by the throngs of loyal fans who still love this sport and has made it a family tradition to go to games and for it becoming a pastime like Americans treat baseball, football and basketball. Hockey to some people is like poetry on ice it's got its own set of rules and it's a separate world altogether from any other sport whether its professional or not. Hockey to some people is like the air they breathe and people really can get into this sport like it's a soap opera. The whole concept of hockey is just what it is people playing a pretty heavy game that can very physically demanding since you have so many different personalities you're going up against. Some people will spend hours playing hockey well into the late hours since some rinks will stay open to accommodate those hockey buffs who want to spend 2-3 hours thrashing around a cold rink slapping a hard rubber circle around. Hockey Players And The Groupies Who Chase Them When hockey players first start off in the NHL they're pulled in many different directions since they're making all this money and have no idea that the kind of friends they're dealing with are people that are not the kind of people you want around. This goes into the kind of women who end up trapping a lot of hockey players and many of them are addressed as "Puck Bunnies" these are what you call hockey's term for groupies. Many pro athletes are the prime target of these kinds of females who are more interested in them for the financial and sexual aspect. Many of the athletes who are married or dating are with women who started off as groupies. Most of them are young girls 18-25 and most of them are not really educated because women who are educated would not settle for the role of a side dish. These kinds of women will hang out near the locker room or try to get seats on the ground floor so they're accessible to the players. Most of the time these women are just looking for something to brag about. Many of them discuss their sexual escapades with professional athletes as if it's some kind of game to them. Some of those games include getting pregnant by the players and then attempting to latch on to them by demanding child support and maintenance because to them a couple grand or more a month is more than what most normal women who are not involved with someone famous gets for child support. Classic example of a groupie of one woman who carried on an affair with Michael Jordan, but she tried to pin a child on him which later proved wasn't his because she had 3 kids and all of them had different fathers who played in the NBA on different teams. Women will resort to this kind of behavior and then when the athlete is tired of them he casually disposes of them like a used Kleenex because most of these players only see them as a sexual conquest. This is why the leagues have gotten together to do in-service meetings with new and some players who have been there at least 2 years about how to conduct themselves since coaches see a lot of good players get burned by these women who are not even worth bothering themselves with. The hard thing is that team management can only provide the players with tools to exercise caution and to know how to spot women that are like that and know how to avoid them, but you have those athletes who's egos get them into trouble. When the coaches and team management tell these rookie players what the deal is they're telling them how to avoid getting caught up with females who's goal is to get a baby and some money since they don't really care about the athletes in general they just want to say they've been with one it's more about the status and bragging rights. Most athletes who have a close connection with trusted family and friends will more likely stay on the right track and keeps their head in the right place as well because many players get caught up and wonder later how they even got there in the first place. Many athletes have said publicly that they regret messing around with groupies because of the problems they bring when they're dragged through the mud with court hearings and other legal things and most of the time the groupies find it entertaining to drag an athlete through a lot of drama and stress. Hockey Players And Charity Causes Many athletes through their careers are encouraged to participate in charity events to give back to the world. Many have started foundations in their name to devote awareness, money and time to causes they believe in. Many of them do charity events from education to social awareness it's whatever cause that's close to their heart many of them do charity causes that are of a personal nature because of someone they know or a loved one that may have been stricken with a disease or illness to bring awareness for cures. Many of them will go out into the community to volunteer their time by hosting events or holding events in their name for specific causes. This is one of the many things the NHL stands behind is the players giving back to the community and being role models to the kids who look up to them. There are some players who don't need to be in the league if they can't exhibit behavior of a real role model to kids who look up to them. The bad thing is that the athletes who engage in lifestyles that result in negative publicity this is what hurts not only them, but the reputation they stand behind if they have charity foundations in their name. There's too many athletes to name individually who have foundations in their hands, but you usually know they're out there on that players' respective website. It's always important to keep in mind that charity events also provide a chance for players to connect with their fans because without the fans they'll be nothing since fans make the star and the star's way to thank the people behind him since the worst thing to do is ruin that reputation with scandalous behavior and lifestyle choices. Athletes that are really about making a difference will not engage in things that will bring negative publicity to them. Some athletes as a part of their charity work is to volunteer their time to sports clinics where children and young adults can take part in. This gives kids the chance to meet some of their favorite players and to have a chance to hang out with them for a few hours and learn a few tricks of the sport. It's proven that kids who have positive role models fair better than those who don't have exposure or someone they can call a role model. It's important for many of these athletes to understand the roles they step into when they become famous and popular because part of being a celebrity is to take what is considered a respectable thing and use it for the greater good of other people. The idea of charity work was something that's always been a long standing tradition with many of the professional sports leagues because there's a huge responsibility behind making a lot of money, but you also have to understand that there are people in the world less fortunate and many of these athletes especially ones who are new to the world of pro sports they have no clue to what it means to be charitable until it's explained to them over time. Most of the time groupies will pull no stops especially for athletes who do charitable things on behalf of the team and their private foundations. You can find the charity websites of athletes on their official websites. Top Attendance Records In Hockey And Number Of Registered Players Thousands of people attend a single hockey match, but there are two matches in hockey that are the top two for a single game. The first match took place on October 6th 2001 for a game commonly known to fans of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University as 'The Cold War'. This season opener took place at Michigan State's outdoor Spartan stadium. The university spent $500,000 on a sheet of ice for the rink and the temperature was 30 degrees, and the game drew in a crowd of 74,554 spectators over the 55,000 spectators at the championship game between Sweden and Russia when the game took place in Moscow, but the date is unknown. The largest single crowd to view an NHL game was during the November 23rd, 2003 Heritage Classic was when 57,163 spectators attended the match between the Montreal Canadians and Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Montreal defeated Edmonton 4-3. The only thing that makes this match stand out is that it was the only NHL game played outdoors since all NHL matches are played at indoor rinks. The megastars game which is known as the old timer's match with former players of the Oilers and the only game that Wayne Gretzky has played since his retirement from professional hockey and insists that the game would be his official and last. Local hockey games usually don't draw in the number of people that professional hockey teams can draw in during a single game. That's because more people are apt to want to attend professional events than a minor league or college/university match since there's more of a bigger interest in professional sports than a local team unless you're rooting for your hometown, but on the realistic scale most people find the thrill and excitement bigger for those at professional events. The top two countries with registered hockey players are Canada with 543,390 registered players in the country and the United States comes second with 435,737 registered players. Slovenia comes in last with 980 registered players so that clearly shows the Canada and the United States are the most popular areas to play hockey since they have the most people registered in each country. Hockey is and always will be the most popular sport in Canada and the United States since it draws in the most crowds because of the unique players the get from other countries since not a lot of Americans are playing professional hockey they're more likely to play baseball, basketball, and football than professional ice hockey The only reason being is that ice hockey starts in the fall the same time basketball and football begin so there's some competition for audience participation and television coverage, but hockey gets their share of loyal viewers and audience attendees. The only team so far that's having a hard time winning a Stanley cup championship is the Chicago Black hawks since they haven't won a single championship since 1961 over 40 years ago so they could join the ranks of the other local Chicago pro teams that won championships in the last 35 years. Articles past described Chicago has having the worst record in games and attendance until the team was bought and the new owner had made some changes over time that had turned the attendance deal around, but it still doesn't stop the fact that the Black hawks have not won a championship since 1961 and barely even made it to the playoffs at the end of the season since they were usually out the first round. How the Strike Changed National Hockey League Rules Back in 2004 many people rang the bell of doom on the National Hockey League, as it missed a season due to player and management differences. Many people said that a sport that misses a whole season and that emphasized brute strength over skill would never recover. However, in the past few years hockey fans have found much to be pleased with, and teams that are both skillful and entertaining. When the National Hockey League started up again in 2005 it made several rule changes in order to restructure parts of the game, and to regain hockey fans that loved the skill and finesse of Olympic style hockey games. The first area they addressed was stricter enforcement of longstanding rules. Any player who uses their stick hand or free hand to slow any opposing player will be penalized. This includes hooking, holding, tripping, cross checking and interference. For several years prior to 2005 there were a number of bear hugs and wrestling matches that were not quickly stopped by a referee, and this slowed down the speed of the game. The new rules include also added two ways to break a tie that ends a regular game. Five additional minutes are played 4-on-4, and if the game remains tied at the end of those five minutes, a shootout determines the winner. This does make the end of the hockey game much more exciting, except that now the final scores of the game are not as useful a tool to rank different hockey teams. Some fans and NHL officials view this as pandering to the crowd, just to get them excited about their team winning the game. US professional hockey players once could not pass from their own defensive zone, across the red line at center, and all the way to the opposing blue line. Now that these long passes are allowed, the speed and tactics of the games have changed: there are more quick attacks and less use of the forecheck. The goalie has less goalie padding, which makes goalies look more like their hockey ancestors of the fifties. Also, goalies before 2005 were able to have a good deal of puck control while in their zone. They could hand it off to a teammate, shoot it out when they got it and make a forward pass. Since there are goaltender interference rules, a goalie could do any of these things without any interference from the other team. Goalies now have very limited puck handling, except in the zone directly behind the net. Several other changes include moving the blue lines closer together, to be only 50 feet apart, and the ability for players to "tag up" and go back to the blue line so they will not be considered being offside, and eliminating a offside whistle. These changes have made higher scoring hockey games, and have emphasized the skill and the ice skating speed of the players, rather than their muscles and defensive ability. These changes in the rules have made an even larger fan base that is not put off by the brawling image of earlier NHL hockey games. Pro Hockey Games That Are Not On Television The one thing that people who are not economically savvy is that people invest $213 billion dollars just in professional sports, alone which only makes up 1/8 of the national economy. It takes about $70 million+ to operate a single NHL franchise despite the popularity of a team. This is why so many teams have resorted to raising ticket prices due to a number of factors low television exposure due to getting out bidded by other networks for broadcast rights to that teams games, increases in ticket prices due to team franchises trying to draw in crowds to more games in the season since the majority of their revenue comes from ticket and merchandise sales during games, freezing of work opportunities and even when popular players or team management get fired, traded, or dropped. This can affect attendance since some players have such a mass fan base that if people are not just paying to see a game they're paying to see their favorite player(s) as well. It's like that theory with the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan made a comment about the fact that he's the reason the team was selling out season after season even during the 6 years the Bulls won the NBA championship because he was the most popular and favorite player for many of the spectators who came to games throughout the season. Many NHL owners would air games locally, but when you're getting out bid by other teams for a single network to exclusively air their games it can be like an auction selling cattle where single teams are single handedly trying to win years-lengthy contracts in broadcasting games locally and nationally. Mostly satellite companies like Dish Network and Directv are getting the broadcasting rights to air games overseas. Sportsvision and ESPN are the only networks that air games for various sports, but NHL hockey is aired on Comcast as a package people can purchase to watch so many games for one price instead of airing it on regular television. The owner of the Chicago Black hawks refused to air games on local television apparently in attempt to bring crowds back to see the Black hawks play at the United Center. An article dating back to 2003 addressed the possibility of bringing an NHL franchise to Milwaukee Wisconsin to join the ranks of pro teams Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers. The main reason was that there wasn't an interest from the city or anyone who planned to invest the $50 million dollar price tag to the cost of starting up a franchise. This was information taken off a survey issued in 1990 to find out the level of interest people would have for possibly bringing a professional hockey franchise to Wisconsin. The idea wouldn't sound too bad since they got the weather and surely there's got to be throngs of people there who live for the sports you play in the wintertime and what good is winter if you can't have hockey to go along with it? Anyone who's a serious snow buff has to have a regular schedule of hockey games with friends or family to spar off with. Some people go to the rink 2-4 times a week during the hockey season or in some cases year round if you're really into training like a professional hockey player. Most people like playing year round, which keep them in shape if they play in small local leagues or a full-assembled team. Most small teams usually play year round if it's just a few friends getting together for a couple hours. Women in Hockey Ice hockey has increased in popularity in women's sports with the number of participants increasing by 400% in the last decade. It wasn't until 1998 when women's hockey was added as a medal event at the winter games in Nagano, Japan. The United States won gold that year with Canada winning silver and Finland coming in last with bronze. The minor difference in women's hockey and men's hockey is that there's no body checking in women's hockey. After a 1990 hockey match body checking was eliminated all together in women's hockey due to the fact that female players in some countries don't have the body mass and size that many North American players. With the rising number of females who are almost half the size and shape of their male counterparts it's making them just as equal as their male counterparts. In some matches body checking is a minor penalty, which is enforceable at the referee's discretion. Full-face guards are required in female hockey matches. The first women's team was formed in 1921, but since then women have only played in small independent leagues since there's no professional league for women like they do for basketball. In time there will be a chance for women to go professional in the United States in hockey, yet that's a long ways away. Women have made their mark in the sporting world by taking on a sport that's been predominantly male since it was invented in the 18th century and has since carried an audience that spreads to many parts of the world. Women are moving up the ranks quickly in terms of their participation and the formation of teams, and it's just a matter of time and acceptance of women entering this sport. If women could enter the world of professional basketball and play domestically instead of going overseas then it's just a matter of introducing hockey into this country in the same fashion. It hasn't been an easy journey for women to enter this sport because of the constant scrutiny of women playing sports that were mostly reserved for men to participate in. Women still deal with the inequality in this sport because people still view women differently than they do for men. Males dominated this sport since the sport was invented more than 100 years ago, but recently with the 100-year anniversary since the foundation of the National Hockey League (NHL). It would sound strange if they had a professional league called the WNHL since they managed to establish the WNBA for women's basketball. It would be pretty cool to see women have a leg in the professional world of hockey since women can play just as hard as a man and be just as good as her male counterparts, if given a chance to prove herself. Unfortunately, the world hasn't really accepted women in professional sports since it was a long journey to get basketball on the map, now it's just getting the world to be open to professional hockey league for women. A woman can play just has hard as the guys if not better, but the world still don't agree that women shouldn't play sports that has been dominated by males for more than 100 years and women should have the opportunity to play hockey professionally like males do. Females had to break the glass ceiling to even push for the opportunity to play professional sports in America, but it started with basketball and now hopefully hockey will establish itself one day as a professional sport that's played the same way in the NHL. Women's Hockey Teams Women's hockey has made a place for itself in the last twenty years. It has become an accepted and well-played sport in a number of countries, from the US and Canada to Europe and down to Australia. The first women's international hockey tournament was in the year 1916 in Ohio, between teams from Canada and the United States. This continued through the years until the middle 1970s when Europe and Korea, Japan, and China started participating in international hockey tournaments. A number of women's teams at various levels tour other countries, with teams of teenage girls playing a number of exhibition games in Switzerland, Australia, and other locations. National teams at the professional level also gain experience and publicity by doing hockey exchanges, often organized by USA Hockey. The US Women's Select Team has done tours to Finland, Sweden, China, etc. Women's hockey is earmarked by fast skating, remarkable stickhandling, swift passing, good puck protection, accurate shooting, and quick goaltending. It is exciting hockey, and cleanly demonstrates the pure principles of hockey. In the 1990s there was some dispute whether bodychecking should be allowed in the international championships for women's hockey. It had been disallowed in both the US and Canada in order for the size difference to become less of an issue, so that smaller or younger players would not be overpowered physically, and be able to use their skills. Europe allows it, and bodychecking would also let the European teams slow down the faster skating US and Canadian players. Since the early 1970s, the American Girls Hockey Association has lobbied to have women's ice hockey included as an Olympic event. There were many discussions on the issue, due to several real problems. The first was the difference between European and American rules, such as the bodychecking rule above. Another was the worry that the different countries did not have enough participants in women's ice hockey, that the same few teams would not have enough depth to give really exciting games. Finally, women's ice hockey was accepted as an Olympic event for the 1998 Olympics. How does a girl become a good enough ice hockey player to try out for a national team? The first step for a number of young women is to play minor hockey on a boy's team. In many novice or peewee leagues, girls are more coordinated than boys of the same age and do quite well on the teams. Another possibility is to have one or two all girls teams and have them play exhibition games until they gain enough experience to join the boy's hockey league in the area. Girls that live in large cities, especially large northern cities, may have a well established girl's hockey association ready to recruit and train anyone interested in playing. Two of the "old stars" of women's hockey never played on real teams as they were growing up. Shirley Cameron of Canada grew up on a farm, and just skated and played hockey with her brothers on frozen marshes around her farm. Judy Diduck skated but did not start actual ice hockey until she was 19 years old. She became a four time gold medallist with Team Canada. Women's hockey is an exciting and skillful game that is both interesting to watch and exciting to participate in.
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