Hockey is a term used to denote various types of both summer and winter team sports which originated on either an outdoor field, sheet of ice, or dry floor such as in a gymnasium.

There are many types of hockey. Some games make the use of skates, either wheeled, or bladed while others do not. In order to help make the distinction between these various games, the word “hockey” is often preceded by another word i.e. “field hockey”, “ice hockey”, “roller hockey”, “rink hockey”, or “floor hockey”.

In each of these sports, two teams play against each other by trying to manoeuvre the object of play, either a type of ball or a disk (such as a puck), into the opponent’s goal using a hockey stick. Two notable exceptions use a straight stick and an open disk (still referred to as a “puck”) with a hole in the center instead. The first case is a style of floor hockey whose rules were codified in 1936 during the Great Depression by Canada’s Sam Jacks. The second case involves a variant which was later modified in roughly the 1970s to make a related game that would be considered suitable for inclusion as a team sport in the newly emerging Special Olympics. The floor game of gym ringette, though related to floor hockey, is not a true variant due to the fact that it was designed in the 1990s and modelled off of the Canadian ice skating team sport of ringette, which was invented in Canada in 1963. Ringette was also invented by Sam Jacks, the same Canadian who codified the rules for the open disk style of floor hockey 1936.

In most of the world, the term hockey by itself refers to field hockey, while in Canada, the United States, Russia and most of Eastern and Northern Europe, the term usually refers to ice hockey.[1]

In more recent history, the word “hockey” is used in reference to either the summer sport of field hockey, which is a stick and ball game, and the winter ice team skating sports of bandy and ice hockey. This is due to the fact that field hockey and other stick and ball sports and their related variants preceded games which would eventually be played on ice with ice skates, namely bandy and ice hockey, as well as sports involving dry floors such as roller hockey and floor hockey. However, the “hockey” referred to in common parlance often depends on locale, geography, and the size and popularity of the sport involved. For example, in Europe, “hockey” more typically refers to field hockey, whereas in Canada, it typically refers to ice hockey. In the case of bandy, the game was initially called “hockey on the ice” and preceded the organization and development of ice hockey, but was officially changed to “bandy” in the early 20th century in order to avoid confusion with ice hockey, a separate sport.

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