Originally called “Octopush” (and still known locally by that name in the United Kingdom today), Underwater Hockey is a internationally played competitive sport where two competing teams play against each other in an attempt to score the most goals within a time limit by using a ball in the water. The game was first played in the UK in 1992 and remains one of the most popular sports in the country. Underwater Hockey is played in both ice arenas and in freshwater ponds. Both types of arenas employ a unique style of play, with one team playing on the offensive end of the rink and the other using their defense system to protect the goal.
There are three different variations of underwater hockey. In the first, the players use butterfly style skating techniques to move from side to side, rather than in a continuous forward motion like regular hockey. In the second, the game is more stationary with the players sitting in a circle and allow each player to use a stick with a blade about one meter in length. Finally, in the final variation, there is no actual contact between players or objects. The rules of the game are similar for each variation; penalty shots are scored when a player touches an object in the water.
When a player becomes “out” they are unable to continue with the rest of their team; however, they can still continue to play another round, provided that they release a weighted puck. These weighted balls are strapped onto the players’ backs and arms, enabling them to keep swimming for as long as they wish. If the players would fall out of the water, a lifeguard will come and recover them. The lifeguards can be either a trained professional or an instructor that has been trained to work in this particular capacity.
As mentioned, Underwater Hockey is played in both ice cold pools and, on rare occasions, in a pool of water filled with live bait. Ice hockey has played in ponds and lakes for years, but up until very recently was not given its own version of an Underwater Hockey Arena. Currently, there are three different options for a player to choose from. Depending on how dedicated a player is to the sport and how much time they have to spend practicing, there are two different types of tournaments: pro tours and amateur tours.
Underwater Hockey Tournaments
The pro’s tour is the most popular option for both ice hockey players and non-ice hockey players. Typically, teams of two players are appointed to perform on each tourney, along with an instructor. A tourney may feature teams from North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Oceania, Europe, and other regions. There is usually a qualification process to qualify for these tours, and players must stay in good physical condition throughout the year. Pro tours are also not known for their exciting style of play, and many players choose to concentrate on their technique instead.
On the other hand, the amateur or recreational league offers a much relaxed atmosphere in which players can enjoy the game and learn new skills at the same time. This type of league features teams consisting of players who are more comfortable in the water and can get by with less supervision than professional players receive. This type of league also allows players who live near water to attend and practice with their favorite underwater hockey team. Since this league is not as competitive, it is the perfect opportunity for young recreational skaters to learn the sport, while having fun at the same time.