Hockey in general is the group of sports which require two teams equipped with hockey sticks. Each team tries to put a puck in the other team goal. There are many different varieties of this family of sports, such as field hockey, street hockey or roller hockey. But the most popular in the world is ice hockey. The history of this sport is not quite clear as such activities on the ice were known from centuries. However, there are two main theories concerning the origins of modern ice hockey. First one claims that it was the invention of immigrants who came to Canada from the Great Britain. The very cold weather in that country allowed them to practice hockey. The supporters of the other theory believes that the real creators of the game were also immigrants but those from Iceland. They were responsible for winning Olympic medal for Canada in hockey in 1875. Whatever the truth is, it is a fact that the modern ice hockey started in Canada. That is where the first indoor game of hockey was organized in the year of 1875. The sixty minutes game was just a beginning of a great development of this sports discipline.
Two years later the first hockey club was organized and a group of students created first set of rules for this discipline. Soon Montreal also organized a tournament in hockey and in 1893 the famous Stanley Cup was first awarded for the best team in Canada. At this time the number of hockey teams and leagues grew very fast and the popularity of this sport spread on the USA and Europe. Thanks to that at the very beginning of the twentieth century ice hockey started to exist on professional level. At this point many leagues were created in both the USA and Canada, but later on also in Europe. Canadians founded the National Hockey Association in 1910 which once again changed some rules of the game. Seven years later it transformed into National Hockey League which included also the United States of America. Now it is the most important league in North America because of the best players and incredible amount of fans.
Ice hockey, sometimes called by its fans the fastest sport in the world, requires from players speed, superb reflexes and stamina. Both teams have to be rally active during the hole game to eventually win. The rules of ice hockey are not very complicated so everyone can enjoy watching it. Each team consists of six players including goaltender. All of them are equipped with ice skates and hockey sticks which they use to maneuver the rubber puck. The aim of the game is to put the puck in the opposites’ goal. The team which scores more points wins the whole game. In professional hockey the playing time is sixty minutes which is divided into three periods. Apart from the hockey clubs which are included into different leagues, there are also national hockey teams. The most important tournament of this kind is of course Winter Olympics. Gold medals in hockey, which is a part of the Winter Games since 1924, were won by Canada seven times till the year 1952. Later on the team of the USSR monopolize these games up till the 1988. There are some other hockey international tournaments going on, but Winter Games is the only on during which we can observe all the best teams in the world in one place.