Hockey is the most underrated sport of the big four but if your man is into hockey, you are very lucky. You do not need to understand the rules to love this sport because it is so fast paced and entertaining. Also, each regular season game rarely last more than an hour and a half. That is plenty of time to dedicate to your guy’s favorite sport, right?
This game is full of well-spoken players that are full of respect for the sport. Yes, fighting is allowed and to some of our sisters in sports and love, that might seem neanderthal, but I promise that it lends to the excitement of the game.
The basics of hockey are real simple. There are 5 players per team plus the goalie. Each player has a stick. Also on the ice, there are two referees and two linesmen. A linesman is identified by the orange armband he wears and he keeps an eye on the blue line that marks the team’s zone. When the team is on offense, the puck has to cross the blue line before any of that team’s players otherwise the team is called for offside and the play is called dead. When the play is called dead, then the teams face-off. There are a lot of face-offs during a game.
If a foul is called against a player, the player will serve his penalty in the penalty box. The number of minutes awarded depends on the severity of the penalty. The TV will keep track of those minutes for us.
When a player is in the penalty box, the other team is on a power play which means they have a one man advantage. It is possible that two players from the same team can be in the penalty box together which is really, really good for the other team. This means they are on a 5 on 3 advantage.
In hockey, the game can never end in a tie. During the regular season, if the score is tied at the end of the game, we go into a 5 minute overtime. If we are still in a tie situation, then we see a ‘shootout’. Each team picks 3 players. One player per round goes head-to-head with the goalie. If the player scores a goal, that team gets a point. Whoever scores the most head-to-head points at the end of 3 or more rounds gets a goal and wins the game. During the playoffs, the teams play as many overtimes as necessary until someone scores. This is the ultimate sudden death.
When a team wins a regular season game, that team is awarded 2 points. If a team loses after an overtime or a shootout, they get 1 point. If a team loses outright, they do not receive any points. The points they earn by winning are summed and the total cedes the teams. These teams really earn their playoff spots.
The final series in a hockey season is called the Stanley Cup Finals. When the team wins the series, they win the Stanley Cup Trophy. For me, this the most coveted trophy in the four major sports. Each player from the winning team is allowed 24 hours with the trophy to do whatever he wants, go wherever he wants with it. Some even drink out of the actual cup! What they do in the off season with the cup is a story in itself.