Which is the Best Hockey? Lets Explore

When you consider the game of Hockey, depending on where you are located in the world it will likely be a different game you consider. Essentially there are 3 different games of Hockey that can be played, and in this article, I will elaborate on some of the main differences and what makes them so enjoyable.

Each of these different varieties of hockey requires slightly different skills, but the overall reflexes and concept of pitting two opposing ends trying to score a goal remain the same.

Air Hockey

Sometimes referred to as table hockey, this is game is played as an individual rather than a team, where two opponents try to score goals against each other on a low-friction table using two hand-held mallets which are often referred to as Strikers.

Their game was originally developed in the late 1960s and took an air table, which was usually used for moving heavy boxes in a factory, and somehow turned it into a game. Air hockey tables are still found in many video arcades to this day and there are actually professional competitions held in this sport. Whilst it may not require the same physical endurance as the other varieties of hockey, it does still require the same hand-eye coordination and agility, as the pucks in this game can easily reach 80kmph.

Field Hockey

The game of field hockey is far more popular in countries across Asia and Europe than in the Americas but is also more of a seasonal game played over Summer and Spring. Whilst the game itself has the same rules and regulations (which are overseen by The Fédération Internationale de Hockey or FIH) field hockey, much like tennis can actually be played on a number of different sports surfaces, each of which brings its own dynamic to the game. These surfaces include synthetic sports turf, hard courts, and of course traditional natural grass.

Natural Grass

Traditional, sports turf was the original surface for sporting fields used by all sports around the world, and of course where the game of field hockey derived its name. The fact that other sporting codes can utilise the same field can have a significant impact on the quality of the field, especially if there has been too much or not enough rain.

Maintenance costs include watering, line marking weeding, mowing and repair of degraded surfaces and divots. Most of this work is carried out by maintenance staff and can be quite costly to the club, or local governing bodies who maintain these costs. Failing to adequately look after this grass field and keeping the surface even statistically has led to more sporting injuries of athletes than when played on other surfaces, so while some nice soft grass might not sound too dangerous, if not maintained well it will be responsible for many a rolled ankle. If you put a price on losing key players at a professional level of sport these costs can be quite high.

Hard Courts

These are not quite as popular as professional levels, due to the high impact on joints such as knees, however, this type of surface is extremely durable. This makes it ideal for use in places such as schools where they can be utilised as multisport grounds. Multisport hard courts easily allow numerous line markings allowing you to easily separate hockey from netball, from basketball, from volleyball and so on. This strong, flat surface allows for a fast-paced game, although despite the surface being sturdy and even, you probably would want to avoid injury from a fall as you’ll likely end up with a bit of gravel rash.

Synthetic Sports Turf

What can easily be the quickest as well as the safest synthetic turf sports surface, it probably isn’t a huge surprise that this was selected as the “surface of choice” by professional hockey sporting bodies globally and was also the surface used at the 2020/21 Olympic games in Japan.

The reason this type of surface is so popular at a professional level largely has to do with the science behind it. The properties of this type of sports turf have evolved to be able to be fashioned into many colours, wicks away water faster than any other surface, as well as reduces heat radiation when used on a hot summer’s day. It too can be used for multi-sports and have multiple line markings applied, but additionally, it is designed with specialised underlays to absorb impact from potential falls. It’s also highly durable with an average life span of usually well over 20 years before any repairs are usually required.

As well as all the above benefits this speedy surface is also made from fully sustainable materials and is created from discarded sugarcane husks. Finally, high-grade courts can also integrate SmartTrack technology, which can measure player and ball movement digitally via the use of integrated tracking chips. This is ideal for post-game analysis, or even use with media providing live coverage of the sport.

 Ice Hockey

Lastly, we can’t overlook the third and final type of Hockey.  Again, just like the other types of hockey many aspects of this game are similar, but then again there are a few elements that are quite different, most notably it’s played on ice, so all players wear skates. This fast-moving game can have the puck travelling at around 170kmph, so as such all players wear appropriate safety equipment and attire. 

This sport has a very large following in areas where it snows over the winter, such as North America and Eastern Europe, but is far less common in locations where it’s always warmer. As you could imagine it’s not easy or cheap to keep a large rink frozen when it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside! There are also a few different rules allowed in this game such as fighting your opponent one on one, it’s also probably the hardest to pick up, especially if you can’t ice skate at a high level of skill. Otherwise, you’re going to find you’ll end up with a sore and wet backside from all the times you fall over!



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