Underwater Hockey is a fast, competitive underwater sport in which teams of six players attempt to propel a small lead puck into their opponents goal. Members of the South Island Dive Club in Southern England invented UWH in 1954. It was intended as an off (dive) season activity for fitness and to help maintain club membership during the cold winter months. The game was originally called octopush and was played with longer sticks and a much larger and heavier puck than is used in the modern game.
Over the years the game has matured and spread, it is now played in upwards of 40 countries including the U.K, most of Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, North America and some S.E Asian countries. How is it played?
UWH is played by two teams of six (with up to four subs per team) in (ideally) a 25m x 15m pool with a constant depth of between 2m and 3.5m. Teams may be and often are, mixed gender. A 3.5m wide goal or gully is placed on the bottom at either end of the playing area. Games are typically 30 minutes long with a short break between halves. Players are equipped with a mask and snorkel, fins, a water-polo style hat (to protect your ears) and a uwh stick and a padded glove (to protect your delicate fingers).
At the beginning of a game the two teams start on the surface touching the pool side at their respective ends and the puck is placed in the middle of the playing area. At the sound of the gong, whistle, bell or hooter members of each team will sprint toward the centre and attempt to gain control of the puck. The puck is then propelled or passed from player to player using the stick and only the stick in an attempt to drive it into the opponents goal.
UWH is a non-contact sport, in the same way soccer is and as a result injuries are uncommon and usually minor. The rules of UWH are fairly simple and as there is no off-side rule, (i.e. the puck may be passed in any direction) it is an easy sport to learn.
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