Understanding British Ice Hockey

Whether you’re looking to get to grips with the basic rules of ice hockey or want a deeper understanding of the rules this is a great place to start.

Ice hockey is one fastest growing sport in the United Kingdom in terms of interest. No matter where you are from in the United Kingdom there won’t be a Professional Ice Hockey team far away from you. All of the teams in the United Kingdom league, known as the Elite League are based in major cities around the UK.

The Elite League consists of ten teams. Three Scottish teams, Five English teams, One Welsh team and one team from Ireland. 

The Scottish teams are Glasgow Clan, Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars. The English teams are Sheffield Steelers, Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers, Guildford Flame, and Manchester Storm. The Welsh team is Cardiff Devils. The Irish team is the Belfast Giants.

Let’s look further into these teams.

Scottish Teams 

Glasgow Clan – Formally known as Braehead Clan they were formed in 2010. Their head coach is former Clan player Zack Fitzgerald. The team plays in Purple, White, and Black. Their Captain is Matt Haywood who is approaching his testimonial 10 years of playing for the club. They play their games at Braehead Arena at the Intu Braehead Shopping Centre in Renfrew. 

Fife Flyers come from Kirkcaldy and were formed in 1938. Fife are the oldest team in Scotland and in the league. Their head coach is Todd Dutiaume. The team plays in Blue, Gold, and White. Their captain is James Livingston. They play their home games at the Fife Ice Arena.

Dundee Stars – Formally known as Dundee “Texol” Stars and Dundee “CCS” Stars and Dundee “Kilmart” Stars, were formed in 2001. Their head coach is Omar Pacha. The team plays in Navy Blue, White, and Red. Their captain is Matt Marquardt. Dundee stars play their home games at the Dundee Ice Arena. 

English Teams

Sheffield Steelers were formed in 1991. Their head coach is Aaron Fox. The team plays in Orange, Black, and Blue. Their captain is Jonathan Phillips. Sheffield plays their home games at the Sheffield Arena.

Coventry Blaze, formally known as Solihull Barons, and Solihull Blaze were formed in 1965. Their head coach is Danny Stewart. The team plays in Black, Dark Blue, Light Blue, and White. Their captain is Drew Schiestel. Coventry blaze plays their home games at the SkyDome Arena.

Nottingham Panthers were formed in 1946. Their head coach is Tim Wallace. The team plays in Black, Yellow, and White. Their captain is Sam Herr. Nottingham Panthers play their home games at the National Ice Centre.

Guildford Flame was formed in 1992. Their head coach is Paul Dixon. The team plays in Red, White, Black, and Gold. Their captain is Jesse Craige. Guildford Flame plays their home games at the Guildford Spectrum Centre. 

Manchester Storm was formed in 2015. Their head coach is Ryan Finnerty. The team plays in White, Purple, Black, Yellow and Grey. Their captain is Dallas Ehrhardt. Manchester Storm plays their home games at the Planet Ice Altrincham. 

Welsh Team 

Cardiff Devils were formed in 1986. Their head coach is Andrew Lord. The team plays in Red, White, and Black. Their captain is Joey Martin. Cardiff Devils play their home games at the Viola Arena. 

Irish Team

Belfast Giants were formed in 2000. Their head coach is Adam Keefe. The team plays in White, Red, and Teal. Their captain is Matt Pelech. Belfast Giants play their home games at the SSE Arena Belfast.

Rules of the Game 

There are only two basic rules in ice hockey:

Offside: If an attacking player enters the opposition’s defending zone which is marked by the blue line at the opposing end ahead of the puck, then he or she will be called offside. If this happens, play will be halted and a face-off will take place in the neutral zone.

Icing is when a player strikes the puck from his or her own half past the opposing team’s goal line without scoring a goal and without it deflecting off or coming into contact with another player which can also include the opposing team’s goalkeeper. If this happens, play will be halted and the puck will be returned to where the pass originated without a goal being given.

Match officials in Ice Hockey games.

The referee who wears a red armband and a black and white pinstriped top controls the game and makes the final decision on any matter. The referee is assisted by linesmen, who are concerned with offside, and goal judges, who look to see whether or not the puck has crossed the goal line or if an illegal move or goal has been scored. The referee and linesmen also watch out for fouls and penalties. 

Physical contact in Ice Hockey.

ice hockey has earned a reputation for being an aggressive sport due to the frequent body checks and any other physical contact that occurs on the ice — but it’s not just a free-for-all where players can get away with what they like. The rules state that contact from the side and front is fine, but deliberate checking from behind will usually result in a penalty.

Tripping opponents and violently forcing players to hit the rink’s walls is banned, as is elbowing, charging, high use of the stick, and using the shaft of the stick to check an opponent. Of course, the speed of the game means that many of these things occur, and so it’s up to the referee to decide whether an offense has been committed and whether a penalty needs to be imposed.

Penalties in Ice Hockey

Penalties range from minor penalties, which usually result in a player being sent off for 2 minutes, to major penalties, which are given for more serious physical contact such as fighting. Players receive a 5 minute time penalty for fighting. A major penalty can lead to the offending player being sent off permanently and told not to return and also revive an unlimited number of games banned from playing. 

Ice hockey face-offs

Face-offs are used to start periods of play and to restart play after a stoppage. A face-off involves two opposing players standing opposite each other at roughly one stick’s blade apart and the official dropping the puck between them. The two players then attempt to gain possession of the puck where they can pass to a teammate or shoot on goal. 

The object of the game

The object of the game of ice hockey simply put, ice hockey aims to score more goals than the opposition by getting the puck into the opposition’s goal. A goal is scored only if all of the puck crosses the entire goal line. It’s illegal to kick the puck across the line or to volley it in, so players must use their stick to hit the puck when it’s in contact with the ice in order to score. However, deflections of other players including the goalie are also permitted as for legal goals and will be counted. 

How long is a game of Ice Hockey?

Matches are played in three 20 minute periods. The clock is stopped every time play stops which means every second is crucial and the time can run over the allotted time. Overtime is when the game is tied and more time is needed to see who wins. Overtime is two-five minutes periods but if a goal is scored before the end the game is finished and the team that scored the last goal of the game wins the game. 

Teams in Ice Hockey

Each team can have a maximum number of 20 players, including two goaltenders, although only six players from each team can be on the ice at any one time. Substitutions can be made at any point during the game without stopping the play. players can skate on an off the ice for a change at any time during the game without the permission of the officials.

 

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