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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

As the semester draws to a close, it’s time to get ready for the best sport out there: Ice hockey! Growing up in New England, hockey season has always held a special place in my heart, and each year I look forward to bundling up and returning to the stands to watch the action in the rink. However, after both watching the sport for almost 19 years and playing it for 4, I’ve learned that the sport can often be confusing and easily overcomplicated. So with this in mind, I’ve compiled a basic guide in the hopes of better explaining this amazing game! 

1. Know the Positions 

There are three main positions in hockey: defense, forward, and goalie. Each team has six players on the ice at a time– 1 goaltender, 2 defensemen, and 3 forwards. The goalie blocks the net from oncoming shots, and mainly stays in the crease (the blue area), since that is the only place they can cover the puck with their glove. The defenders’ main job is to protect the goalie and to steal the puck from the other team, especially when it moves closer to their own net. Lastly, the forwards’ goal is to score on the opposing goalie, and to move the puck away from their own goal. 

2. Off-Sides 

When players are skating at the opposing net hoping to score, the puck has to cross the blue restraining line in front of the goal they’re attacking before any offensive players enter the “O” zone (offensive zone). If any attacking (offensive) players enter this area before the puck, this is off-sides. 

3. Icing 

When the puck crosses both the red line (center of the ice) and the goal line (another blue line along the base of the nets) without any player touching the puck. 

4. Penalties 

There are a variety of penalties a player can earn, but here are three of the most common. First, tripping is when a player intentionally takes out another player’s legs with either their own body or stick. Second, interference is when a player hits another when neither has possession of the puck. Third, cross-checking is when a player holds their stick horizontally and pushes another player with it. These penalties make the offending player sit out of the game for a number of minutes (typically either 2, 5, or 10 minutes).

5. Power Play/Penalty Kill 

After a penalty occurs, the team who is now down a player due to the penalty is on the “penalty kill,” while the team who is now up one player due to the penalty is on the “power play”. 

There you have it! I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and be sure to make it out to many games this season!

Natalia Jacuch

Holy Cross '27

Natalia is a dedicated and ambitious first year student at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. From a young age, she has had a passion for creative writing and journalism, and she anticipates to declare an English major at the college in the spring. A New Hampshire native, she loves to spend time with her mom at the bay, go striper fishing, and go on adventures. She also enjoys making Taylor Swift friendship bracelets and playing card games with friends.