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Gateway to the Summer Games - Spotlight Sports Griffin Publishing Group

Ice Hockey
Hockey was first brought to North America when British soldiers stationed in Nova Scotia, Canada, played the earliest games. By the 1870s, a group of college students at McGill University in Montreal were organizing games and had developed the first known set of hockey rules. In accordance with this new set of regulations, known as the "McGill rules," a puck was substituted for a rubber ball and the number of players on a team was set at nine. The National Hockey League was formed in 1910; there are currently 30 clubs competing in the National Hockey League.

From The U.S. men's shocking "Miracle On Ice" victory in Lake Placid, N.Y., to Dominik Hasek's incredible goaltending in Nagano, Japan, Olympic ice hockey has provided fans with some of the most memorable moments in Winter Games history.

In Olympic Ice Hockey, each team has five skaters and one goalie on the ice at any time. Substitutions occur as often as every 40 to 60 seconds. The men's team is allowed a maximum of 22 players and the women's team is allowed 20 players.

Olympic hockey rules differ from National Hockey League rules and are established by the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Olympics game puts less emphasis on body contact than the National League.

The first Olympic Games to include ice hockey for men took place in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. However, the first Olympic Winter Games took place in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Women's hockey was added to the Olympic Winter Games program in Nagano, Japan in 1998. The 55 Ice Hockey matches at the 2002 Winter Olympics will be held in two locations - the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah, and the E Center in Salt Lake City .

Interesting Facts
  • Canada and the Soviet Union have been the two dominant countries in Olympic ice hockey. The two countries have won 14 out of the 19 Olympic tournaments.
  • The 1998 Nagano Games allowed professionals for the first time, and hockey's biggest international stars brought a new level of competitiveness to Olympic hockey.
  • The puck is hit with the hockey stick and can reach speeds of more than 150 miles per hour.
  • Across the United States registered membership in the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (USA Hockey) includes more than 250,000 players, 15,000 teams, 20,000 coaches and 9,000 referees along with countless volunteers.
To Learn More About Ice Hockey
Other Winter Olympic Sports

Alpine Skiing


Figure Skating

Ice Hockey


Ski Jumping

Speed Skating


General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this winter. Even though Gateway to the Winter Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and every one by visiting the sites listed below.

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