Hockey, more specifically Field Hockey is considered to be the unofficial National Sport of India based on the historical connect it has with the country and the fact that the particular Sport has a rich standing legacy which lends it an obvious association of pride for the Indians.
There are basically three kinds of Hockey which are prevalent:
1. Ice Hockey: Played on Ice
2. Roller Skates Hockey: Played on roller skates fitted to the shoes of the Hockey players.
3. Field Hockey: Field Hockey can either be played on a grass field or on the turf, a special mat like material to give it the semblance of grass.
Two team, each containing eleven players of which 10 play it on the field with a curved stick and a ball and 1 player who acts as the goal keeper to defend the ball from striking the goal. In the beginning the entire game was divided in two schedules of 35 minutes each, total ling 70 minutes but from 2014 onwards there are 4 halves with a gap of 15 minutes and 2 minutes for rest break for the players after each period.
The word ‘Hockey’ itself is derived from the word ‘hoquet’ which is a Middle French word for a shepherd's stave since the curved sticks resembled them. Historical evidences suggest that this sports go as far back as 4000 years old in ancient Egypt wherein it was a game fit for warriors, played at times for fun and at other times for conquest.Hockey sticks made of horns have been discovered in the relics of the ancient Greece and Athens. Brought in India by the British, Calcutta became the hub of Hockey as the first club was built there in 1885. Punjab and Mumbai followed suit.
India won its first Hockey championship at Amsterdam Olympics in the year 1928 and remained the undisputed champions till they lost in the Rome Olympics. It regained the first spot at Moscow Olympics in the year 1980 but lost again in 1984. The golden years of Indian Hockey were between the period 1929 to 1956 because India won the Gold Medal during those years , at each turn in the Olympics.
One of the sustaining causes behind its popularity in the Indian sub-continent is that it is not a very expensive Sports to nurture and promote and can be played by both men and women. Inter School and State level competitions keep up the spirit of the game at a nascent stage. On the Centralized platform, the following trophies are associated with the game of hockey:
1. Dhyan Chand Trophy
2. Lady Ratan Trophy (Women)
3. Nehru Trophy
4. Scindia Gold Cup’
5. Ragaswamy Cup.
Hockey is a game which is played in almost all States of India and on the global platform Pakistan, Holland, Germany, England and Australis are some of the keen competitors. It is a fast paced game in which alertness on the field is of utmost importance. India has the honour of producing world class Hockey players such as Dhyan Chand, who has been conferred the moniker of the Wizard of Hockey; Ajit Pal Singh and Dhanraj Pillai. In fact. Punjab alone has contributed the maximum number of star players in this Sports.
The FIH or the International Hockey Federation, having 128 countries worldwide as its members is responsible for conducting the Field Hockey tournaments on the International platform, the headquarters of which is situated in Switzerland.