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Ice Hockey

Learn about this Winter Olympic sport

January 10, 2014
VLADIMIR RYS—BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES

 

Men's ice hockey became a sport at the Summer Olympic Games in Belgium, in 1920. It moved to the Winter Games in 1924. Women's ice hockey appeared 74 years later at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

The rookie U.S. ice hockey team made history in 1960, when they crushed the powerhouse Czechoslovakian team to win the first U.S. gold medal in ice hockey. Twenty years later, another amateur U.S. ice hockey team made history during the Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Americans defeated the heavily favored Russian team to win the gold medal. The victory was nicknamed "Miracle on Ice."

The Rules of the Game

Teams cannot have more than six players on the ice during the game. That's five skaters and one goaltender. Skaters have to hold their positions, but goaltenders can travel anywhere up to the red line that cuts the rink in half. Similar to soccer, players must get the puck past the opposing team's goalie into the net, in order to score points.

Games include three 20-minute periods, with a 15-minute break after the first and second periods. In the event of a tie, a sudden-victory round is played to determine the winner.

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