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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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