Underwater hockey

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Chris-steal-pcc-2001.jpg
A view from the bottom at the Pacific Coast Championships in Hawaii, 2001

Underwater hockey (also known as Octopush) is a sport in which two teams compete in a swimming pool to maneuver a puck sliding across the bottom of the pool into the opponent's goal with a short stick of a single material with positive buoyancy. The sport was invented in 1954 by four divers from Southsea, England: John Ventham, Alan Blake, Jack Willis, and Frank Lilleker; substantial changes have occurred in equipment, team size, and other factors to make the game what it is today.

Players wear masks, fins, and snorkels to play, and water polo style caps and mouthguards as safety gear. The puck, which weighs three pounds (1.3-1.5 kg), and is surrounded by a plastic covering, is approximately the size of an ice hockey puck. Sticks, which are colored to indicate the player's team, are held by one hand and have a total length (including handle) of up to 30 centimeters. The 3m-wide goals lie on the bottom at the ends of the playing area. Two teams of up to ten players compete, with as many as six players on each side in play at any given time; substitution is conducted throughout play from as many as four substitutes. Substitution from the water on the side of the playing area is an innovation first introduced by the trustees of the Houston Underwater Hockey Trust at the 2000 United States National Championship held in College Station, Texas, and replaced the former method, substitution from the deck behind the goals. Currently, substitution from the side of the playing area on the deck (the only method allowed at world championship tournaments), from the side of the playing area in an in-water sub box (as innovated in Texas), and substitution from the deck behind the goals (a modified side substitution which accepts the benefits of removing subs from the goal area, but rejects the benefits of allowing substitutes to view the playing area before entering the playing area) are recognized substitution methods acceptable at tournaments.

Spectators may either try on fins, a snorkel, and mask and enter the pool for a view of the playing area, or take advantage of the work of underwater videographers who have recorded major tournaments. Organizers of major tournaments are usually the only contacts for acquiring underwater hockey footage, and no worldwide repository yet exists for recorded games. Filming the games is challenging even for the experienced videographer, as the players' movement is fast and there is no place on the surface or beneath it which is free from the frenzied movement of the players.

Underwater hockey enjoys popularity in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands and France, and can be found in numerous additional countries catalogued at The Underwater Hockey Tourist (http://www.pucku.org/uwht/), which has catered to the needs of traveling underwater hockey players since 1996.

The world championships are held every two years in an event sanctioned by the World Underwater Federation (Conféderation Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, or "CMAS"). In New Zealand, a special pool was constructed with transparent sides to permit spectators to view the play from bleachers. The 2004 World Underwater Hockey Championships held in Christchurch, New Zealand, at least 36 teams competed in six age and gender categories, including teams from Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.

The Official Rules (http://www.reedconsulting.com/refereesguild/rules/8.20/en/CMAS_UWH_Rules_8-20_EN.pdf) promulgated by CMAS, currently in revision 8.20, are available in PDF form without charge and define (including with illustrations) stick and goal dimensions, puck weight, the fouls and referee signals, and the definition of a successful goal.

External links

sl:Podvodni hokej

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