What’s the deal?
Two teams of 11 players try to get a ball into a goal using only a stick. The team with the most points wins.
That’s, of course, the simple explanation. Players–except for the goalie–can’t touch the ball with any part of their body. Additionally, no one can make a shot on goal unless they’re within the marked scoring semi-circle.
Men and women each have their own tournament. Although the host nation usually is allowed to compete in every sport, the International Hockey Federation and IOC said that Brazil’s women’s team didn’t meet the standards, so they won’t be in this one.
Why should I watch?
Hockey is a fast-paced sport, partially thanks to the fact that the field is made of turf, which makes the ball go a lot more quickly. Athletes have to be agile enough to keep up, and they have to have massive stick control as they try to corral the small plastic and cork ball without killing each others’ shins.
Potential drinking game:
If a team gets a goal off of a short corner (a penalty shot from the corner), drink.
The perfect snack:
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the international governing body for the sport. It’s got some great resources for learning how to play and can direct you to your national association for more info.
If you’d rather become an official, FIH has different resources to help your development.