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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 31 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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Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur (born May 6, 1972, in Montreal, Quebec) is a professional ice hockey goaltender who has played his entire National Hockey League career with the New Jersey Devils. In his 13-year tenure, he has led the team to three Stanley Cup championships and has taken them to the playoffs all but once. He holds more than thirty Devils franchise records, and assuming he remains healthy to play at least two more seasons, he is on pace to surpass Patrick Roy's career records for wins, games played and minutes played, as well as Terry Sawchuk's record for career shutouts, and Patrick Roy's record for career playoff shutouts. Brodeur has been among the NHL's most consistent goaltenders over the past decade, winning at least 35 games each of the last ten seasons as well as being the only goalie in NHL history with six 40-win seasons. He is a three-time Vezina Trophy winner, a four-time Jennings Trophy winner, a nine-time NHL All Star, and one of only two NHL goaltenders to have scored goals in the regular season and the playoffs. (more...)

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The Hockey Hall of Fame, in Toronto, Canada
Credit: SimonP

The Hockey Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dedicated to the history of ice hockey, it contains exhibits that feature interactive displays, players, teams, NHL records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup.

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Roberto Luongo
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