Growing up in Arizona, I didn't have much experience with hockey. Yes, we eventually got a team (the Phoenix Coyotes), but hockey wasn't the "norm". I figured it was a Canadian thing and never thought about it. In fact here are the four things I knew about hockey:

  • There are sticks
  • There is a puck
  • A guy named Wayne Gretzky played once upon a time (hand to God, I couldn't tell you another players name)
  • Lots of missing teeth

Then I moved to Minnesota and quickly realized hockey isn't just a Canadian thing, it's a full force Minnesota thing. And by "thing", I mean way of life. Talk of the "Wild" started to emerge in everyday conversation, parents discussing "league fees" and "rink time", and then there was references to "Zamboni's"- which I just figured was a great Italian eatery.

So when I heard my own town, Stillwater, was hosting this year's "Hockey Day Minnesota", I figured I should take the "when in Rome" approach and do some hockey research. If you are like me and need a brush up on your hockey knowledge before heading out this weekend for Hockey Day, here are the basics of the game:

*See below for entire schedule of Minnesota Hockey Day 2017.

HOCKEY MADE SIMPLE

THE PLAYERS

Goaltender:: The goalie's primary task is simple - keep the puck out of his own net. Offensively, he might start his team down the ice with a pass, but seldom does he leave the net.

Defensemen: These players try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover opposing forwards (center and wings) and clear the puck from in front of their own goal. Offensively, they get the puck to their forwards and follow the play into the attacking zone, positioning themselves just inside their opponent's blue line at the "points."

Center: The quarterback on the ice, the center leads the attack by carrying the puck on offense. He exchanges passes with his wings to steer the play toward the opposing goal. On defense, he tries to disrupt a play before it gets on his team's side of the ice.

Wings: The wings team with the center on the attack to set up shots on goal. Defensively, they attempt to break up plays by their counterparts and upset shot attempts.

THE OFFICIALS

Referee: The referee supervises the game, calls the penalties, determines if goals are scored and handles faceoffs at center ice at the start of each period.

Linesmen: Two are used. They call offside, offside pass, icing and handle all faceoffs not occurring at center ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.

Goal Judges: One sits off-ice behind each goal and indicates when the puck has crossed the red goal line by turning on a red light just above his station. The referee can ask his advise on disputed goals, but the referee has final authority and can overrule the goal judge.

Official Scorer: He determines which player scores and credits assists if there are any. He might consult the referee, but the scorer is the final authority in crediting points.

HOCKEY'S THREE MAIN RULES

Offsides: When any member of the attacking team precedes the puck over the defending team's blue line.

Offside (or two-line)Pass: When a player passes the puck from his defending zone to a teammate beyond the red center line.

Icing: When a player shoots the puck across the center red line and past the opposing red goal line. Icing is not called if the player's team is killing a penalty, a teammate of the player shooting the puck touches it before a player from the opposing team, the defending goalie touches the puck first or if the puck travels through the crease (semicircle of blue paint at the "mouth" of the goal) on its way to the red line.

THE PENALTIES

A team plays shorthanded when one or more of its players is charged with a penalty. However, no team is forced to play more than two players below full strength (six) at any tiime. If a third penalty is assessed to the same team, it is suspended until the first penalty expires. When a penalty is called on a goalie, a teammate serves his time in the penalty box.

Minor Penalty: Two minutes - Called for boarding, charging, cross-checking, elbowing, holding, hooking, high-sticking, interference, roughing, slashing, spearing, tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Major Penalty: Five minutes - Called for fighting or when minor penalties are committed with deliberate intent to injure. Major penalties for slashing, spearing, high-sticking, butt-ending and cross-checking carry automatic game misconducts.

Misconduct: Ten minutes - Called for various forms of unsportsmanlike behavior or when a player incurs a second major penalty in a game. This is a penalty against an individual and not a team, so a substitute is permitted.

Penalty Shot: A free shot, unopposed except for the goalie, given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when in possession of the puck with no opponent between him and the goal except the goalie. The team which commits the offense is not penalized beyond the penalty shot, whether it succeeds or not.

Delayed Penalty: The whistle is delayed until the penalized team regains possession of the puck.


Hockey Day Schedule of Events:

Friday, Jan. 20
EVENT
LOCATION
2 p.m.
Gates open
Lowell Park, Stillwater
4 p.m.
Stillwater Police vs. Fire Game (Men)
Lowell Park, Stillwater
6 p.m.
Minnesota Whitecaps vs. Korean National Team (Women)
Lowell Park, Stillwater
7:30 p.m.
Alumni Game - University of Minnesota vs. University of Wisconsin (Men)
Lowell Park, Stillwater


Saturday, Jan. 21
EVENT
LOCATION
8 a.m.
Gates open
Lowell Park, Stillwater
9 a.m.
FSN live coverage begins
Lowell Park, Stillwater
10 a.m.
Thief River Falls vs. Mahtomedi (Boys)
Lowell Park, Stillwater
1 p.m.
Eden Prairie vs. Stillwater (Boys)
Lowell Park, Stillwater
5:30 p.m.*
Minnetonka vs. Stillwater (Girls)
Lowell Park, Stillwater


Tickets for Hockey Day Minnesota 2017 on Saturday, Jan. 21 are on sale now and can be purchased online at wild.com/hockeyday or on site in Lowell Park. Proceeds from the event will benefit Stillwater area youth hockey programs. A ticket is required for those age three and older. A non-perishable food item or $5 donation to Second Harvest Heartland will be accepted for admission to events on Friday, Jan. 20 in Stillwater.
 
All fans visiting Lowell Park in Stillwater on Hockey Day Minnesota are highly encouraged to use the five park and ride shuttle service locations, which will also transport visitors to the ice castle nearby. Buses will depart from downtown Stillwater near Lucky's Station every 15-20 minutes from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. There is no charge for the park and ride service.

For more information on Minnesota Hockey Day, including how they will "feed" the Zamboni's (yep, that's a thing) click HERE.


Now that I have fully embraced the sport of  hockey and know that it isn't just a bunch of guys skating around feeling extra "punchy", I am very excited for this year's Minnesota Hockey Day!

Please join Richard McDonough Realtors in support of the Stillwater Hockey Spirit at the "Daily Grind" (just north of Lowell Park). We will be hosting a warming tent with hot chocolate and coffee, all day from 8am - 10pm. See you there!



Sources: 


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