The Bear Essentials
A game consists of three 20-minute periods. If the score is tied after the third period, there is a three-minute sudden death overtime, where the first team to score a goal wins the game. If no one scores a goal in overtime (OT), the teams head to an alternating five skater shoot-out. The team with the most shoot-out goals at the end wins the game. If the score is still tied, the teams will alternate skaters until one team scores and the other does not.
Each team plays 56 regular season games with 28 games at home and 28 on the road. The season begins in October and ends in March, and the SPHL playoffs begin after regular season.
The hockey rink is 85 feet wide and 200 feet long. The ice is only about a half inch thick.
The rink is divided into three zones: a defensive zone (where the Ice Bears goalie is), the neutral zone (between the blue lines), and the offensive zone (where the Ice Bears try to score).
There are 18 players on a team. There are 6 players from each team on the ice at one time.
Center: The Center, also a forward, operates up and down in the middle of the ice and usually leads his team’s attack.
Right/Left Wing: They are also known as forwards. The two wings move up and down the sides of the rink with the direction of play and pass the puck back and forth.
Goaltender: The Goaltender’s job is to keep the puck from entering his team’s goal. He can use any part of his equipment or body to catch and smother the puck.
Defensemen: The two Defensemen try to stop the on-coming team from scoring. They block shots, clear the puck from in front of their own nets and cover the opposing team’s forwards.
Common Hockey Terms
Back Check: To hinder an opponent heading toward and into the defending zone.
Blue Lines: The two one-foot wide blue lines which extend across the ice at a distance of 60 feet from each goal. These lines break up the ice into attacking (offensive), neutral and defending zones.
Body Check: Use of the body on an opponent. It is legal when the opponent has possession of the puck or was the last player to have touched it.
Butt-Ending: To hit an opponent with the end of the stick farthest from the blade. It is illegal and results in a penalty.
Crease: The area directly in front of the goaltender. It is four feet wide and eight feet long and marked off by red lines and is painted light blue. Offensive players who do not have possession of the puck may not enter.
Deke: To fake an opponent out of position.
Faceoff: The dropping of the puck between one player from each team to start or resume play.
Forecheck: To check an opponent in his end of the rink, preventing an offensive rush.
Freezing the Puck: To hold the puck against the boards with either the stick or skate to get a stoppage of play.
Goal Line: The red line which runs between the goal posts and extends in both directions to the side boards.
Goal Mouth: The area just in front of the goal and crease lines.
Hat Trick: The scoring of three or more goals by a player in one game. A natural hat trick occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals.
One-Timer: Shooting the puck directly after receiving a pass. The offensive player starts his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and tries to time his swing with the arrival of the puck.
Penalty Box: The area opposite the team benches where penalized players serve time.
Power Play: A power play occurs when a team has a one- or two-man advantage because of the opponent’s penalties.
Pulling the Goalie: When one team replaces its goaltender with an extra skater. This can occur when a team trails, usually by one goal, in the final minutes of a game. It is a high-risk attempt to tie the game.
Save: A shot blocked by the goaltender, which would have been a goal if not stopped.
Screened Shot: Occurs when a goaltender’s view is blocked by players between him and the shooter.
Slap Shot: Hitting the puck with the blade of the stick after taking a full backswing.
Slot: A prime scoring area located between the faceoff circles and in front of the goal.
Splitting the Defense: The player with the puck attempts to squeeze between the opponent’s defensemen.
Stick Handling: To control the puck along the ice.
Top Shelf: Term used to describe when an offensive player shoots high in an attempt to beat the goaltender by putting the puck in the top part of the net. Or as Sabres’ announcer Rick Jeanneret says, ” … the top shelf, where momma hides the cookies.”
Wraparound: When a player skates from one side to the other of the goal, from behind the goal, and tucks the puck into the other side of the goal before the goaltender recovers to be in position.