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The Similarities between Ice Hockey and Field Hockey

What are the major links that can be drawn between ice hockey and field hockey?

UqT1DUuZ6Yk Unsplash Scaled, British Ice Hockey

What are the major links that can be drawn between ice hockey and field hockey? Although it’s clear that ice hockey is very much played on ice and field hockey is usually played on Astro turf, there are some similarities that can be drawn between the two sports that carry a similar name.

Both sports are stick-based

In terms of playing equipment, both ice hockey and field hockey players use sticks to hit their pucks and balls. In ice hockey, players are permitted to stickhandle with the front and rear of their blade. That’s because both sides are the same and can generate the same leverage with the ice hockey puck. Meanwhile a field hockey stick comprises two parts. A rounded rear and a flat front. Field hockey players must only use the front to hit or dribble with the hockey ball.

In field hockey, there are four grades of stick, ranging from beginner right the way through to elite-level. Beginner sticks have a greater surface area and therefore help to improve technique, while elite-level sticks are lighter and designed with power shots in mind.

Statistics play a key role

Both sports are increasingly data-led. Some of the most popular hockey apps are trackers that offer comprehensive insight into a player’s on-field performance. It’s the same when it comes to ice hockey, where the fine margins matter too. Leveraging data and analytics in field hockey has been made easier with technological developments like HockEye, which enable teams to track player movements in a game and measure distance travelled and a player’s average speed. 

Data and video analysis has become part and parcel of elite-level ice hockey, with solutions like Dartfish used to improve team knowledge and cohesion, as well as on-rink decision-making.

Protective equipment is essential in both sports

Goaltenders in ice hockey and goalkeepers in field hockey are both required to wear substantial protective equipment. That’s because the pucks and balls are capable of flying at insane speeds and causing real damage. Field hockey goalkeepers usually don a helmet, complete with full face guard. They also wear mouth guards to shield their teeth and chest protectors too. They also wear hand protectors that make it easier for keepers to make saves and leg guards too.

There are several items of protective equipment used by goaltenders in ice hockey. This includes a blocker glove, a baseball mitt-style catcher, chest and arm protectors, jockstraps, leg guards and fibreglass face masks. Wearing this heavy protective equipment can result in fatigue if a goaltender plays week in, week out.

Although there are very clear differences between the two sports, this trio of parallels demonstrates that they’re not as far apart as you may have thought at the start of this article.

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