March 21, 2023 A Guide to the Rules of Hockey

A Guide to the Rules of Hockey

A Guide to the Rules of Hockey

Hockey is a fantastic sport with a rich history and tradition. It is fast, exciting, and requires a great deal of skill and athleticism. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, understanding the rules of hockey is essential to enjoying the game and playing it well. In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look at the rules of hockey, from the basics of gameplay to more advanced concepts and strategies.

The Objective of Hockey

At its core, hockey is a game in which two teams of 11 players each compete to score more goals than their opponents. The game is played on a rectangular field, with goals located at either end. The objective of the game is simple: score more goals than the other team.

The Basics of Gameplay

Hockey is played using a stick and a ball. Players use their sticks to hit the ball around the field and into the opposing team’s goal. The ball must be hit with the flat side of the stick rather than the rounded edge, and players are not allowed to hit the ball with any part of their body except their stick.

Players move around the field by running, with substitutions allowed throughout the game. However, once a player leaves the field, they cannot re-enter the game without permission from the referee.

The Rules of Hockey

There are a number of rules that govern play in hockey. Here are some of the most important:

Offsides: If a player enters the opposing team’s half of the field before the ball does, they are offsides. This rule is designed to prevent players from “cherry-picking” and waiting for the ball to come to them before making a play.

Fouls: There are a number of fouls that can be called in hockey, including pushing, tripping, and using the stick to hit an opposing player. Fouls can result in free hits or penalty corners, depending on the severity of the infraction.

Penalty Corners: When a foul is committed in front of the opposing team’s goal, the attacking team is awarded a penalty corner. This gives them an opportunity to take a free hit from a designated spot, with the goal of scoring a goal.

Free Hits: When a foul is committed elsewhere on the field, the opposing team is awarded a free hit. This gives them the opportunity to regain possession or make a strategic play.

Shootouts: In the event of a tie at the end of regulation play, a shootout may be used to determine a winner. This involves each team taking turns shooting at the opposing team’s goalkeeper, with the team that scores more goals winning the game.

Strategy and Tactics

Hockey is a game that requires a great deal of strategy and tactical thinking. Here are some of the most important concepts to keep in mind:

Passing: Effective passing is crucial in hockey. Players need to be able to pass the ball accurately and quickly in order to create scoring opportunities.

Positions: Each player has a designated position on the field, with specific roles and responsibilities. Understanding these positions and how they work together is essential to creating a strong team.

Defence: A strong defence can be the key to victory in hockey. Teams need to be able to effectively defend against opposing attacks and prevent the other team from scoring.

Offence: While defence is important, offence is what wins games. Teams need to be able to work together to create scoring opportunities and find ways to put the ball in the net.


Q: Can players use their hands in hockey?

A: No, players are not allowed to use their hands to touch the ball. They must use their sticks to hit the ball.

Q: How long does a hockey game last?

A: A standard hockey game lasts 70 minutes, divided into two 35-minute halves.

Q: Can players score from anywhere on the field?

A: Yes, players can score from anywhere on the field, as long as the ball goes into the opposing team’s goal.

Q: How many players are on a hockey team?

A: Each team has 11 players on the field at a time.


Hockey is a thrilling sport that requires skill, athleticism, and tactical thinking. By understanding the rules of the game, players can enjoy it more fully and play it more effectively. We hope that this guide has provided a helpful introduction to the rules of hockey, and we encourage players to continue exploring the many nuances of this exciting sport.

Source: FIH

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