Welcome to Hockey 101. We've broken down the game for you and welcome you to learn all about the great game of hockey. The links to your right has specific subjects to help you along the way. Below are several basic questions answered to help get you right into the game. Should you ever want to see additional content on the Hockey 101 page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and submit your requests.
Answers To Some Basic Hockey Questions...
What is the puck made of? The puck is made of solid vulcanized rubber, three inches in diameter and one inch thick. It is frozen before entering play to make it "bounce" resistant. It weighs about six ounces.
How fast does the puck travel? Some slap shots are propelled between 90-100 mph. Speeds up to 120 mph have been recorded by some of the hardest shooters in the NHL. Compounding the problems for goaltenders, frequently the puck will curve in flight, much like a baseball.
Can a puck be kicked into the net for a goal? Not intentionally, but a puck can be deflected off a skate or a player's body if no overt attempt is made to throw or kick it in.
What about deflections? Many people think that deflections are mere luck. Actually, however, players practice deflections constantly, standing off to the side of the net, or in front, and deflecting the shot from outside to another area of the goal.
How thick is the ice? The best ice for pro hockey is usually held at 16 degrees Fahrenheit for the proper hardness and is approximately 3/4" thick. A thicker sheet of ice becomes softer and "slower." Commercial ice shows perform on "warmer, slower" ice.
What are the sticks made of? Generally, sticks are made of northern white ash or rock elm. The handle is one piece and the laminated blade is affixed to it. Some players have recently gone to shafts made of composites, such as graphite or aluminum.
Are all sticks alike? Far from it. Just as baseball players have their individually personalized bats, so too do hockey players have their "patterned" sticks. Flexibility, lie (blade angle), weight, etc., vary from player to player.
How are the lines and markers applied to the ice? The ice is built up to a 1/2" thickness by spraying water over the concrete floor (sometimes sand is used as a base for the floor), which has the freezing pipes embedded. Then the markings are painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to coat the markings and build the ice to the prescribed thickness.
What if an offensive player is in the crease (the blue outline area in front of the nets) as a goal is scored? If he is there under his own power, the goal is denied. However, if he was forced into the crease or held there by an opposing player, the goal stands. An offensive player may carry the puck into the crease and score (as in breakaway situations).
Who gets credit for an assist? The last player or players (not more than two) to touch the puck prior to the scoring of a goal.
How big is the rink? The standard size is 200' by 85'. Occasionally, some professional rinks vary slightly in size.
How big is the goal? The goal is six feet wide by four feet tall, curving from one to three feet deep. Pins anchor it to the ice.
What is the hardest shot to stop? The toughest shot is low (a few inches off the ice) to the stick side. Often goal tenders will "cheat" to the stick side, presenting more net to their glove side (the easiest to protect).
Who calls the penalties - the referee or the linesman? The referee calls penalties and has the ultimate responsibility for allowing (or disallowing) goals, even naming the goal-scorer if a question arises. The linesmen concentrate mainly on calling offsides and icing. A linesman may call a misconduct penalty or ask the referee to hand one out if he thinks it is justified.
What if the puck is stopped or stops on the goal line? There is no score. The puck must completely clear the goal line between the posts to be counted as a goal.
What is a "hat trick?" The term is now applied to a player scoring three goals in a single game. Originally, it stood for three consecutive goals with none scored in between by either team. The term is borrowed from cricket. In England in 1858, a bowler (like the pitcher) took three wickets from consecutive balls, an incredible trick. As a reward, his club gave him a new hat, hence the name.