Ice hockey is an event at the winter Olympics for teams of men and of women. It is also played every winter in countries such as Canada, the United States and in some countries in Europe.

Ice hockey is a winter Olympic team sport for both women and men. © Getty images

Ice hockey is a winter Olympic team sport for both women and men. © Getty images

What ice hockey players wear

Players wear skates, knee and shoulder pads, gloves and helmets.

A goalkeeper wears extra thick padding, and a helmet with a mask. They wear special goalie skates which are built more for movement side to side rather than forwards and backwards. They wear large leg pads, a catching glove, a chest protector, a goalie mask, and a large team jumper.

Play begins with a face-off, when the referee drops the puck between the two opposing centre players. Ice hockey is played on ice, usually in an ice rink. The skaters use their sticks to shoot a rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points.

Ice hockey at the Olympics

In Olympic competition a match is played for three 20 minute periods. The team that has scored the most goals at the end of this time is the winner. If a tie occurs in a medal-round game, a five-minute sudden-victory overtime period is played.

History of ice hockey

Ice hockey originated in Canada in the early 19th century. It may have been based on simple stick and ball games played in the 18th and 19th century United Kingdom and elsewhere.

The word “hockey” comes from the old French word “hocquet”, meaning “stick”.

Read more information about this Olympic sport. There's a video too!