Hockey 101 For Complete Hockey Newbs

Hockey 101 For Complete Hockey Newbs

Thanks to the persistence and obsession of my dear friend Skylar, I have found myself suddenly subjected to the world of professional hockey. Compared to my casual viewing of Notre Dame football games, hockey is definitely interesting. I honestly had no idea what was going on when I went to the Blackhawks Training Camp this fall. Luckily, I have had much more experience with watching games, getting in on the lingo, and learning about the players - specifically the Blackhawks and Dallas Stars.

I have invited Skylar to answer some basic hockey questions so you can be a knowledgeable NHL fan this season.

1. What is the main goal in a hockey game?
The main goal is to win a the game in regulation time, that is, the first 60 minutes of play. That gives the winning team 2 points toward their divisional standing.

2. How many players are on the ice from each team and what do they do?
Normally, each team has 6 players on the ice. This includes a goalie, two defensemen, and three "forwards": a right wing, a left wing, and a center. Each person occupies a different position on the ice. The forwards are the offensive players, and the defensemen are the defensive players.

3. Are games divided into quarters?
No. Each game is divided into three periods. These periods last 20 minutes.

4. How many goals does a team typically score in a game?
Goals in hockey are hard to get, so usually games are pretty low-scoring. I would say the average is anywhere from 2-5 goals per game.

5. What makes hockey the most different from other sports?
It's played on ice, which is not a natural playing surface. It also requires a lot of protection all over the body. Hockey is a dangerous sport and injuries are not uncommon. I would say those are the main differences.

6. What are the circles on the ice for?
Good question! These are called "face-off circles." A face-off is when one player from each team battles for possession of the puck. The puck is dropped by the referee in the middle of the two circles and the two players go at it.

7. What are some of the main rules on the ice?
Some things that you cannot do while playing include penalties such as tripping, slashing, hooking, roughing, fighting, and boarding. Hooking is using your hockey stick to either catch the uniform of the other player, or do anything to throw them off and usually cause them to lose their balance. Roughing is a less serious form of fighting. Boarding is using your stick and your body to push another player into the boards, or walls, of the rink. This is an especially serious offense because it is dangerous!

8. Who are your favorite players?
My favorite players are Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

9. What is a shoot out?
A shootout is what determines the winner of a game if the game goes through regulation time AND overtime. In a shootout, both teams take turns sending one man at a time to shoot on the opposing goalie. Shootouts are played until best of three. They are very exciting to watch, because it allows the shooter and the goalie to showcase their individual skills!

10. What would you tell someone who is interested in being a hockey fan?
Don't. It will consume and ruin your life! ;)