Hockey is a sport played between two teams that maneuver a puck or a ball with hockey sticks, in an attempt to hit the opponent’s goal. The term was first used in 1363 in a royal proclamation announced by Edward III of England. The origins of the word are unknown, though many believe it comes from the french “hoquet”, meaning a shepherd’s crook.
There are many ancient games played with curved stick, like hurling, an outdoor Gaelic competition between two teams that appeared over 3,000 years ago. Beikou is another game similar to modern field hockey, first played by the Daur people in Inner Mongolia 1,000 years ago. In the 19th century, a series of rules and regulations were emitted by sport organizations. Ice hockey became popular in Canada and Northern America, because of the harsh weather conditions.
Field hockey is a sport practiced by both men and women, mainly in South Africa, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. It is also the national sport of Pakistan. “Field hockey” is a term used in regions where ice hockey is more popular, such as the United Stated and Canada. The game is played on natural grass, gravel, water-based or sand-based artificial turf. Teams are usually formed by male or female players, although sometimes they can be mixed. Each team has eleven players equipped with a helmet, leg guards and kickers.
Players use hockey sticks to move a spherical, plastic ball around the field. The standard ball is white, covered with indentations and has a circumference of 224–235 mm (8.8–9.3 in). Field hockey sticks are J-shaped and most commonly made of carbon fiber, glass fiber or wood. The first club was manufactured in 1849 at Blackheath. The stick are always right-handed, because left-handed sticks are not allowed on the field.
Goal keepers are the only players that can touch the ball with any part of their bodies during a game. After the game ends, if the score is tied a draw is called. Sometimes the game goes into a penalty shootout or extra time. Indoor hockey is a 6-a-side variant of field hockey, played on a smaller field of 40m x 20m. Most rules and regulations are the same, with a few exceptions.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) represents both men and women internationally in competitions such as the Olympic games, Hockey World Cup, Junior Hockey World Cup and Junior Hockey. Men’s field hockey has been played at the summer Olympic Games since 1908 and women entered the competition in 1980.