This wiki is supposed to give a brief explanation of the game of hockey with a focus on the NHL in particular. This page includes everything from me sounding smart and pretending to be a real writer to pictures, videos and RSS feeds, all for your enjoyment!!



Hockey is a team sport played on ice that originated in Canada around 1800. The word hockey itself originates from the French word “hoquet” meaning (shepherd’s crook) referring to the shape of the stick used in the game. It is a high contact sport that combines the need for skill, speed and physical toughness. The sport has spread to many other countries such as the United States, Russia and many Scandinavian countries. The National Hockey League (NHL) is considered the highest level of men’s hockey and the Canadian’s Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL) are considered the highest level of competition in women’s hockey.

Game and Teams

The game itself consists of three 20-minute periods played between two teams. Each team consists of 6 players (5 skaters and 1 goaltender). Both a goal and an assist are worth one point. If the two teams are tied at the end of the 60 minutes, an overtime period is played and sometimes the game continues to a shootout to determine the winner. Two to four officials are usually on the ice to call penalties and goals during the game. Minor penalties include slashing, cross checking and tripping while more serious penalties (major penalties) include fighting, boarding and spearing.

Women’s Hockey

Hockey is the fastest growing women’s sport in the world. One of the first women hockey players is Lady Isobel Stanley who is photographed playing hockey at Rideau Hall, Ottawa in 1890. Women’s ice hockey was added as a medal sport at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

The National Hockey League (NHL)

It is the most elite men’s hockey league in the world. It consists of 30 teams, 24 of these teams are based in the United States while the other 6 teams are based in Canada. The Stanley Cup is known as the oldest sports trophy in North America and is awarded to the NHL champion at the end of each season. The NHL format consists of 82 regular season games and four best of 7 playoff rounds in which a team must win 4 games in order to advance to the next round. The league was founded in 1917 in Montreal, Quebec. It started with 4 teams and gradually expanded to include 30 teams.
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NHL Trophies & Awards

The Stanley Cup is the highest honour in the NHL and is given to the playoff champion at the end of each season. However, the two teams who make it to the final round first receive the Prince of Wales Trophy that is awarded to the Eastern Conference Champion and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl which is awarded to the Western Conference Champion. In addition, the team that finishes the regular season with the most points is awarded with the President’s Trophy.
At the end of each hockey season, the NHL holds an awards ceremony to honour the players, coaches and teams who have excelled in different areas of the game. These awards include:
- Hart Memorial Trophy, Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Calder Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, James Norris Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, Jack Adams Award, Frank J. Selke Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy, King Clancy Memorial Trophy, Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award, Mark Messier Leadership Award, NHL Foundation Award, and NHL Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hockey Traditions

Hockey players and fans are known to have many rituals, and traditions that they apply in different times of the games. Some were started by teams and others by individual players and have grown to become part of the game. Certain teams have their own traditions but other traditions apply to all the teams. Some team traditions include:
- Detroit Red Wings Octopi throwing: a tradition that started in 1952, when the league only consisted of six team and teams only needed 8 wins to become the champions. Two brothers who owned a fish market decided to start the tradition and the 8 tentacles symbolized the number of wins needed
- Playoff Beards: once the playoffs start, players who are in playoff contention do not shave until they are eliminated. Even some fans have taken the tradition and grow playoff beard of their own until their teams are eliminated. This tradition was started in 1980 by the New York Islanders and has been a playoff trend ever since.
- The Hat trick: fans throw their hats on the ice to salute a player when he scores three goals in a single game. The tradition was taken from cricket in 1858 when a player hit three wickets in a row, it was considered such a great accomplishment, the team gave the player a brand new hat.