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Hockey Information

In Hockey, two teams of eleven players each play against each other to score goals using a kind of hard and solid wooden stick in their hands, which is called a hockey stick. Out of eleven players, ten play in various positions on the field either to strike a goal or defend a goal. One player from both teams guards their respective goal posts and is called the goalkeeper. Hockey players show their great ball maneuvering skills using their sticks. The ball is made of plastic which is also very hard and solid.

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Hockey is played globally and is a popular game in Europe, Asia, and South America. Hockey is the national sport of India and Pakistan. In Canada and the United States, the ice hockey is more popular, which is another form of hockey, and is played on an icy surface.

Rules of Play
Both teams play with 16 players each, out of which each team can deploy eleven players on the field at any time during the play. The remaining 5 players are the substitutes, who can be substituted at any time during the play for an unlimited number of times. Players are permitted to hit the ball using their hockey sticks, except the goalkeeper can use any part of his body or stick to steer away the ball. However, players are not allowed to hit a hard stroke lofting the ball that may prove dangerous for the players who are on the field. Moreover, it could be difficult for players to control a ball with a stick which is at a significant height from the ground.

While playing hockey, there should not be any foot to ball contact and a player should not obstruct other players on the field. A player can advance ahead by dribbling the ball with the stick or can pass it to his teammate. If a player loses control on the ball and kicks it, he won't be allowed to gain advantage from the kick and the ball will automatically be passed on to the opponent team. Players cannot obstruct other players using their body or their stick. They can only struggle to get control on the ball. The match referee closely monitors the game and if any player deliberately attempts to prevent another player from moving ahead, the referee may discover a foul and may penalize the player responsible for creating problem during the play. The player may also be shown a card by the referee, which is a sort of warning and the ball is handed over to the possession of the opponent team.

Both teams try to score as many goals as they can. At the end of the match, the team scoring most number of goals becomes the winner. If the score ends in a tie, it will be a draw. In many competitions or in final matches, where deciding a winner is important, either extra time or a penalty shootout can be allowed to determine a winner.

Formations in Hockey
Hockey is a very dynamic sport and teams may follow particular strategies or styles of play. In Hockey, field formations are important. However, they are not static like in the game of football. The player's field positions can be fullback, halfback, midfield, striker etc. Players may however overlap each other's position during the play and their movements between the lines could be so dynamic. So, any time during the play, a player may occupy a space on the field which he may not be assigned originally.

However, players can be more comfortable playing from a particular position and they could be more effective when they play from their chosen positions. In a true sense, in Hockey, the formations could be so fluid that players can dynamically interchange their positions as per the demand of the game. However, common formations could be 3 at the back or 2 center halves, etc.

Goalkeepers in Hockey
In Hockey, goalkeepers play a very important role, who defends goal posts of their team. When a team is on attack, all eyes shift on the goalkeeper. In the game, a goalkeeper often becomes a center of attraction, particularly when the opponent team gets a penalty stroke. On the ability of the goalkeeper, the winning probability depends significantly. A goalkeeper's job can be very risky as well and this is the reason he is provided with all types of protective gears. He can wear a helmet, leg pads, gloves, elbow guards etc and his face could hardly be visible. He may use his stick, leg pads, or any part of his body to deflect the ball and prevent it from entering into the goal post

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General Play
There are two field umpires who supervise the game of hockey between two teams. Each umpire, in general, controls one half of the field. There is a technical bench comprising score keepers and time keepers that assist these umpires. The team in possession of the ball is referred to as the attacking team and other team struggling to get possession of the ball is the defending team.

The game starts with the toss of a coin, and the winning captain of the toss can choose a preferred end to start the game. The game is divided into two equal halves of 35 minutes each. At both halves, the play starts from the center of the field. After each goal, the players also accumulate at the center and the game restarts with a pass. The team conceding the goal will have the possession of the ball, when the game starts after the goal.

Players can be allowed to play with the face of the stick. No player is allowed to use his body to deliberately shove another player during the play. Players are not allowed to use their feet to hit the ball. But if the ball accidentally hits the foot of any player, and the player doesn't take any advantage of it, then he won't be penalized for the ball and foot contact.

There are typically three circumstances when an obstruction on the field by a player can be acknowledged. First circumstance is, when a defender comes in the way of the attacker and tries to prevent him from tackling. Second, when a defending player's stick comes between the stick and ball of an attacking player or both player's sticks come in contact. And finally, when a player blocks an opponent player's attempt to tackle his teammate, it's known as a third-party obstruction.

When the ball goes beyond the sidelines, a sideline hit is allowed to get the ball again in the field. The sideline hit is taken by a player from the team that was not responsible for hitting the ball to cross the sidelines.

The International Hockey Federation or the FIH is the governing body that forms rules and regulations related to international hockey matches. Today, both men's and women's hockey is played in many prestigious international events including the Olympics and the Commonwealth games. Besides, the Hockey World Cup Championships are also organized to decide the World Champions, for both men and women. Junior Hockey World Cup is also organized to promote the sport amongst the younger players.

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