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Hockey for Newbies: Get Involved with the Community & Cheer Your Team On

Feb 01, 2018 12:06PM ● By Linda Ditch
Hockey season has begun. Teams in Hanover, Hartford, Lebanon/Stevens, and Woodstock—for both boys and girls—provide many opportunities to watch this popular sport. Not to mention the college teams, smaller pro teams, and the Bruins in Boston, plus the upcoming Winter Olympics. Hockey games are hard to miss.

Hockey basics are pretty easy to learn. If you’re a new spectator to the sport, here are a few tips to make watching more pleasurable.

Read up:

Take some time to learn the basics of the game. There are lots of websites that can help, including a great “Hockey for Dummies” cheat sheet ( Also, watch a game or two on TV because the play-by-play and color announcers explain what’s going on.

For starters:

The objective of the game is to score goals and keep the other team from doing so. A game is 60 minutes long, divided into three 20-minute periods. There is an intermission between periods of 17 minutes. Should the teams be tied at the end of the game, then there will be a 5-minute overtime period. It they’re still tied, then there is a shootout, where players from each team take turns shooting at the opponent’s goal, and the goalie attempts to block the shot.

Pick a team:

Sure, you can cheer for all the area teams, but choosing one to follow makes the game more interesting. Even better, pick a favorite player. Of course, if you’re a parent/grandparent/uncle/aunt/sibling of a player, you’re all set.

The game has rules:

It may seem at times that hockey is a no-holds-barred kind of game, with all the crashing of the boards (the wall around the rink), shoving to get the puck, and fighting. Some minor penalties include tripping, high-sticking (stick above the waist), elbowing, delaying the game, cross-checking (hitting the player with the shaft of the stick), and hooking (using the crook of the stick as a hook). The major penalties are checking from behind, fighting, and boarding (causing a player to go head first into the wall). The offending player has to sit in the penalty box—two minutes for a minor and five minutes for a major, so his team is short-handed during that time. Be prepared—there is fighting in hockey—more in the pros than in other leagues, but hockey is known for fighting the way auto racing is known for crashes.

Dress the part:

You want to wear warm clothes, of course, but try to dress like a fan as well.  

Who's headed to the Dartmouth vs. Harvard game this weekend? 7:30 pm Friday night at Thompson Arena.

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