Around 1820 the sport started to catch on among the visitors to the frozen lakes. People had played field hockey and another game in Europe for years, but this new version of the old sport required that it’s players put on skates. Using metal blades that could be strapped to their boots, the players would cut branches from trees to use as sticks; for pucks they would use round pieces of cork or wooden balls. In the 1870s, each team was made up of nine players skating at the same time, and body checking was not permitted. There were no substitutions, so players were expected to play the entire 60 minutes of the game.
By 1880, the game had begun to grow into the game we know today; teams were reduced to seven-man units. The puck replaced the ball, and sticks were flattened on both sides to allow players to handle the puck better. Pads and gloves that player used in cricket and baseball were used to protect the legs and hands of hockey players. Before this time, players had used anything they could get their hands on for protection.
The exact origin of formal hockey is unknown. Some historians report that the first formal game was played in Kingston, Ontario, in 1867.
II. The Object Of The Game
Hockey is a simple game. The offense tries to hit the puck into the net and the defense tries to stop them. Each player carries a stick, usually made of wood, and wears protective clothing. Goaltenders, or goalies, carry heavier and wider sticks and wear additional protective equipment, including face masks. Each team uses no more than six players at a time, traditionally positioned as one center, two forwards, two defensemen, and one goaltender. Play begins with a face-off, when the referee drops the puck between the opposing centers. Unlike most sports, player substitutions occur during play. A goal is scored when the puck is driven into the opponent's goal. A player who scores three goals in one game is said to have scored a hat trick. Games are divided into three 20-minute periods, and, if the score is tied, they proceed into an overtime period that varies under different sets of rules.
Penalties are assessed for various infractions, and the offending player is sent to a penalty box for two minutes for a minor infraction and five minutes for a major one. Teams may not substitute for their penalized players during the penalty, except during a...