Hockey 101

The Stanley Cup has been around since 1893, named after Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston. It’s the championship trophy awarded the winner of the NHL. The St. Louis Blues were the last team to win it, and they won 4-3 against the Boston Bruins. Ice hockey is a fast-paced sport, and here, we’ll break down the basics.

Uber Basics

Ice hockey is played on ice and the object of the game is to get as many points as possible. You score by getting the puck in the net, and each score is one point. It is played over three 20-minute periods (not quarters, halves, or whatever other sports call it). If the score is tied at the end of the three periods, the game goes into overtime. There are four officials – two refs and two linesmen. There are 12 players on the ice total – six from each team.


Goalie: This player is assigned to the goal (duh!) and is to keep the puck out of the net. If he’s good, he can help win championships.

Defensemen: There tends to be two defensemen – one for the right side and one for the left side. These tend to stay closer to their net to help defend their net when the puck gets too close. But they often move forward.

Wings: Right and left wing. Both oppose their opposition’s defensemen and must be good along the boards and in the corner. They help score and tend to be physical players.

Center: He tends to be…well…center of the wings. He’s good at face-offs, passing, and he’s a good shot. And he’s a quick thinker.

Rules & Terminology

There are plenty of rules and terms in the National Hockey League, we’ll cover a few basics here.

Penalty Box & Powerplay: In basketball, they have fouls. In hockey, we have penalties. And when there’s a penalty, there’s a penalty box. Basically, there are six players per team on the ice at all times (one goalie + two defensemen + two wings + one center), and if one gets a penalty, someone must be in a penalty box. So, if it’s a player like a wing or defensemen, then the penalized team can only have five players on the ice because one player is in the penalty box. NOW, it’s six on five. The team with six remaining players on the ice is called to be doing a “power play.” Since they have more players, they have the power (or advantage) and has a better chance to score.

Icing: You’ll hear about icing a lot during games. It happens often. This happens when the puck is shot down the ice from their side of the red line and it goes past the other team’s goal (blue) line without touching anyone on the way. Then the play is the stopped, and the puck comes back to the defensive zone of the team that iced the puck. If it happens by accident (which does happen), it’s not penalized, but then that team won’t be able to make subs.

Offside: when players enter the offensive zone before the puck gets there.

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