The national winter sport of Canada and the most popular sport among all Canadians, the history of ice hockey can be traced back to the 19th century when various stick and ball games, both from the United Kingdom and from indigenous communities in Canada, influenced a new game in existence.
The sport is popular in Canada, both as a game and as a hobby, among people of all ages, as sports like cricket and soccer are found elsewhere in the world.
Over time, it has become very popular at the international level as well and is even now an Olympic sport. And in a country filled with so many diverse peoples, cultures and languages, hockey is a kind of unifying force that brings everyone together.
It is an integral part of Canada’s national identity as well as the country’s rich culture. But if you’re visiting Canada and maybe planning to go to ice hockey but don’t know much about the game, well, we can help you with that! Below is a comprehensive guide to the official sport of ice hockey in Canada which is popular all over the world.
Canadian ice hockey was a sport invented by European settlers using parts from various other games. It is mainly derived from the various types of field hockey that are played throughout Europe, especially in England, and from the lacrosse-like stick-and-ball game that originated by the Mi’kmaq aborigines in the Maritimes provinces of Canada.
The term hockey itself came from the French word ‘hook’ meaning shepherd’s stick, something that was used in a Scottish game in the 18th century.
All of these influences combined to contribute to a contemporary form of Canadian ice hockey, which was first played indoors in 1875 in Montreal, Canada. In Montreal itself, the annual ice hockey tournament also originated in the 1880s and the Stanley Cup, the oldest commemorative award in North American sports, began to be awarded to the best ice hockey teams.
By the 20th century, professional ice hockey leagues were formed, even in the United States. The most important of these major professional leagues to date, a hundred years later, and the strongest and largest hockey federation in North America as well as the rest of the world, is the Canada Confederation. National Hockey League.
How is Canadian ice hockey played?
Most forms of Canadian ice hockey are played according to the rules set by the National Hockey League, or the NHL. The game is played on a 200-by-85-foot arena in the shape of a rectangle with rounded corners.
There are three divisions on the rink – the neutral zone in the middle where the game begins, and the attacking and defending zones on either side of the neutral zone. There are 4×6 foot goal cages and the goal occurs when a shot clears the wide, striped goal line on the ice in front of the goal cage.
There are two teams on skates with hockey sticks to release the puck into the goal cage or net of the opposing team. The puck is passed between the players of different teams and the task of each team is not only to score the goal but also to prevent the opposing team from scoring the goal.
The game consists of 3 periods of twenty minutes and at the end of the match, whichever team scores the most goals wins, and if there is a tie, the match goes into overtime and the first team that scores a goal during this extra time wins.
Each team has a maximum of 20 players, of which only 6 can play on the ice at a time and the rest are substitutes who can replace the original six when required. Since the game can be very brutal and violent as players may prevent opposing players from scoring goals by physical force, every player including goalkeeper or goalkeeper has protective gear and lining.
Other than bidding for a target that has to remain in position, the rest of the outside players can move out of their positions and move around the ice field as they want. Players can be penalized if their opponent trips with their wand, checks his body for a player who doesn’t have a disc or fight, or causes serious injury to opposing players.
It may seem that Canadian ice hockey has been a predominantly male sport since its inception, but in fact, women have also played ice hockey in Canada for over a hundred years. It was in 1892 in Ontario that the first women’s ice hockey game was played and in 1990 the first women’s hockey world championships were held. Women’s ice hockey is now part of the Winter Olympics.
There is also a separate women’s hockey league called the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and women’s hockey teams exist at college levels as well, which results in more and more women participating in the game and eventually reaching national and international tournaments.
International Ice Hockey
The official Canadian sport of ice hockey is also an internationally acclaimed and played sport. From the International Ice Hockey Federation to the Winter Olympics, Canada has competed with countries all over the world, with the USA and Russia being Canada’s main competitors in the game.