Hockey can be enjoyed with just a hockey stick and hockey skates. But if you really want to get into the game, you’ll want to try watching professionals play live.
Of course, to get the most from it, you’ll also want to understand the rules and some of the history. That’s what we’ll cover in this article, along with the best places to watch the pros play.
What is Ice Hockey?
Ice hockey is a game where 2 teams compete to hit the puck into the goal. It’s played on an ice rink with hockey sticks and ice skates. Each team has 6 players, one of which is a goalkeeper.
Ice hockey is believed to have originated in Nova Scotia among the First Nation Mi’kmaq people. It was popularized throughout Canada thanks to the Scottish and Irish immigrants that moved to the area. European immigrants didn’t have to change the game much, as it already evolved hockey sticks and pucks in some form.
Professional ice hockey is played on a rectangular ice rink that’s 200ft. long and 85ft. wide. There are 2 teams of 6 players, and the aim is to hit the puck into the goal. As with any other sport, there are complicated rules about markings, goal creases, etc. But the basic setup is as follows:
- The rink is divided into 3 zones that are 60ft. long.
- The semicircular line around the goal is called the crease. It has a 6-ft. radius, and when the goalie is within the crease, no attacking player can enter.
- For a goal to count, a shot must completely clear the goal line, which is 2 inches thick.
How Long Hockey Game?
A hockey game is 60 minutes in total. It’s divided into 3 sections of 20 minutes, and there’s a 15-minute intermission between each section. When you add in possible overtime and other stops, a hockey game can easily be 3 hours long.
Where is Ice Hockey Most Popular?
Unsurprisingly, ice hockey is popular in countries that experience ice and snow. Of course, this isn’t as restrictive as it used to be because we can make ice rinks, but it’s more that hockey is part of these countries’ history.
Ice hockey is still very popular in Canada, and it’s almost as popular in the US. In recent years, it’s also become popular in Eastern European countries, such as the Czech Republic.
You’ll find ice hockey being played in plenty of other countries too, such as:
- The UK
As you can see, most of these are cold countries (with the exception of the UK). Another easy way to tell where hockey is most popular is by watching professional matches, such as the NHL or Winter Olympics. Teams that win at the Olympics are usually from countries where the sport is most popular.
What Equipment Do I Need for Ice Hockey Games?
One advantage of playing ice hockey is that pretty much all equipment is universal in style and construction. While professional equipment might be better than amateur, it’s made of the same materials.
Another benefit is that it’s relatively easy to get involved in ice hockey. At a bare minimum, you’ll need:
- Hockey stick. Hockey sticks are what you use to hit the puck. They’re made from wood and vulcanized rubber.
- Hockey skates. Like other ice skates, hockey skates are metal blades attached to boots. They can be pretty expensive once you start looking at professional skates.
- Hockey bag. This is where you keep your hockey kit, and it can be massive if you’re a goalie because of all the pads you need to carry!
- Protective equipment. Depending on your play position, you’ll need a helmet, gumshield, cup, shoulder pads, shin guards, and more.
Although it’s not mandatory for playing hockey, having a jersey can complete the look. They’re oversized to fit over all the padding, but a lot of people also wear them to matches. You can get fan versions of your favorite players, but consider using a hockey jersey customizer to get your name printed on one! A good customizer will also let you choose patterns and colors, too. can almost always carry these across onto a Lifeline Program plan. You might need to unlock your phone first, but check with the specific carrier to find out whether this is the case.
3 Best Places to Watch a Hockey Game
You can obviously watch a hockey game on the TV, but it’s always going to be more fun to see one live. After all, this is the best way to get a feel for the energy of the crowd and take in all the action first-hand.
Here are 3 of the best places in the world to watch a hockey game:
1. United Center – Chicago Blackhawks
As the team name suggests, this stadium is in Chicago. It’s quite a historic arena, as the Blackhawks have won 4 Stanley Cups.
2. Air Canada Center – Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto is often seen as the official home of hockey. The NHL Hall of Fame is next door to the arena, and the Maple Leafs are one of the most iconic teams in the game. If you’re looking for a good experience, this could be the place to go.
3. Madison Square Garden – New York Rangers
Madison Square Garden is the oldest arena in the NHL, and the Rangers are another of the most iconic teams. Plus, it’s in New York, so what else do you need to know?
If you plan to travel internationally for a hockey game, you might come across data roaming issues with your cellphone. What roaming data your plan includes can run out quickly, and applying for a new plan at your destination can take ages. Due to the formalities and signal quality limitations, it’ll take you a long time to get online.
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About the Writer
As a blogger, traveler, and food lover, I'm always on the hunt for new taste sensations. I'm excited to share my tips and tricks to help you have the most memorable travels. Come along and let's savor the journey!