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a. a game played on a field by two opposing teams of 11 players each, who try to hit a ball into their opponents' goal using long sticks curved at the end
b. (as modifier): hockey stick
2. See ice hockey
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a team sport played with sticks and a ball or puck. The object is to gain possession of the ball or puck and, by passing it from teammate to teammate, propel it into the opponent’s goal cage as often as possible. The three basic types of hockey are ice hockey, bandy (which is played on ice with a ball and curved sticks), and field hockey. All three are played on specially marked playing areas—field hockey on a grass, synthetic, or turf surface measuring 91.4 × 55 m, ice hockey on a 51–61 m × 24–30 m rink, and bandy on a 90–110 m × 50–65 m rink. In bandy and field hockey the team consists of 11 players (including the goalkeeper), while in ice hockey it consists of six players, who (with the exception of the goalkeeper) periodically shift forward lines and defense pairs during the course of the game. The playing time is 90 minutes with one interval for bandy, 70 minutes with one interval for field hockey, and 60 minutes of actual playing time with two intervals for ice hockey.

The bandy ball weighs 58–62 g and is made of bright orange plastic. The field hockey ball weighs 155–165 g and is made of layers of cork, rubber, and twine and is covered with white leather. The ice hockey puck weighs 156–170 g and is made of black rubber.

All hockey sticks are made of wood. Bandy sticks measure 120 cm from the head to the tip of the handle, while field hockey sticks are of various lengths to suit the individual player. The handle of the ice hockey stick must measure no more than 134.5 cm. The blade of the stick measures 6 cm in width for bandy, 5 cm for field hockey, and 7.5 cm for ice hockey; it measures 37.5 cm in length in all cases. The sticks weigh up to 450 g in bandy, 340–794 g in field hockey, and approximately 500 g in ice hockey. Special protective equipment is worn by bandy and ice hockey players.

Field hockey. Games similar to modern field hockey have been played since the second millennium B.C. in Egypt, Persia, and Greece, on the American continent, and in Japan. Several popular games of the 14th to 16th centuries could be considered prototypes of modern field hockey, for example, shinty (Scotland), paganica (Italy), Kolbe (Germany), and hoquet (France).

Field hockey clubs were organized in Europe in the mid-19th century; the first was founded in Great Britain in 1861. In 1875 the London Hockey Association compiled the rules of the game, which were definitively established by 1907. Olympic hockey competitions have been held for men since 1908 (except 1912 and 1924), and in 1980 women’s hockey competitions were added to the program. In 1924 the International Hockey Foundation (IHF) was formed, and by 1976 it comprised 77 national federations with a total of more than 3 million athletes.

Olympic championships have been won by India (eight times between 1928 and 1980), Great Britain (1908, 1920), Pakistan (1960, 1968), the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, 1972), and New Zealand (1976). Since 1971 biennial world championships have been held among men’s teams. They have been won by Pakistan (1971), The Netherlands (1973), and India (1975). Since 1976 world championships have been held for women’s teams, the first of which was won by the FRG. Annual tournaments have been held for the European Cup since 1969, and every four years since 1970 European championships have been held among men’s teams; the championship was won by the FRG in 1970 and Spain in 1974. Hockey teams from Australia, Kenya, Malaysia, Belgium, and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) have also been successful in international competition.

In the USSR, field hockey has been encouraged and played extensively since the mid-1960’s. In 1967 the Bandy and Field Hockey Federation of the USSR was created, and in 1970 it became a member of IHF. National championships have been held since 1970; the championship has been won by the Dynamo team of Alma-Ata four times and by the Volga team of Ul’ianovsk three times. Ail-Union youth competitions have been held since 1972, and various competitions for women’s teams have been organized since 1975. As of Jan. 1, 1977, there were more than 3,000 players of field hockey in the USSR.

Bandy. Games played on ice with spherical objects and sticks were known in a number of European countries during the Middle Ages, for example, kotel, kliushki, kubar’, and iula in Rus’; knóttur (knattleikr) in Scandinavia; hurling in Ireland; and kolf in Holland. In Great Britain a game similar to modern bandy evolved in the mid-19th century; in 1891 a national bandy association was founded, and the first rules of the game were formulated. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries bandy became popular in Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland.

In Russia, hockey played with a ball originated in the 1860’s; the first rules were approved in 1898 by the St. Petersburg Amateur Sports Club. In the early 1900’s the game was played in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Arkhangel’sk, Kharkov, Riga, Tver’, and Vladivostok. In 1914 the All-Russian Hockey League was formed, comprising more than 30 clubs. In 1922 a bandy championship of the RSFSR was held, and in 1936 the first bandy championship of the USSR was organized. In 1928 the All-Union Hockey Section was founded (now the Bandy and Field Hockey Federation of the USSR). From 1937 to 1947 competitions were held for the USSR Cup for men’s and women’s teams; since 1950 annual national championships have been held for men’s teams. From 1950 to 1976 the champions included the Moscow Dynamo team (14 times), the Sverdlovsk SKA team (11 times), and the TsSKA (three times). Since 1972, biennial international tournaments have been sponsored by the newspaper Sovetskaia Rossiia.

Until the mid-1950’s, there were two varieties of hockey played with a ball—Russian hockey and bandy. The two had many features in common, for example, the dimensions of the field, the number of players, and the basic rules of the game; however, they differed in the dimensions of the goal posts, the ball, and the sticks. In 1955 a uniform set of international rules was formulated and confirmed, and an international federation was formed, the Internationella Bandyförbundet, which in 1976 comprised the national federations of the USSR, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and The Netherlands, with a total of approximately 600,000 athletes.

Since 1957 world bandy championships have been held (biennially since 1961); the USSR team has won 11 out of 12 championships and Sweden has won one (1981). Since 1968 there have been biennial world championships for youth teams; the USSR has won three times, and Sweden twice.

The establishment and development of the Soviet school of bandy and the victories of Soviet teams in world championships are due to a great extent to the contributions of the players V. I. Atamanychev, E. V. Gerasimov, E. I. Gorbachev, N. A. Dura-kov, A. G. Izmodenov, A. G. Mel’nikov, M. S. Osintsev, V. E. Solov’ev, V. D. Trofimov, and V. T. Shekhovtsov. In 1977, approximately 350,000 athletes played bandy in the USSR.

Ice hockey. Ice hockey evolved in Canada in the 1860’s as a variant of bandy. It differed from bandy is that there were fewer players, the playing area was smaller, and the ball was replaced by a disc made of wood, and later of rubber. British soldiers originated the game in Kingston, Ontario. In 1870 in Toronto the first ice hockey association was formed. Students at McGill University in Montreal formulated the rules of the game in 1879 and published them in 1886.

In the 1890’s, Canada and the USA began holding regular competitions among professional teams; in 1892 the Stanley Cup was established. Since 1914, when the first professional league was organized, only the best professional clubs compete for the Stanley Cup. Today the most prominent Canadian-American hockey league is the National Hockey League (NHL), comprising 18 clubs. In 1899 the first indoor ice hockey rink with artificial ice was constructed in Montreal. In 1908 the Allan Cup competition was first held (now for amateur teams), and in 1925 the NHL Championship was begun; based on the results of the NHL competitions, the strongest clubs compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 1973, the World Hockey Association was created; in 1976 it included 12 professional teams. As of 1976 the USA and Canada had approximately 80 professional clubs divided into six leagues. Most of them are in cities of the USA, but the players are predominantly Canadian, because almost all the youth clubs that train hockey players are in Canada.

Outstanding North American hockey players of the first half of the 20th century include B. Cook, P. Bouchard, B. Durnan, M. Richard, J. Beliveau, D. Harvey, and P. Pilote. The best players of the 1960’s and 1970’s include G. Howe, R. Hull, S. Mikita, R. Orr, P. Esposito, and R. Clarke.

In the early 20th century, ice hockey gained popularity in Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Bohemia, and Sweden. In 1908 the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was founded; in 1976 it comprised the national federations of 30 countries, accounting for approximately 1.5 million hockey players. In 1920 ice hockey was added to the program of the Olympics, and since 1924 it has been played at all Winter Olympics. Canada has won the Olympic championship six times, the USSR five times, the USA twice, and Great Britain once. Regular world ice hockey championships have been held since 1930 (the Olympic tournaments of 1924 and 1928 were later also declared world championships). These tournaments have been won by Canada 18 times, the USSR 18 times, Czechoslovakia five times, Sweden three times, the USA twice, and Great Britain once. European championships, which have been held since 1910, have been won by the USSR 20 times, Czechoslovakia 14 times, Sweden nine times, Great Britain five times, Switzerland four times, Austria three times, and Germany twice.

Ice hockey has been popularized and played widely in the USSR since 1946. In 1947 the All-Union Ice Hockey Section was established (now the Ice Hockey Federation of the USSR, a member of the IIHF since 1953). USSR championships have been held since 1946–47; the following Moscow teams have taken first place: TsSKA (20 times), Spartak (four), Air Forces team (three), Dynamo (twice), and Kryl’ia Sovetov (twice). Since 1954, Soviet ice hockey players have competed in Olympic tournaments, world championships, European competitions, and other international contests.

The Soviet school of ice hockey is greatly indebted to Honored Coaches of the USSR A. V. Tarasov, A. I. Chernyshev, V. K. Egorov, N. S. Epshtein, and B. P. Kulagin and Honored Masters of Sport V. M. Bobrov, E. M. Babich, V. G. Shuvalov, A. M. Guryshev, N. G. Puchkov, N. M. Sologubov, I. S. Tregubov, V. V. Aleksandrov, A. D. Al’metov, V. S. Davydov, E. G. Ivanov, V. G. Kuz’kin, B. A. Maiorov, A. P. Ragulin, V. P. Starshi-nov, V. P. Iakushev, K. B. Loktev, and A. V. Firsov.

Hockey players who have won more than one Olympic, world, or European championship include Honored Masters of Sport V. I. Vikulov, A. N. Mal’tsev, B. P. Mikhailov, V. V. Petrov, V. B. Kharlamov, V. Ia. Lutchenko, V. I. Vasil’ev, A. S. Iakushev, V. N. Shadrin, and V. A. Tret’iak.

In 1977, approximately 650,000 Soviet athletes played ice hockey.


Tarasov, A. V. “Khokkei s shaiboi.” In the collection Sportivnye igry, vol. 1, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Tarasov, A. V. Taktika khokkeia. Moscow, 1963.
Tarasov, A. V. Sovershennoletie, Khokkei i khokkeisty [3rd ed. Moscow] 1970.
Tarasov, A. V. Khokkei griadushchego, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Tarasov, A. V. Put’ k sebe. Moscow, 1974.
Spasskii, O. D. Khokkei. Moscow, 1974.
Maiorov, B. A. Khokkei dlia iunoshei. Moscow, 1968.
Kostka, V. Sovremennyi khokkei. Moscow, 1976. (Translated from Czech.)
Lukashin, Iu. S. Khokkei na “Belykh olimpiadakh.” Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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