Hockey refers to a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball, or a puck, into the opponent's goal, using a hockey stick
Games played with curved sticks and a ball have been found throughout history and the world. There are 4000-year-old drawings from Egypt. Hurling dates to before 1272BC and there is a depiction from 500BC in Ancient Greece when the game was called "Κερητίζειν" ("kerētízein") because it was played with a horn ("κέρας" in Greek) and a ball-like object. In Inner Mongolia, China, the Daur people have been playing Beikou (a game similar to modern field hockey) for about 1,000 years. There were hockey-like games throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and the word 'hockey' was recorded in 1363 when Edward III of England issued the proclamation: "[m]oreover we ordain that you prohibit under penalty of imprisonment all and sundry from such stone, wood and iron throwing; handball, football, or hockey; coursing and cock-fighting, or other such idle games.
Field hockey is played on gravel, natural grass, sand-based or water-based artificial turf, with a small, hard ball. The game is popular among both males and females in many parts of the world, particularly in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In most countries, the game is played between single-sex sides, although they can be mixed-sex.
The governing body is the 116-member International Hockey Federation (FIH). Men's field hockey has been played at each summer Olympic Games since 1908 (except 1912 and 1924), while women's field hockey has been played at the Summer Olympic Games since 1980.
Modern field hockey sticks are J-shaped and constructed of a composite of wood, glass fibre or carbon fibre (sometimes both) and have a curved hook at the playing end, a flat surface on the playing side and curved surface on the rear side. While current field hockey appeared in the mid-18th century in England, primarily in schools, it was not until the first half of the 19th century that it became firmly established. The first club was created in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London. Field hockey is the national sport of India and Pakistan.
Ice hockey is played on a large flat area of ice, using a three inch (76.2 mm) diameter vulcanized rubber disc called a puck. This puck is often frozen before high-level games to decrease the amount of bouncing and friction on the ice. The game is contested between two teams of skaters. The game is played all over North America, Europe and in many other countries around the world to varying extent. It is the most popular sport in Canada, Finland, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and in Slovakia.
The governing body is the 66-member International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Men's ice hockey has been played at the Winter Olympics since 1924, and was in the 1920 Summer Olympics. Women's ice hockey was added to the Winter Olympics in 1998. North America's National Hockey League (NHL) is the strongest professional ice hockey league, drawing top ice hockey players from around the globe. The NHL rules are slightly different from those used in Olympic ice hockey: the periods are 20 minutes long, counting downwards. There are three periods.
Ice hockey sticks are long L-shaped sticks made of wood, graphite, or composites with a blade at the bottom that can lie flat on the playing surface when the stick is held upright and can curve either way, legally, as to help a left- or right-handed player gain an advantage.
There are early representations and reports of ice hockey-type games being played on ice in the Netherlands, and reports from Canada from the beginning of the nineteenth century, but the modern game was initially organized by students at McGill University, Montreal in 1875 who, by two years later, codified the first set of ice hockey rules and organized the first teams.
Ice hockey is played at a number of levels, by all ages.