After talking with co-captains Finn Cullen and Cooper Gibson about how to play and understand hockey, I boiled the sport down into ten must know rules and tips to fully understand the game.
“My top tips are to pay attention to what’s going on because it’s a really fast game and can be hard to keep up with” (Cooper Gibson, ‘20)
First, we talked about the rink and what all of those different lines and circles mean.
You can’t pass across two lines, or else you will end up in one of the five face off circles, but most likely in your defensive half.
The game starts in the center circle where each team has an equal chance of winning the puck.
The crease is where the goalie usually stays, but can leave to make a save if it is on their side of the ice.
“All of the rules weren’t confusing because I was lucky enough to have a dad who was a ref all his life and played in the NHL, so when you have someone who is that influential in your life, it makes it a lot easier.” (Finn Cullen, ‘21)
There are countless ways to end up in the face-off circle, for instance earning a penalty by checking from behind, which is catching a player off-guard without the chance to defend himself or “slashing” another opponent with his stick to cause injury or prevent a play.
The fifth tip on understanding hockey is to know all five positions: goalie, defensemen, left wing, right wing and center. On the ice, there are always six guys playing. Players like Finn Cullen play center and Cooper Gibson, # 4, play defense.
“I play center because it is the position I’m most familiar with and it benefits the team because I have more of an opportunity to control the tempo of the game” (Finn Cullen, ‘21)
The all-star goalie, Max Vitucci, is arguably the reason for success in many of the Norwalk-McMahon team’s games. The goalie’s job is to stop the puck in his special glove, different than those of the other team members, this one has a net in it, which makes it easier to catch and then play back to the team.
In order to “sub” in players, they must be close to the bench where the substitute is in order for the new guy to come on. This process is called subbing “on the fly.”
Hockey has different “lines” that they premake before the games to make it easier to sub. The first line consists of starters and is usually the best players. The Norwalk-McMahon team has 4 forward lines and 2 defensive lines because of their larger team.
“Biggest challenges in hockey are learning to communicate well with your teammates 'cause if you don’t you can’t win” (Cooper Gibson, ‘20).
Our team consists of both high schools: Norwalk High and our school, Brien McMahon. Their home rink is Sono Ice House, only a six-minute drive from McMahon, and is also where they have their practices after school.
After learning all of these different rules and tips, I hope you head out to the next Norwalk-McMahon boys hockey game!