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The Good Old Hockey Game (Part 1)

The Rules of the Ice

by Kaitlyn Conrad/Photo & Web Editor

There is a song written and sung by Stompin’ Tom Connors that goes, “the good old hockey game, it’s the best game you can name. And the best game you can name is the good old hockey game!” Chances are, someone you know is a hockey fan, whether it is college hockey, the National Hockey League, or even an Olympic hockey fan.

hockey graphic

An official NHL rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The rink is divided by the red line, has two blue lines, five face off circles, the goals and the creases.
Graphic by Kaitlyn Conrad

Ice hockey (referred to in this article as just hockey) is a team sport that is played on ice. Skaters use sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into the opponent’s net to score points. Each team usually consists of four lines of three forwards, three pairs of defensemen, and two goalies. Five members at a time are skating on the ice trying to shoot the puck into the rival teams’ goal while the goaltender protects the goal. Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink. The graphic adjoining this article shows the typical layout of an ice hockey rink surface.

While the above description is what most people know about hockey, there are other rules that even most hockey watchers may not know.

Players control the puck with a long stick that has a blade that is curved at one end. Players may also redirect the puck with almost any part of their bodies. Holding the puck in their hand to pass to another teammate is not prohibited, that is, unless it is in the defensive zone. Players cannot kick the puck into the opponent’s goal intentionally.

Players are allowed to “bodycheck” opponents into the boards that surround the ice and help keep the puck in play. Bodychecking happens as stopping progress of the other team.

Play can be stopped if the goal is knocked out of position. Play often continues on for minutes without interruption. When play is stopped, it is restarted with a faceoff, in which two players “face” each other and when the official drops the puck onto the ice, the two players attempt to gain control of the puck. There are four faceoff spots on the ice, in-between the blue lines.

To read more about the rules of hockey and about penalties, check out the Navigator’s sport section of our website,

To find out more about the National Hockey League, to see a full list of teams, and to see schedules as well as current standings you can go to

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