All of us wait for the summers, or more specifically for summer vacations so that we can spend our days sleeping, gaming and doing nothing. After all, who doesn’t love to stay in that state of general inactivity? I sure do. But on the off chance, if you were thinking of doing something productive this summer, I have just the right thing for you. Underwater hockey is the sport you should be playing. Not only this sport is exciting but also provides you an opportunity to exercise your muscles and lungs.
For most people, it’s an unusual sport they’ve never heard of. In fact, it is considered one of the weird sports of this planet. Combing swimming and hockey was definitely not the best idea any human being ever came up with. But if you delve a little deeper into it, you’ll realize underwater hockey is not as weird as it sounds. Here are a few things you should be aware of if you plan on giving it a chance this summer.
What exactly is Underwater Hockey?
Players describe it as a non-contact sport in which two teams try to score points by putting the puck in their opponent’s goal. The venue is inside a swimming pool. As the name suggests, it is played underwater in controlled conditions. Non-contact sport means the players cannot grab each other and limit each other’s movement in any way.
A little bit on the History
Underwater hockey is a fairly new sport. It originated in 1954 by Alan Blake, an open water diver in England and Wales. In order to promote activity among fellow divers in cold water during winters, Blake started playing what they called Octopush. A game in which they maneuver a puck with a stick across the bed of the swimming pool. Its name’s Octopush. Because it involved eight players and a pusher (the hockey stick). Since then, underwater hockey has become a major sport with varying popularity worldwide.
CMAS and WAA
As I said, it is a proper game with international representation. CMAS and WAA act as the governing federations of underwater hockey as well as all the other activities underneath the water. The first World UWH Championship was organized by CMAS in 1980 and hosted by Canada. Similarly, both federations had arranged various tournaments throughout the year. Australia is the current world champion in both men and women category.
Although underwater hockey enjoys fame in many countries, it failed to earn a spot in the Olympics and the World Games.
The Rules of Underwater Hockey
There are a number of rules players have to follow when they are competing in official matches. However, for informal play with friends, you can make do with only the basics. Here are some points that can help you make sense of the game.
The number of Players
Two teams participate in the match. Each consisting of 10 members but only six can play at a time. Other members act as a substitute and come into play when a player runs out of breath underwater. The only people who can compete in this sport are those who excel in free diving. That’s why start taking driving lessons before you play underwater hockey.
One game is usually half an hour long with two 15 minute halves and additional three-minute halves in between. This can differ depending on what tournament you are participating in. World Championship can have twenty minute halves time as well.
Necessary Equipment for UWH
There are seven items that make up the gear for underwater hockey, including snorkel, fins, face mask, puck, stick, gloves, and ear plugs. The stick and puck are specially made of lead and coated with plastic which makes it easier to move around. The snorkel and fins assist underwater movements while the face mask allows more vision than goggles.
The Risk of Injuries
One thing you must absolutely keep in mind is that underwear hockey is a relatively dangerous sport. You need to be sufficiently trained in free diving to be able to play it and even then the risk of injuries is not zero. Since it involves staying underwater for a long time, you can lose consciousness or drown. Although, usually there is professional help available to mitigate the chance of unfortunate accidents.
Underwater Ice Hockey
Speaking of injuries and dangerous sports, underwater hockey isn’t the most precarious out there. That would be underwater ice hockey. Yep, you read that right. It’s is a game that combines swimming and ice hockey. It is played in the bottom of a frozen lake. Definitely, not a game you can play in summers, though you might want to. Underwater Ice Hockey is considered a minor extreme sport because there is a greater risk of players contacting hypothermia, frostbite, and Asphyxiation, etc.
Image Credit to Wikimedia Commons