January 10, 2020
Clark Weeks plays underwater hockey and told us about this sport which we had never heard of. He is on the National Men’s Team for Underwater Hockey. But wait, what is underwater hockey? How do you combine ice hockey and a swimming pool?
The ice hockey seen above doesn’t seem like it would mix will with a swimming pool seen below.
You probably know a lot of different sports played on land or above water, but I bet you haven’t heard of a sport played beneath the water’s surface. Introducing underwater hockey. Yes, it’s actually an up-and-coming sport that is played, you guessed it, underwater! Yes, this sport is played on the bottom of a pool.
Underwater hockey has the combined elements of hockey, diving, swimming, and snorkeling. Similar to ice hockey, players push a puck into the opponent’s goal using sticks of about 12 inches in length.
Players and their gear
Just like in any other sports, underwater hockey players’ equipment include a snorkel, fins, diving masks, ear protectors, gloves, and swimsuit. There are two teams for this game, with each team composed of 6 starter players and 4 “spares” who are in standby for substitution at any time.
You play the sport in a pool that is 25 meter by 15 meters in length and 2 to 4 meters in depth. An ideal pool for the sport has a flat bottom and has ceramic or glass tiles on the bottom.
How it started
Underwater hockey is originally known as Octopush, since it started with teams of eight and players used sticks called pushers to hit a puck called a “squid”.
Although underwater hockey is unfamiliar to many, it has been around since the early 1950s. The British Navy developed the sport. They wanted to keep their divers in shape and improve their ability to move and work under water, consequently enhancing their skills. It then became popular in Australia before evolving into a dynamic sports and expanding across the globe. Over 20 different countries worldwide now play this sport.
How it’s played
The game has two 15-minute halves and a 3-minute break, lasting for 33 minutes. With two teams starting at each of the pool’s end, both teams rush to get control of the 3 lb. puck that is in the middle of pool. The aim of the game is to move the puck into the opponent’s 3-meter goal using only their sticks. A foul is called in favor of the opposing team if another instrument or body part was used to hit the puck. By the end of the allotted time, the team that has scored the most goals is declared winner.
Why play it?
As long as you’re able-bodied, this sport is great for all ages. Believe it or not, there are even players that are eighty-one years old and as young as twelve! Anyone can basically play this sport, as long as you know swimming and a bit of hockey.
It’s also a great workout while having fun. Most people get too lazy to workout. But, when your workout involves playing for fun, it doesn’t really feel like a workout and you’d be motivated to do it. As swimming engages all body muscles – from your head down to your foot – it keeps you in top shape, develops your cardio and stamina, and strengthens your muscles.
It’s a friendly sport. Unlike other sports where you can have bad injuries, you can play underwater hockey without the worry of falling down, breaking your bones, or twisting your ankles or worrying about pressure on your joints.
Friendly. Fun. Great workout. Underwater hockey is a unique sport with great benefits. Thanks to Clark Weeks for telling us about underwater hockey. An unusual and fun sport. See the following post about underwater hockey competitions.