Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bubble Hockey

What is Bubble Hockey?

Lets drop the puck and let the fun begin...

Bubble, or dome hockey as it is also called, got its name because of the very apparent dome that covers the play-field. Typically the game is played either one on one or two one two with the competitors being responsible for the 5 players and the goalie. Game play is fast and furious as the puck never leaves the playing surface. Face-offs are automatic as the puck is either dropped onto the surface from above or ejected onto the playing surface. Most of the games have audio effects that offer realistic gaming experiences. Some, such as the classic Super Chexx, offer coin-op options that can be switched on and off for business or home use. The dome keeps the action contained inside the bubble hockey tables. So no more searching around the house or arcade for lost pucks.

Bubble Hockey History:

It is very important to distinguish that the histories of bubble hockey and table hockey are very different in their origin. The 1st table hockey games arrived in the 1920s. They had players made from wood and wire. Because the players could only spin in place, early table hockey games required a hump in the center of the table to keep the puck moving during game play. In the 1950s, our idea of modern table hockey was born. These games featured full color players capable of sliding up and down the playing surface. Most agree that table hockey in this manner existed in Europe since the 1930s.

Bubble hockey as we know it began in 1982 when Innovative Concepts in Entertainment created the first Chexx bubble hockey game. The Chexx bubble hockey game became incredibly popular with arcade goers and hockey fans alike. The game focused on the underdog USA Olympic hockey team of 1980 against the juggernaut Russian hockey team. Obviously some of the allure of the game played on the emotions of American hockey fans still proud from America's 1980 Olympic Gold medal hockey victory. Today, the Super Chexx bubble hockey game is the brand of choice for most bubble hockey enthusiasts as its standards have never waned from the beginning. There are other brands competing with Super Chexx for bubble hockey supremacy. Along with the original Super Chexx, models made by Regent- Halex, Harvard, Shelti, and Carrom are all worth checking out.

The History Of Hockey

The history of hockey is similar to that of golf as it basically is rooted from any game that involved a stick and a ball or rock which have all been played for thousands of years. Very rough and crude forms of these games have been taking place for thousands of years throughout Europe, Egypt and South America that have formed hockey history.

Hockey began to form clearer roots throughout England in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. These were treacherous games that often combined the entire village versus another village and teams could often have up to a hundred players and the players often played through major injuries and endured several days of these games.

The sport that we are more familiar with today began to form at Eton University in England when they actually began to formulate rules around 1860. Then the first Hockey Assoc. in the history of hockey was formed in 1875 which clarified more rules.

Further growth of the sport was spawning in North America as new settlers came to the continent. Montreal was credited with the first organized game in the history of hockey that was played in 1875 by college students. The students then formed more associations and leagues and created new rules at the same time.

The game continued to grow in popularity and became so popular that Montreal offered the first World Championship of Ice Hockey in 1883. European hockey continued to grow at the college level while a number of universities formed fierce rivalries.

Some dramatic rule changes were applied that helped progress the game to a field of eleven players while hockey equipment began to evolve as well. The use of safety equipment to include pads, helmets, mouth pieces and protective eye shields have dramatically improved from the early days of hockey history. It was not uncommon to not even wear head gear until the last few decades.

The international appeal of hockey grew tremendously due to the Olympic Games. It was first played at the Games in 1924 and only allowed male teams. Canada was a safe bet to win the gold medal as they won the first six out of seven golds. From the mid fifties to the eighties the Soviet Union dominated. Although the US won its first gold medal in hockey history in1960 it was the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” where our college amateur team went on to beat the heavily favored Russians that spurred a growth in Americas appetite for hockey.

The NHL as we know it today was formed in 1917 and consists of 30 teams 24 of which are from America and the remainder in Canada. The bulk of the players come from Canada, Europe and America. There is also an International Association called the International Hockey Federation which was formed in 1908 and continues today by hosting some of the largest international ice hockey tournaments. These two organizations have helped to form and govern hockey as we know it today. The sport has grown a lot from twigs and balls to a major international activity that produces billions in revenue each year and has some of the most amazing athletes on the planet, so goes the history of hockey.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Function Of Hockey Gloves

Hockey players from every skill level need the same basic equipment for protection and they need equipment that can help improve rather than impede their play. Each of the goalies that work to defend the net from flying pucks wears gloves that offer protection. Goalies also use them to catch or block pucks that come to the net. They are made of materials that can withstand the abuse incurred during strenuous play. The gloves themselves are made of a combination of materials including leather, fabric, and vinyl.

Each manufacturer of hockey gloves has unique designs to meet the needs of the players using them. Basic gloves have padding on the outsides of the hands in order to fully protect the hands from hard hits.

Other aspects of the designs include variations on different grip designs used on the palms. These grip designs allow the player to grip the stick during the game. Though they are padded, they are lighter for ease of use. They are made for the purpose of each player on the team. The gloves worn by goalies differ from what are worn by players on the ice. Because they are a functional part of the player's uniform, they have to be made to withstand the rigors of their function.

Now more than ever, you can easily find an abundance of gloves by looking online. One online retailer offers a wide spectrum of designs. Visit http://www.hockeymonkey.com to find an exceptional selection of gloves, equipment, and more.

Olympic Hockey

The name hockey comes from the French word hocquet which means stick. It's not clear how the game got started but the story goes that British soldiers stationed in Nova Scotia, Canada were playing hockey games of one sort or another. No doubt it was earlier than that when kids played on open ponds with sticks and some form of puck.

Olympic hockey has come a long way since it was included in the Antwerp games back in 1920.

In 1879 rules were set down for an organized game at McGill University in Montreal. It began to spread around the area and by the 1890s it had been picked up by the US interests. The first known organized hockey game took place between Johns Hopkins and Yale Universities in the winter of 1895.

The first winter olympic hockey games took place in the 1924 games in Chamonix, France. The first women's games were held in Nagano, Japan in 1998. Women compete in an eight team tournament whereas the men compete in a twelve team series.

The rules are quite simple for the game. A team may not have more than six players on the ice at any one time, but can have less while players are in the penalty box. The on ice team consists of a goalie, two defenders, two wingmen and one centre. The golaie may be replaced by a skater during a delayed penalty ( when the referee or linesman sights an infraction he raises his arm to indicate a penalty is coming. As soon as the offending team touch the puck the whistle is blown and the penalty is called) for the offending team will not be allowed to score during the delay.

A regular olympic hockey game consists of three 20 minute periods with a 15 minute rest in between. In case of a tie at the end of the third period, a five minute intermission will take place and then a sudden death period of overtime is played. If the game is still tied after that period, a shoot out takes place to determine a winner. The shootout will feature the best 3 out of 5 shots to go in the net.


The players must wear solidly built ice skates. The boots are made of many layers of material with padding in just the right places. They must cushion the foot but not allow it to move inside. Ankle support is extremely important as the players who may over 200 pounds must change direction instantly by throwing their weight into the turns causing tremendous stress on the skates and ankles.

The blades must be kept very sharp for good control. Certainly before every game and sometimes within the game itself, if a player is not happy with their performance.


Up until recently the olympic hockey sticks were made by combining a blade of wood into a wooden handle by gluing the joints together. The player wrapped the blade with tape to hold it solid and to assist in shooting the puck. This was the way most sticks were made for many years. The blade had a slight bevel on one side or the other for players to shoot high or left handed.

In the 1960s Bobby hull of the Chicago Black Hawks was one of the first to put a curve in the blade of the stick that not only caused the puck to go faster but it also created a wobble in the flight of the puck. The National Hockey League found it necessary to regulate the arc of the curve to standardize it.

In the 1990s composite sticks began to appear. They are made of different man made materials such as Kevlar, plastics and fiberglass. The stick shown here has holes in the handle to gain even more speed to the shot.

The puck is made of solid rubber. Before the game begins the pucks are frozen so that they will be more crisp when being shot from the sticks.

The players both professional and olympic hockey, are very well padded. The helmets are made of hard plastics. They have face screens or shields. Under those colorful sweaters the player has shoulder protection for the upper body. Elbow pads. Hockey gloves with plenty of padding. Their hockey pants are all padded and knee pads cover the section from above the knee to the skates.

When the puck is shot by a player the speed may reach over 100 miles per hour and so all that padding is required. Even still, injuries will occur.

The goalie must be heavily padded but must have great flexability. In this photo you can see the wide pads he wears as well as the huge catching glove.

The olympic hockey goalie wears a special protective face mask. Very colorful. This protects the goalie from getting hit not only from the puck but from sticks and skates which can inflict heavy damage during scrambles around the net.

The great Hall of Fame star, Johnny Bower, was a great goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing fearlessly without a mask until the ripe old age of 46.

Jacque Plant of the Montreal Canadians was the first goalie to wear a mask in the National Hockey League.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Best Ice Hockey Gear

There are many types of ice hockey gear available. To choose the best ice hockey gear, the buyer first needs to know what basic gear he or she needs. Then the buyer can determine the best type of ice hockey equipment to use. Ice hockey gear can be divided into two main categories - protective gear and playing equipment.

Protective gear is one of the most important types. Protective gear helps keep the player safe in what is one of the most intense contact sports in existence. Protective hockey gear starts with a good helmet. The helmet needs to allow free movement and vision, while also providing good protection against all types of hits or falls. Some helmets also have face cages, to keep the face from danger, and additional shields.

Other protective gear includes the padding and the shin guards. Padding is needed for several key areas and includes various body pads, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gloves. Pad style is largely a matter of preference. Padding that is too thick can inhibit skating, while padding that is too thin may not prevent injuries.

Other types of necessary gear are the skates and the stick. Skates are one of the most important pieces of gear. Skates are available in many different styles. The style skate chosen may depend on the position of the player, as well as the player's own skating ability. When sizing skates, buyers should be sure to try them on with the full amount of socks that they will wear, in order to ensure proper sizing. The standard width is also called "D" width. Wider widths are "E" or "EE".

Hockey Rules

Hockey north of the US Canadian border seems to carry more sway than any political, national or international moment. Hockey is far more than a sport to most Canadians, it's a catalyst for memories of our youth. Whether it's playing hockey on a frozen pond after the snow has been shoveled to the edges, or playing on the street in between cars and until the street lights come on. Hockey brings back crystal clear memories for most Canadians. Used to be mostly boys, but times have changed, and with the rise of women's hockey, many grown women for this and future generations will be sharing those same memories. And, that's why hockey means so much more than just a sport to most of us. It's a nostalgic reminder of a less troubled past, and a reminder of a happy youth.

Not Just A Sedimental Journey

Hockey is great sport first of all, for a variety of reasons. It's truly exciting to watch. Because of the ice surface it's played on, very few sports can match the speed at which the players move about the field of play. It moves as a game, really moves! Both the players and the puck. The tide can turn quickly in a hockey game, and you really can't let down your guard down for a moment. There can be long periods of no scoring, with lots of back and forth action. But then, in a heart beat the other team scores, and maybe a second or third goal shortly after, and fortunes have been reversed. I can think of no other sport that causes such heart-stopping, breath-holding, sheer intensity as when another team is pressing for a goal during a power play or man advantage after pulling their goalie. Usually it resembles some kind of train wreck in front of the goalie, with shot after shot, as the goalie goes down and up time and time again. Defensemen sliding desperately, risking injury to stop the puck, in the hopes, that the final seconds will elapse and the hockey game will be theirs.

The Great Ones and The Great One

Those nostalgic memories of hockey are not just of our own epic battles played between the street curbs and mounds of recently shoveled snow. There were of course the hockey legends themselves battling against one another. Hockey night in Canada is truly as much a national treasure, as any to this nation. During our formative years watching the great hockey teams and their rivalries were both a patriotic right and a duty. And then reliving those times in our own backyard rinks and streets, as we assumed the persona's of our favorite teams and players, to crush the opposing neighborhood kids with spectacular hockey moves, only to be followed only be even more spectacular goals. Truly times to be remembered, and cherished.

It's Not Just Our Game

The game is shared now. With other players, and other nations. Everyone plays, and their current and future generations are building their own great hockey memories. Andthat's OK. I just wonder, if those memories will rule their hearts and nations one day as they do ours.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hockey Equipment

Kids and teenagers are as crazy about ice hockey as the adults are. The older one could definitely take on the numerous beatings, trips, bumps, and bruises of the game, but not the kids. That is why it is very important that these young hockey players be fully equipped with protective gear to ensure their safety and enjoyment of the game. It is a good thing that hockey equipment manufacturers are also making hockey equipment especially for younger players. Here are some of the protective gear (which is not required in professional hockey games) the kids need to play hockey.

The mouthpiece

Worn in other sports such as boxing, basketball, and wrestling, the mouthpiece is required in some youth hockey games to prevent damage to the lips and teeth. Since hard contact is common in the game, the teeth are potentially in danger and must always be protected.

The neck guard

A neck guards are also needed to prevent whiplash or other serious neck injuries from happening. It is usually made of ballistic reinforced nylon material.

The helmet

In hockey, wearing a helmet is mandatory because the head should always be protected. Wearing the wrong kind of helmet could lead to serious head injuries like concussion. When buying a helmet, here are some specifications you should look for:

1. Make sure you get the right size for your head. Get a helmet that is not too loose so it will not move too much. Do not buy a helmet that is too tight either because you have to keep the blood circulating to your head. Measure the circumference of your head about an inch above your eyebrows in order to get your size.

2. Check if the helmet has padding around it. It should also cup the back of your head, allowing it to comfortably grip your head while playing.

3. Get a helmet that has "tool-free" adjustments so that it would fit precisely on your head.

4. Young hockey players are required to wear helmets with visors or wire face masks. This is needed to protect their faces from unexpected flying pucks.

Ice hockey

Where I grew up in Minnesota, backyard ice rinks were a fine tradition. Not everyone had a backyard ice rink, because not everyone needed one. If you were just simply into ice figure skating, you would go down to the local lake. All winter, the lake would be frozen, and people from all over the city would go there after work or after school. Kids would skate with their parents, going round and round until they got tired or cold. Then they would go home for hot chocolate, have some dinner, and start on their schoolwork.

Backyard ice rinks were about something else altogether. Basically, having a backyard ice rink only had one purpose: ice hockey. You needed an ice hockey rink to play the game. It wasn't that the ice wasn't smooth enough on the regular lake to play. It was just that there were too many people there already. The ice skating lake was the big municipal gathering ground in the winter. You couldn't have a game of ice hockey on it – you would hit your grandmother with the puck.

I remember when me and my dad built our first backyard skating rink together. I had been asking for backyard ice rinks for years, but my dad had been seemed to be deaf to my pleading. Every year, he had told me the same thing: you are too young. Finally, when I was 13, he decided I was ready. I didn't know this, but backyard ice rinks were a tradition in my family. My father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather all built their first backyard ice rink when they were 13. Before that, backyard ice rinks were viewed as too dangerous. When you were 13, however, you are seen as old enough to ice skate without supervision.

I played many ice hockey games on that rink. Backyard ice rinks, once they were built, became great places of social activity. Unlike the lake where everyone would hang out, backyard ice rinks were where guys would go when we felt like some friendly competition. I would play with my friends, my family, and even strangers from the neighborhood. Some of the girls even came to the backyard ice rinks to watch us play, and it was a great opportunity for us boys to try to show off. The winters were long there, but we were smart people. We found ways to make them fun.