Ice Hockey Is The Highest Level For Men 's Hockey

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Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent 's net to score points. Ice hockey teams usually consist of four lines of three forwards, three pairs of defencemen, and two goaltenders. Normally, each team has five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team. Teams normally have a goaltender as their sixth on-ice player, whose job is to prevent the puck from entering the goal.

A fast-paced physical sport (leading to the nickname "The Fastest Game on Earth"), hockey is most popular in areas of North America (particularly Canada and the northern United States)
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The contemporary sport of ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Winsor, where the first hockey game was played on March 3, 1875. Some characteristics of that game, such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a puck, have been retained to this day. Amateur ice hockey leagues began in the 1880s, and professional ice hockey originated around 1900. The Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice hockey club supremacy, was first awarded in 1893 to recognize the Canadian amateur champion and later became the championship trophy of the NHL. In the early 1900s, the Canadian rules were adopted by the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace, the precursor of the IIHF and the sport was played for the first time in the Olympics in the Olympic Games of 1920.

In international competitions, the national teams of six countries (The "Big Six") predominate: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Of the 69 medals awarded all-time in men 's competition at the Olympics, only six medals were not awarded to one of those countries. In the annual Ice Hockey World Championships, 177 of 201 medals have been awarded to the six nations. Teams outside the "Big Six" have won only five medals in either competition since 1953:[3][4] All 12 Women 's Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women 's Championships medals have been awarded to one of these six
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