How to Play Underwater Hockey
Underwater Hockey is a three-dimensional, breath holding sport that is played in a pool. The court is 25 yards long and about 5 lane lines wide. The depth can range from 4 to 10 feet, but is usually consistent from one end to the other. The goals are placed at either end at the bottom of the pool. Our pool is 4-6 feet deep.
Gear consists of water polo caps (ear protection), mask, snorkel, fins, mouth guard, sticks (white or black to identify which team you're on), a protective glove for the stick hand, and a 3lb plastic covered puck which sits on the pool bottom.
Each team consists of 10 players, but only 6 are in the playing area at any time. The other players are substitutes and wait until a player comes out before entering the play. On practice nights where there is less than 12 people, we make teams as even teams as possible based on the skill level of the players.
To start the play, the puck is placed in the center of the pool and at an auditory signal (usually a yell of "sticks up-go!"), both teams sprint to get possession of the puck. Players then slide and toss the puck to their teammates with the objective to get the puck in the opponent's goal.
Playing positions generally consist of forwards and defenders. The middle forward, also known as the strike, is responsible for sprinting to the puck on the face off, and also supports the other forwards, known as wings. If the forwards lose the puck, the defender's job is to stop the forward motion of the opposing team. The defender also works to keep the opposing team from scoring (there is no goalie).
Underwater hockey is the ultimate in team sports, since no one person can hold their breath forever! You must learn the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates and learn when you have to dive down to help and when you can stay at the surface and breathe. Contrary to what it may seem, players do not stay down until they have to come up for air. They stay down until they receive support from their teammates, which is generally quick, as underwater hockey is a fast-paced sport.
Underwater hockey is a sport that people of all ages, sizes, and abilities can play together, as water acts as an equalizer. Skill and agility can easily compete with size and strengh. Although underwater hockey is a non-contact sport, incidental contact does occur, but blantant contact will result in a foul and penalties.