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The Sport of Hockey

OBJECT OF THE GAME: Above all, the object is to put the puck in the other team’s goal and keep it out of your goal. It can be out in with a stick, bounded in off a player on either team, or knocked in by the goaltender. It cannot be kicked in, or batted with a high stick.

SCORING: Scoring a goal is the so-called name of the game. It is not necessary to shoot the puck into the netting behind the goalie to score. If the entire puck crosses the goal line inside the posts it’s a goal:

A. Unless an attacking player kicks the puck, or throws the puck, or otherwise deliberately directs the puck into the goal by any means other than the stick.

B. Unless an attacking player is in the goal crease, and is in no way held by a defender, while a teammate “scores.”

While a goal does not count if it is kicked in by an attacker, if that same attacker kicks it in off a defender other than the goalie, it does count. In this case, the kicker is credited with the goal. On the other hand, if a shot is deflected in off a teammate, the teammate gets credit for the goal and the shooter gets an assist.

No more than two assists shall be credited on any goal, and those assists go to the two players who handled the puck immediately preceding the goal.

THE POSITIONS
CENTER
: The center operates mostly up and down the middle of the ice and usually leads his team’s attack by carrying the puck. He sets up plays by exchanging passes with his two wingmen and tries to steer the play towards the opponent’s goal. Defensively he tries to keep the play in the attacking zone by harassing the opponents puck carrier (Forechecking). After the opposition works the puck out of their end of the rink, he tries to interrupt their playmaking as it moves through the neutral zone and into his defending zone (Backchecking).

WINGS: The two move up and down the sides of the rink with the direction of play. Offensively they skate abreast of the center exchanging passes with him while positioning themselves for a shot on goal. Defensively they watch the opponent’s wings and try to disrupt their playmaking and shooting as the action moves back toward the defending zone (Backchecking).

DEFENSEMEN: Basically the two defensemen try to stop the incoming play at their open blue line. They also block shots, clear the puck from in front of their goal and watch the opposing forwards. Offensively they carry the puck up the ice or pass the puck up to the forwards, then follow the play into the attacking zone and help keep it there.

GOALKEEPER: The goalkeeper’s main responsibility is to keep the puck from entering the goal and there are no restrictions placed on the methods he can employ. His offensive contributions are limited and consist of occasionally passing the puck up to his defensemen or forwards to start a rush. A goalkeeper never scores a goal and only rare occasions does he receive credit for an assist.

EQUIPMENT: Hockey sticks, like baseball bats, are lighter than they used to be. Also more flexible, with more whip action. They’re made of northern white ash or rock elm. Sticks may not exceed 53 inches from the heel to the end of the shaft. A goalie’s pads can’t be as wide as he might like them to be, not more than ten inches wide, and the blade of a goalie’s stick shall not exceed three and a half inches, except at the heel, where it can be an extra inch wide. All protective equipment except gloves, headgear, and goalkeeper’s leg guards must be worn under the uniform. Much of this is cushioned with foam rubber.

GAME OFFICIAL: The referee controls the game. He calls all penalties and must decide the legality of goals, though sometimes he will call time and ask his linesmen for an opinion before he makes a final decision. The duty of the linesmen is to determine offsides and icings. They drop the puck for faceoffs. They chase the pucks after stoppage of play. And it is their unenviable job to break up fights while the referee assesses the penalties

Credit: Information on the page was derived from the Saturday, February 24, 1990 edition of the "Whale Watch", 10th Anniversary Edition. Whale Watch was the official magazine of the Binghamton Whalers back in the 1980's. Thanks to Karl Howard for the edition of Whale Watch.

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