For the past two weeks, SMBA students have had the privilege to volunteer at the 2014-2015 Field Hockey World League Round 2 tournament at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. In addition to this event featuring world class international field hockey teams from Russia, Austria, Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Chile, Italy, and the USA, the top three teams of this tournament are one-step closer to qualifying for the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro. This event was a fantastic learning experience for everyone who volunteered as we had front-row seats to a brand new sporting experience. Therefore, and without further ado, here are 7 things you never knew about Men’s Field Hockey (or around the world, simply known as Hockey):
- These guys play HARD. A Field Hockey game is 60 minutes broken into four 15-minute periods. Similar to soccer, the clock doesn’t stop unless a goal or injury occurs.
- If you’ve never seen men’s field hockey, the game play is very similar to lacrosse. However, the ball is predominantly on the ground and the sticks have wooden nubs instead of nets.
- When the ball is in the air, watch out. Approximately the size of a baseball, a field hockey ball is rock hard and can travel over 90 MPH. Teams often try and jump-start offensive possession by sending the ball 30 meters downfield and over the defense. Needless to say, it takes incredible amount of skill to control a ball out of the air with a field hockey stick.
- The penalty corner or ‘short corner’ is a play unlike any other in traditional American sports. When a penalty is committed in the offensive zone, the offensive team has the ability to set up a designed play called a short corner. During this play, the defense must start inside their own goal and the offence starts along the 23-meter circle. Once play has restarted, the defense’s job is to stop the ball at all cost while the offence attempts to score using a quick, hard shot.
- There is no overtime! After 60 minutes, if the game is tied teams go directly to a shootout. Shootouts entail a one-on-one match-up between the goalie and an opposing player. The opposing player starts 25 meters from goal and has eight seconds to score. In the World League Round 2 tournament Austria upset heavy favorite Russia to advance to the final in a thrilling shootout victory.
- Australia is the best in the world at field hockey. Lead by all-time great Jamie Dywer, the Kookaburras are the reigning World Cup Champions and number one ranked FIH national team.