Field hockey, or in many places just hockey, is a team sport that has been a permanent fixture of the Summer Olympic Games since 1928. It is a commonly played game in Western Europe, South Asia, Australasia and Argentina, while it enjoys some popularity as a women's sport in North America.
Hockey-like games have been played all around the world for thousands of years. Modern field hockey originated in England though its origins are obscure. The first hockey club was established in Blackheath in 1861.
Hockey is played between two 11-a-side teams, consisting of 10 field players and one goalkeeper. The object of the game is to hit the small, spherical ball with J-shaped sticks into the opposing team's goal. A match consists of four 15-minute quarters, and the team which has scored more goals at the end of the match wins. If the scores are tied, the matched is declared a draw. If a winner must be declared, such as in the knockout stages of a tournament, two 7.5-minute periods of extra time are played, though the match ends immediately if a goal is scored, and the team which scored is declared the winner. If no goal is scored during extra time, the match proceeds to a penalty shootout.
Field players can only use the flat side of the stick to hit the ball; they are not allowed to use the curved side of the stick, their feet or hands. Goalkeepers are allowed to use any part of their body to block or hit the ball when they're inside the shooting circle. Players may only attempt a goal from within the shooting circle.
Violations are typically punished by a free hit, in which the player may pass the ball to any teammate unimpeded. Violations by the defending team within the shooting circle are punished with a penalty corner, and if the violation prevents the probable scoring of a goal, a penalty stroke is awarded instead.
Unlike association football (soccer) or ice hockey, field hockey does not have an offside rule, making it a faster-paced and higher-scoring game.
Major playing countries
Competitions and events
The Olympics is the premier tournament for field hockey with the first men's tournament held in 1908 and the first women's tournament in 1980. From the 1920s to the early 1980s men's hockey was dominated by India, with only neighbours Pakistan providing any stiff competition during this period. Since the 1990s, Germany and the Netherlands have been the most successful men's teams, with Australia and Argentina also winning gold once each.
Museums and other attractions
- Statue of Luciana Aymar (Monumento a Luciana Aymar), Av. Dr. Tristan Achaval Rodriguez 1141, Paseo de la Gloria, Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina (in front of the ecological reserve). Luciana Aymar is widely considered to be the greatest women's hockey player of all time. A statue of Aymar has been installed in the Paseo de la Gloria sculture walk, which honours the most important figures in Argentinian sport.