NBA fans, I know your life is starting to look cold, dark and lonely. So, come one, come all, hop on board. There’s room for everyone on the NHL wagon. The group is passionate, we tend to get a little rowdy, and we damn sure know how to have a good time. Players drink out of the coveted Stanley Cup for goodness sakes. So trust me, this is a great group to be a part of. But it’s not all just fun and games, there’s a few things you need to know.
First of all, there are three 20 minute periods in a hockey game where players play 5-on-5 with an intermission between each period. If you call any of the periods quarters, I will laugh at you the first time, then punch you the second time. If the game is tied after the three periods, it goes into a five minute long overtime and is a 4-on-4 play.
If the game is still tied after overtime then you go into a shoot out. A shoot is when each team takes 3 players and they take turns taking a single shot on the goalie. If it’s still tied after both teams have had three players take a shot, they keep going until someone pulls ahead. It’s fun when players get a little cheeky with the goals. One of my favorite shoot outs was in a contest by this little nugget.
You get 2 points for a regulation win. A regulation win is a win in the first 3 periods of the game. If you win in overtime you get 2 points, but the losing team also gets 1 point.
NBA Fans Watching NHL: What To Know
A power play is when one team is playing with more players than the other team due to a penalty. Depending on severity, a penalty is either 2, 5, or 10 minutes.
Penalties, here you go, just watch this.
Contrary to popular belief, icing doesn’t have anything to do with cupcakes. Icing is if you shoot the puck across the ice from behind the red line on the side your goalie is on. If it goes all the way across the ice to behind the other team’s goalie without anyone touching it, then that is icing. Icing results in the puck being taken to the other end of the ice for a face-off and no line changes are allowed for the team that committed the icing. Icing isn’t called when a team is on a power play.
Another rule is the puck must cross the blue line before a player does, if it doesn’t then offsides is called.
Hockey is played 5-on-5 with a goalie in each net. Who in their right mind would willingly have 6 ounces of ice cold, vulcanized rubber shot at them at speeds up to 100 miles per hour? Oh, that would be a goalie. There are also two defensemen and three forwards. Forwards (center, right winger, and left winger) try to score. Defensemen, well gee, they defend. In hockey there are four lines of three forwards, three sets of defensemen, and two goalies.
Lines are made up of 3 guys, a center anchoring a line with a right winger and a left winger. If the same group of guys often play together, their line might be given a nickname. The most common nickname you’ll hear is, “The Kid Line” usually given to a group of young guys playing on a line together. The play does not have to stop in order to make a substitution. Line changes happen constantly. The average shift on ice is 45 seconds, so you’ll see guys coming on and off the ice all the time.
Speaking of young guys, a lot of teenagers in the league. Kids can be drafted as young as 18 years old.
Playoff beards. Oh yes, this has to be addressed. You don’t shave during playoffs. Beards, goatees, and mustaches are all pretty prevalent in the NHL. November is Movember, so grow out your muzzies, boys.
Now, you can’t talk about hockey without discussing fighting. Fighting is an interesting thing in hockey. Contrary to popular belief, fighting doesn’t occur in every game. If you yell, “FIGHT!! FIGHT!! FIGHT!!” they aren’t going to fight just to please you, it doesn’t work like it. Usually a fight occurs when a team feels that a player is being “roughed up” and someone needs to step in. Think of it as a “damsel in distress” scenario. Remember when it was cool to defend a damsel’s honor? Ya, neither do I, it’s only something you see in movies. Fighting is similar to that. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to protect your teammates. Some fights are to also pump up the energy of the team if you’re losing. But, in that case it might not be easy to find a willing partner to drop the gloves and have a friendly little fist to face conversation.
Look NBA fans, NHL fans know how you feel. It wasn’t too long ago that we had a lock out of our own and we had to resort to only watching basketball. So we get it, we really do. That’s why we are willing to embrace you with open arms. Go to a game with a hockey fan, ask questions (when the play is stopped), watch, learn, and fall in love. It’s easy to do.
Want to talk more hockey or made have your date request rejected BC’s Pucktress? Follow Jessica @JessicaRedfield.