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Hockey At A Glance

Ice hockey is predictably, is played on an ice surface known as the rink. This rink is divided into three sections, which are separated by blue lines; a middle section, usually referred to as the 'neutral zone'; an end section called 'the defending zone,' which is, for each team, the section closest to their own goal; and another end section at the opposite end of the rink referred to as the 'attacking zone, ‘which is, in turn, the section of the ice furthest from each team's own goal. A horizontal red line runs through the centre of the rink, parallel to the blue lines separating the zones and equidistant from each of the goals.

Goal posts are set up at opposite ends of the rink, and each is covered with a net to form a goal. The goals are exactly opposite each other in the centre of the ice. In front of each goal there is a red line known as the goal line.

Ice hockey is most popular in areas that are sufficiently cold for natural reliable seasonal ice cover, such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Latvia, the Nordic countries (especially Sweden and Finland United States, Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. With the advent of indoor artificial ice rinks it has become a year-round pastime in these areas. Many Asian countries got involved in ice hockey from the past years including many Gulf countries like Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia .Ice hockey is one of the four major North American professional sports. Worldwide the National Hockey League(NHL) is the highest level for men and both the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) and the Western Women's Hockey League(WWHL) are the highest levels for women. It is the official national winter sport of Canada, where the game enjoys immense popularity. While there are 68 total members of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), 162 of 177 medals at the Championships have been taken by seven nations: Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. Of the 64 medals awarded in men's competition at the Olympic level from 1920 on, only six did not go to the one of those countries. All twelve Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women Championships medals have gone to one of those seven countries, and every gold medal in both competitions has been won by either Canada or the United States.

The aim of the game is Simply put, the aim of the game is to put the puck into the opposing team's goal; players work together to negotiate the obstacles presented by the opposing team's forwards, defenders and, finally, the goalie. If the puck is propelled into the goal by a player's foot, or anything other than his/her hockey stick, the goal will be disallowed. The team which has scored the most goals by the end of the game is declared to be the victor.

The players from each team are comprised of approximately 20 players, although only 6 players will represent each team on the ice at any given time. Players swap on and off the ice during the course of a game. The fast-paced nature of ice hockey makes it usual practice for these substitutions to occur frequently; sometimes as often as every couple of minutes.

Each team has three forwards, whose primary role is to attack the opposing team's goal, and two defenders, who generally focus on defending their team's goal from the other team. Each team also has a goalie, who is the final line of defense for each team. It is the job of the goalie to stand between the goal-posts (wearing plenty of padding!) and attempt to stop the puck from crossing the goal line.

In the match procedure, a game begins when a player from each team goes to the centre of the ice to take part in the 'face-off'. The players stand facing each other in the centre of the rink and the referee drops the puck onto the ice between them. Quick reflexes are then required to gain possession of the puck.

A game typically lasts one hour, which is divided into three 20-minute periods.

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