Olympics
All you want to know regarding the history and evolution of hockey, its induction into the Olympics, the rules of the sport and some of the best Olympic performances have been compiled in this article.

Hockey

Field hockey was played for the first time as a men's competition at the Summer Olympic Games in 1908 London Olympics. Six teams participated out of which four were from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. However, Hockey was removed from the Olympics during the 1924 Paris Games for having no international sporting structure. As a result in a response to hockey's removal from the Olympics the International Hockey Federation (FIH, Federation Internationale de Hockey) was founded in Paris in the same year. Men's hockey became a permanent Olympic sport since the 1928 Olympics Games held at Amsterdam. Initially the South Asian countries, clearly dominated the Olympics, as either India or Pakistan won the men's gold medal in all the Olympics events from 1928 to 1968. Though men started playing Olympic field hockey in 1908, but it was not until 1980 when women earned the opportunity to play hockey in an Olympics arena.

Hockey Rules And Regulations
  • The field players have to the flat side of the head of their stick to control the ball.
  • The goalkeepers are however allowed to kick the ball or use their hands, while they are within the semicircular area, called the shooting circle.
  • A penalty stroke is awarded if the defender commits a foul to prevent what appeared to be a likely goal.
  • The ball has to be kept on the ground during a play. However a player may scoop or flick the ball in the air to pass it to a teammate. The referee decides whether this action calls for a penalty or not.
  • Use of body and stick is strictly prohibited while stopping the opponents from getting the ball.
  • Free hits are given if in case a foul occurs. Free hits are taken from the spot where the foul took place.
  • If play halts for reasons other than a penalty, a "bully" may decide possession. Here the players from both the teams face off, and they strike their sticks together before competing for the ball on the ground lying between them.
  • Substitutions are allowed in field hockey. Any number of players may be substituted at one time. There is also no limit for the number of times any player may substitute or be substituted for. Substitutions may occur at any time during a match, but not during penalty corners unless the defending goalkeeper gets suspended or injured.
  • In case of rough play, misconduct or other intentional offense, the umpire may caution Warn (with green card), temporarily suspend the offending player for a minimum of five minutes with a yellow card or permanently suspend the offending player from the match with a red card for which there can’t be substitution.
Hockey History
It is said that the history of Field hockey stretch back 4,000 years to "stick-and-ball" games in Egypt and was also played in a crude form in Ethiopia 1,000 years back. Certain evidences suggest that the game was played even by Romans, Greeks and Aztecs in ancient times. The name "hockie" is said to have first appeared in Ireland in 1527 and is perhaps derived from the French word "hoquet" which means "shepherds crook". In Inner Mongolia, China, the Daur people have been playing Beikou which resembles the modern field hockey for about 1,000 years. Indians used to call it chueca meaning 'the twisted one' because of the twisted end of the stick used by the players.

However the style of play which is quite similar to field hockey that is being played today began in England in 1849 with the formation of the first organized men's team, Blackheath. Hockey was introduced to the United States in 1901 by an English physical education teacher Constance Applebee, who attended a conference at Harvard and taught the game at many local women's schools. Though Internationally, field hockey is primarily a men's sport; but in the United States, it is almost exclusively a women's sport. The game of hockey as it is known to us today emerged at Eton College in England in the 1860s where the first rules were written down. In 1875 when the first Hockey Association was formed Further rules were formulated.