Portal:Ice hockey

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Ice hockey, referred to simply as hockey in Canada, the United States, and most of Europe including Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic, is a team sport played on ice. It is one of the world's fastest sports, with players on skates capable of going high speeds on natural or artificial ice surfaces. Though played on six continents, ice hockey, as a participatory and as a spectator sport, is most popular in nations in which the climate is sufficiently cold as to permit natural, long-term seasonal ice cover; Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Russia, and the United States have dominated international competition, claiming 47 of the 48 gold and silver medals awarded in the men's and women's competitions at the Olympic Winter Games.

Ice hockey is one of the four major North American professional sports, represented at the highest level by the National Hockey League. It is the official national winter sport of Canada, where seven of the 32 NHL franchises are based; Canadian-born players, though, outnumber American-born players in the NHL by a factor of three (30 per cent, additionally, come from outside North America).

The sport is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players, five positional players and one goaltender, per team on the ice at any time, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, with the goal nets placed at opposite ends of the rink. The players may control the puck using a long stick with a blade that is commonly curved at one end. Players may also generally redirect the puck with any part of their bodies, but the kicking of the puck into the goal is prohibited.

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A fight during junior ice hockey game

Fighting in ice hockey is an established aspect of the sport with a long history involving many levels of amateur and professional play and including some notable individual fights. Although a target of criticism, it is a considerable draw for the sport and is for many fans the primary reason to attend games. Fighting is usually the role of one or more enforcers on a given hockey team and is governed by a complex system of unwritten rules that players, coaches, officials, and the media refer to as "the code". Some fights are spontaneous and others are premeditated by the participants. While officials tolerate fighting during hockey games, they impose a variety of penalties on players who engage in fights. Broadly speaking, fighting exists in organized ice hockey to protect star players, who are generally discouraged by their coaches from fighting because of fear of injury, to deter opposing players from overly rough play, and to create a sense of solidarity among teammates. (more...)

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Christoph Schubert scores on Martin Brodeur
Credit: Flickr

Christoph Schubert of the Ottawa Senators beats the New Jersey Devils' Martin Brodeur in a regular-season game on January 6, 2007. Ottawa and New Jersey met in the playoffs, in the conference semifinals. Ottawa won the series 4–1.

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Zdeno Chara

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