Ice hockey is one of the fastest high contact sports out there. Players lace up their ice skates and head out onto the ice with sticks and the aim of getting the puck into the net.
In ice hockey there are only ever 12 players on the ice at once. Both teams must start with 5 players and a goalie.
To start the game, a referee drops the puck (a small rubber disc about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick) on the center spot in what’s known as a “face-off”. One player from each team battles for the puck as it is dropped by the referee. The puck must touch the ice first before the players can touch it with their sticks.
When the game starts all the players from each team must be in their own half of the ice. However, once the puck has been dropped, they can go anywhere they want.
There are two blue lines, one on either side of the halfway line. They represent the offside zones. A player can’t be in the opposing team’s offside zone before the puck crosses the line.
If the team is in the zone and the puck crosses the line back out of the zone, then the entire team must cross back over the blue line before the puck can re enter zone. If this rule is not followed, then there will be a face-off.
Technically you can have a face-off anywhere on the ice. However, the most common spots are the center spot and the hash marks (two in each end).
Every time play stops, there will be a face-off to resume play.
Ice hockey is made up of 3 period of 20 minutes. However, these are “stop-clock” time periods and the time only counts down when the puck is in play.
If the team decides to, they can “pull” their goalie at any time to allow a sixth skater player onto the ice.