Basic Hockey FAQ’s
Frequently Asked Questions about the game of hockey
Q. Is the sport of hockey safe for my child?
A. Yes. Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that ice hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth hockey is a different game than the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey places a stronger emphasis on sportsmanship and friendly competition. Contact is not allowed prior to the 14U level / Bantam (age 13 & 14). Bantams, checking is allowed.
NO fighting in Youth Hockey EVER.
Q. What are the player positions in Hockey?
A. The positions include:
- Roalkeeper - The goalkeeper's main responsibility is to keep the puck from entering the goal and there are no restrictions placed on the methods he can employ. His offensive contributions are limited and consist of occasionally passing the puck up to his defensemen or forwards to start a rush. A goalkeeper almost never scores a goal and only on rare occasions does he receive credit for an assist.
- Defenseman (Left & Right) - Basically the two defensemen try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They also block shots, clear the puck from in front of their goal and watch the opposing forwards. Offensively they carry the puck up the ice or pass the puck up to the forwards, then follow the play into the attacking zone and help to keep it there.
- Center - The center operates mostly up and down the middle of the ice and usually leads his team's attack by carrying the puck. He sets up plays by exchanging passes with his two wingmen and tries to keep the play in the attacking zone by harassing the opponent's puck carrier (forechecking). After the opposition works the puck out of their end of the rink, he tried to interrupt their playmaking as it moves through the neutral zone into his defending zone (backchecking).
- Wings (Left & Right) - The two wings move up and down the sides of the rink with the direction of play. Offensively they skate abreast of the center exchanging passes with him while positioning themselves for a shot on goal. Defensively they watch the opponent's wings and try to disrupt their playmaking and shooting as the actions moves back towards the defending zone (backchecking).
Q. What is the puck made of?
A. The puck is made of vulcanized rubber, three inches in diameter and one inch thick. It is not only solid to remove the "bounce" but it is frozen before entering play to make it even more bounce resistant. It weighs about six ounces.
Q. How fast does the puck travel?
A. Some slap-shooters propel the puck between 90-100mph. Speeds up to 120 mph have been recorded by some of the hardest shooters. Compounding the problems for goaltenders, frequently the puck will curve in flight, much like baseball.
Q. What is the hardest shot to stop?
A. Generally speaking, the most difficult shot is low, a few inches off the ice, to the stick side. Some goaltenders overplay to the stick side, presenting a more inviting target on their glove side.
Q. What about deflections?
A. Many people think that deflections are mere luck. Actually, however, players practice on deflections constantly, standing off to the side of the nets, or in front and deflecting the shot from outside to another area of the cage. Seldom does a goalie have the time to react to a deflection as the puck changes direction off someone else's stick or skate.
Q. Can a puck be kicked into the nets for a score?
A. Not kicked in intentionally, but a puck can be deflected off a skate or off a player's body if no overt attempt is made to throw it in or kick it in.
Q. What if a puck is stopped, or stops on the goal line?
A. There is no score. The puck must completely cross the goal line between the posts to be counted as a score.
Q. What if an offensive player is in the crease, the red outlined area in front of the nets?
A. If he is there under his own power there is no score. A goal may be awarded if he was forced into the crease or held there by a defending player. An offensive player may carry the puck into the crease and score.
Q. You frequently see the goalie come far out in front of the nets. Doesn't this leave a very inviting target?
A. Most often, when the goaltender comes out in front, it is to reduce the shooting area, cut down the angle of the shooter, or force the shooter to unleash his shot too wide or too soon. Of course, after coming out of the nets, the goalie is usually backing up slowly, trying to get the shooter to commit himself first.
Q. How large an area does the goalie protect?
A. The nets are six feet wide, four feet high; a target of 24 square feet.
Q. Who gets credit for an assist?
A. The last player, or players (not more than two) who touch the puck prior to the scoring of a goal. As an example, player A passes to B who passes to C who passes to D who scores the goal, players C and B are credited with "assists". However, if C controls the puck and passes it to D, who scores, only C would get credit for the assist.
Q. How thick is the ice?
A. The best ice for pro hockey is usually held at 16-degrees for the proper hardness and is approximately 3/4" thick. The thicker the sheet of ice becomes, the softer and "slower" it is. Commercial ice shows perform on "warmer", slower ice.
Q. Who calls the penalties, the referee or the linesman?
A. The referee calls penalties, has the ultimate responsibility for allowing (or disallowing) goals and even naming the goal scorer if a question arises. The linesman concentrates mainly on calling offsides and icing. However, a linesman may cad a misconduct penalty or ask the referee to hand one out if he thinks it is justified. Why doesn't the referee help quell fights? Several reasons: for one he's observing who should receive the penalties for the infraction, also It is quite hazardous in those close quarters with sticks and gloves and players, frequently on the ice. Since he is in sole control of the game, he has to protect himself from injury.
Q. Which is more difficult for a goalie to stop, a slap shot or a wrist shot?
A. There are many factors involved. Generally speaking, however, the wrist shot takes the goalie more by surprise, the slap shot, while it is harder and faster, can frequently be timed better by the netminder.
Q. How are the markings - the red and blue lines, the coal line and crease, and face-off circles - applied to the ice?
A. The ice is built up to a half-inch thickness by spraying water over the concrete floor, which has the freezing pipes imbedded. Then the markings are painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to "coat" the markings and build the ice to the prescribed thickness.
Q. What are hockey sticks made from?
A. Generally, northern white ash, or rock elm. The handle is one piece and the laminated blade is affixed to it. Composite stick’s are the norm. Sticks may not exceed 53 inches in length.
Q. Are all sticks alike?
A. Far from it. Just as baseball players have their individually personalized bats, so too do hockey players have their "patterned" sticks. Flexibility, lie (angle of the blade) weight, etc., vary from player to player.
Q. Why is it called a "hat trick" when a hockey player scores three goals in a game?
A. A hat trick originally meant three goals in a row, with no intervening goals by either team. Hockey borrowed the term from cricket. In 1958 a cricket player in England took three wickets with consecutive balls, an incredible trick. As a reward, his club gave the bowler a new hat, hence the name "hat trick". No one knows who scored the first hat trick in hockey, but Bill Mosienko holds the record for the fastest - three goals in 21 seconds. On March 23, 1952, Mosienko, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks against the New York Rangers, scored at 6:09, 6:20, and 6:30 during the third period. The goaltender was Lorne Anderson.
Q. What are the dimensions of the rinks?
A. The standard size is 200 ft. by 85 ft.
- Most North American rinks follow the National Hockey League (NHL) specifications of 200 feet (61 m) × 85 feet (26 m) with a corner radius of 28 feet (8.5 m). The distance from the end boards to the nearest goal line is 11 feet (3.4 m)
Occasionally some professional rinks are a different size, with some being longer than 200 ft.
Olympic rinks: In most European venues, the ice is 210 feet long and 98 feet wide. Goal lines are 13 feet from the end boards
The dimensions of a regulation hockey goal are 6 ft wide and 4 ft tall: 72" x 48"
Q. How does the Zamboni Work?
A. Historically, the objectives of ice resurfacing have been to produce a clean attractive sheet of ice, control the flatness and thickness of the ice for maximum efficiency and make the best ice surface possible in the time available.
*** Before the first resurfacing machine was developed by Frank Zamboni, a complete reconditioning of the ice was not normally done more than once a day as it involved:
- Planing the entire ice surface
Dropping the shavings at one end of the ice rink
The planing was followed by washing the whole rink using a large hose and squeegees to remove any dirt and debris remaining on the surface.
The final step was to flood the rink with a light film of fresh water by either a hose or flooding cart
Because this step took three or four people 1.5 to 2 hours, it was normally done infrequently, and most resurfacing simply involved scraping excess snow from the ice and following this by a light flood.
*** With the advent of the ice resurface machine, one person can duplicate the complete resurfacing operation in a faction of the time previously required.
The individual operations performed by the Zamboni Ice Resurfacer are:
- Shaving: A razor sharp blade extends from one side of the conditioner to the other. This blade shaves the surface of the ice and the depth of the shave can be controlled by the operato
ollecting the Shavings: A horizontal screw conveyor gathers the shavings and loose snow from above the blade and moves them to the center of the conditioner. The horizontal conveyor then throws this material into the lower end of a vertical screw conveyor. The vertical screw then lifts the snow shavings and propels them into the snow collection tank. These shavings are later dumped into a melting pit away from the ice surface.
Washing the Ice: Water is gravity-fed from the wash water tank to the conditioner where if washes the surface and flushes dirt out of grooves left in the ice. This dirty water is then vacuumed up by the water pump, filtered and returned to the wash water tank
Renewing the Ice: Following the washing operation, a thin coat of fresh hot water is spread onto the ice by a towel at the rear of the conditioner.
Additional questions can be directed to: