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Hockey, also known as field hockey, is one of the oldest sports in the world. The word “hockey” was originated in French and referred to as a shepherd’s crook. Although hockey was only brought to the international sports arena at the beginning of the last century, the prototype of the sport existed thousands of years agoThe origin of hockeyHockey originated mainly in Africa and the Middle East and was recorded in ancient Egyptian literature thousands of years BC. It was evidenced in history that hockey was widely popular in ancient Rome and the ancient Greek community. Signs of the sport had been discovered in America several centuries before Columbus discovered the New World. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that modern hockey was made great in the UK when more and more local schools participated in this sport. In 1876, the world’s first hockey association was established in the UK, and the first set of official competition rules was created afterward. Rules of the Competition- Men and women compete in separate matches in hockey. Each team sends 11 players to play in a match, and players who are subbed out by the reserves can be sent back into the field. - The game consists of four quarters of 15 minutes, and there is a two-minute interval between quarter 1 and 2 as well as between quarter 3 and 4; the interval between quarter 2 and 3 is five minutes.- A coin is tossed to decide which goal to attack. The direction of play is reversed in the third quarter. - The shot attempt of the attacker can only be made within the semi-circular shooting zone. Each goal scored is one point and the team with more points wins. Penalties Ball outside the fieldWhenever any side hits the ball out of bounds, the other side restarts with a free shot from the same position where the ball went out of the field. Long cornerWhen the ball is played over the backline by a defender unintentionally or deflected by a goalkeeper, the attack side gets a free hit at the 23-meter line and in line with where the ball crossed the backline.Short cornerIf a defending player fouls out in the shooting area or deliberately causes the opponent to lose a goal opportunity, the offense will be awarded a short corner shot. A player will hit the ball from about 9 m from the goal on the bottom line, and the other players of the offensive side cannot make a shot before the ball is served. The defence can only have five players including the goalie, who is behind the bottom line. The other defenders must be outside the centre line. The other players may only leave their original positions to attack and defend after the offense serves. Penalty strokeWhen a defending player intentionally offenses the attacker to stop the ball or prevent the attacking player from scoring in the shooting area, the attacker will be awarded a penalty stroke. When making the penalty stroke, an attacker will shoot at the goal directly at the penalty spot. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to block this penalty stroke, and all other players on the field must stand outside the 23-metres line until the penalty stroke is completed.Dangerous actionsPlayers must not behave dangerously or act in a way that can cause injury to themselves or others. ObstructionIt is a foul if a player uses his/her body or a teammate uses another person’s body to obstruct a player from contacting the ball. The fun of hockeyHockey is easy to play as all you need for dribbling and have some fun is a stick, a ball, and a flat surface. Once you learn the basic rules, you can put on protective equipment and play hockey matches with your friends.Hockey is a team sport that requires players to have excellent abilities of offence and defence, passing skills, and tacit understanding between teammates. The game is fast-paced, and players use their skills and tactics to compete intensively. The attacking side makes all sorts of passes, quick breaks and fast shots to try and score goals, while the defensive side tries to save the ball, which makes the games exciting and fascinating. The applause and cheering of the audience also further motivate the teams and boost the morale. Development and promotion of hockey in Hong KongThe Hong Kong Hockey Association has been working hard to promote hockey and has organised different training courses to introduce hockey to the public and promote the sport in Hong Kong while nurturing a new generation of players. It also organises large-scale and international competitions to create more exchange opportunities to improve the standing of Hong Kong’s hockey team, raise the level of coaches and referees and attract more fans for the sport. Moreover, the Community Sports Club Programme encourages the public from all districts to try out this sport, which has the effect of discovering talented athletes to raise the level of Hong Kong hockey.For more information about hockey, visit the website of the Hong Kong Hockey Association.