The British Navy created Underwater Hockey, sometimes known as Octopush, in the 1950s to keep its divers in shape and increase their effectiveness underwater. Later, it gained popularity in Australia before spreading to other countries. The sport combines elements of swimming and ice hockey to produce a combative and physically demanding match.
The Octopush, which was invented by the British Navy in the 1950s, is another name for underwater hockey. The activity was created to keep navy soldiers in good physical shape and to increase their effectiveness in deep water.
Played between two teams, pusher hockey is a contact sport that involves moving the hockey puck with a stick or pusher at the bottom of a pool.
Underwater hockey is overseen by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), which is an international organisation. The equipment needed for the play includes a diving mask, snorkels, a playing stick, an ear protector, fins, swimsuit, gloves, and a puck.
Only six players from each team compete in the team sport of underwater hockey, which is played between two teams of ten players each. The goal-line wall must be touched by the players as well as the hockey puck. They typically play in a 3-3 formation, with three players on offence and three on defence. The winning team is the one with the highest final score. Until a break or foul is called by the referee, all players must be submerged.
History of Underwater Hockey
The underwater version of hockey has its origins in the United Kingdom, where Alan Blake created it in 1954. In two on two games in the same year, the first set of official rules was put to the test. The first Octopush matches between Southsea, Bournemouth, and Brighton were conducted in early 1955. The game was won by the Southsea team.
By 1950, the Durban Undersea Club's affiliation allowed the sport to spread its wings into Durban, South Africa. Max Doveton's club members played the first games ever in the pool. Norm Leibeck introduced the sport to Canada and the United States in 1962.
The Underwater Hockey Association of British Columbia (UHABC) was established with the support of the British Columbian government ten years later as the sport's popularity grew. The Margaret River hosted the inaugural Australian Underwater Hockey Championships in 1975. The women's competition was included in the championship category by 1981.
The sport was first practised in the Philippines in the late 1970s, and from there it quickly expanded throughout Asia. With growing participation, a junior division was also added in 1990.
Players & Equipment
There are ten players on each squad. Just 6 players will ever be submerged in the water at once, with the remaining 4 acting as rolling substitutions, much like in ice hockey. The players stay put on the pool's bottom where the 3 lb puck will be placed. Players are permitted to pass the puck to teammates along the floor using a stick that is roughly one foot long and linked to their glove.
Players are permitted to wear a mask, snorkel, earplugs, fins, swimwear, and gloves in addition to the stick. Even though the sport primarily avoids contact, it may nonetheless get rough and physical, much like basketball. One of the most difficult talents for players to master in underwater hockey is the capacity to hold their breath for long periods.
The pool is typically around 25 metres long, 12 metres wide, and 2 metres deep. As a goal, ropes or lead weights can be employed.
A team scores a goal when they successfully use their stick to shoot the puck into the net of their rival. No other object or body part may be utilised throughout the game, and any goals that are thought to have been made with the player's body will be considered a foul in the opponent's favour.
Winning the Game
The side with the most goals is declared the winner when the stipulated time has expired. The game is extended by 15 minutes if there is a tie at the end of the scheduled time.
Rules of Underwater Hockey
- Teams are made up of 10 players, with 6 of those players always in the pool. The other 4 serve as rolling replacements.
- The length of a game is two 15-minute halves with a 5-minute break in between.
- Formations are used, however, players often cover zones rather than take up positions.
- Teams can be divided into attack and defence groups. Midfielder variations have also been reported in the past.
- Players cannot use any body parts to help move the puck; they can only score with the stick in their hands. Players may not make physical contact with other players unless they have the puck in their control.
Everyone of any age, gender, or physicality can enjoy playing underwater hockey. Many of us have been playing together for well over ten years. It is a sport where there are no risks of getting hurt while sprinting, stopping unexpectedly, or being struck by a vehicle! It is a growing sport that keeps its participants interested. Each game is unique, and each player must defeat their rival while navigating the water, mastering the luck, and satisfying their intrinsic desire to breathe. A lot of communication occurs before and after the games and teamwork and anticipation are key.