With football season over, gymnastics kicking off, baseball months away and basketball mired in -well, whatever it is our hoops teams do, it is time to turn our attention to another fast, physical sport (outside of jai alai): Hockey, and specifically, the Alabama club hockey team.
Over the next week, we will be outlining the rules, the positions, how club hockey is differentiated from championship-sanctioned hockey --and how it, again, is divided even among the club teams, as well as a Q&A with the Alabama Hockey team.
The first question you may have is "how do I hockey?" Valid concern. In a region not noted for an influx of Canadians, Northrons and Europeans, hockey may seem a bit disconcerting to the casual fan. But, fear not, intrepid reader, the game is actually far simpler than football.
Let's start with basic objective here. There are six (6) players to a side, with one person playing goal.
Five players advance the puck into an opponent's zone and then attempt to score upon the goaltender by scoring a "goal." Any player may shoot upon the goaltender, irrespective of position played or their positioning on the ice (including goalie) -although, depending on where the shot is made, like soccer, it may result in a penalty or stoppage in play.
There are three (3) periods of play, each twenty (20) minutes long. Between these periods, there are fifteen (15) minute intervals where the ice is resurfaced (using a large, iconic driving machine called a Zamboni) and then the teams convene for breaks. The team with the most "goals" at the end of sixty regulation minutes wins.
As you can imagine, particularly during playoffs time, this can be intense.
If, at the end of these sixty minutes of play the teams are tied, then several tie-breaking mechanisms exist. The first is that the teams shall play one (1) sudden-death overtime period of five (5) minutes. If, at the end of this period the teams are tied, hockey (like soccer) goes into a shootout period. In the shootout, offensive players alternatively align at center ice (the "red line") and skate towards / shoot the puck at the opposing goaltender in a pretty damned exciting athletic one-on-one. There will be four (4) shooters proceeding from the red line to the opposing goalkeeper and will thence shoot at the net to score. (There are MANY esoteric varieties of this rule, mostly inapplicable).
So...wanna see the most exciting offensive play in sports?
So...wanna see the most exciting defensive play in sports?
Cool, say you. But, how do I really hockey?
NEXT TIME: THE PLAYING FIELD, THE POSITIONS.