Ice Hockey 101: What you need to know

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It originates from a time as ancient as the Old Testament, internationally established in 65 countries with millions of fans, and requires elite skill, athleticism, and physical and mental toughness.

Ice hockey is a fast-paced, hard hitting and addicting sport many BYU students know little about.

BYU hockey head coach Josh Burkhart runs drills with the men's hockey team. Photo by Sarah Hill.
BYU hockey head coach Josh Burkart runs drills with the men’s hockey team. Photo by Sarah Hill.

BYU has fielded an ice hockey team off and on for more than 30 years, yet it has garnered little attention, in large part because of the lack of popularity of the sport in Utah and thus a lack of knowledge of the sport itself.

It’s time for Hockey 101.

Field hockey first originated as a ball and stick game and was played in ancient Rome, Egypt and Scotland. For thousands of years, it was unorganized and barbaric, with games often lasting weeks involving hundreds of people.

This finally changed in 1875, when the first efforts were made to officially establish rules and regulations to the game. At that point, hockey transitioned to being played as a winter sport on ice that was becoming increasingly popular in Canada. James Creighton and McGilll University in Montreal set up the first official game of ice hockey played in 1875 in Montreal, Quebec.

Ice hockey has established national leagues in many countries, including the National Hockey League, established in 1917. The NHL consists of 30 teams, 23 in the United States and seven in Canada.

Currently there are 19 full-time BYU students that make up the BYU hockey team. Their home games are played at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo. This year the Cougars will play more than 30 games before all is said and done. The season began in September and runs all the way through February.

Find out more about the Cougar hockey team and when they play by visiting byuhockey.org, following the team on twitter (@BYUhockeyteam) or liking them on Facebook (BYU Cougars Hockey).

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