“Hockey” is such a general term. The uneducated think skates, sticks, a hard rubber puck, 12 players on the ice and 12 total teeth among all of them comprise a hockey game. Come on!
There are so many forms of hockey, it’s not even funny. In fact, it’s so serious, we’re giving you an assignment. Consider this your hockey “Bucket List.” At some point in your life, you have to play all of the following types of hockey in some form or fashion.
And, we want proof that you did. You might have another form of hockey we don't even know about. HockeyDayMinnesota.com wants you to submit your photos by emailing here
, or send your DVD’s of these games to: Hockey Day Video/317 Washington St./St. Paul, MN 55102, so we can show your favorite form of hockey on our website. Now, let’s get to some of the options.
It’s the grandfather of all hockey. It’s the reason why everyone loves the Winter Classic. It’s played outdoors. It’s played among great friends, or complete strangers. It involves a 44-year-old dad dishing off to a nine-year-old neighbor.
Shinny can be played with 20 players on the rink at once. You don’t even need goalies if you’ve got a couple nets with metal posts to signal a goal. This isn’t where strategy is practiced, but where skills are developed and love for the game is realized.
Outdoor hockey has been talked about at great length in the State of Hockey, but it’s for good reason. There’s not one middle-aged Minnesota dude who has been alone on a rink on a cold night, and after ripping a shot in off the cross bar hasn’t thought, “I wonder if I could make the Wild on a tryout basis?” Knee hockey
This is the game invented by the traveling youth teams, enjoying one of the best aspects of youth hockey – the road trip. You get to take Friday off of school to travel to another city for three days of unfamiliar restaurants, pool time and hotel fun. The four or five hockey games become an afterthought to all the fun off the ice.
That fun includes knee hockey. Typically played with a novelty mini-stick or just the blade of a regular hockey stick (at least that’s how it used to be played when players used aluminum sticks with removable blades), in the hallway of the hotel. The game is played one-on-one with a soft ball as the puck and no getting up on your feet. This version of hockey is always a favorite of hotel managers and business travelers with no kids.
This can be played at home too, and a fun wrinkle can be to let you dog play a neutral puck chaser that you have to stickhandle around or use as a second defender. Boot hockey
Tighten up those Sorel boots and raid the dog’s stash of dead tennis balls. You don’t even have to know how to skate. Boot hockey is for everyone, but it’s best played in March as the outdoor rinks start to lose their corners along the boards. Just make sure you wear full gear for these games. You will take at least one digger, and you will look like Wile E. Coyote starting after the Road Runner when you try to change direction on a dime. Floor hockey
By far the most popular sport in Gym class, at least among the hockey players. For the non-hockey playing kids, there is nothing worse than watching the hockey players dominate and start ripping that hard rubber, neon orange puck at them when all they want to do is get back to studying photosynthesis. Air hockey
Proudly keeping parents awake with constant clacking for nearly 40 years, there’s air hockey. For Geometry experts, this is where you show your stuff. Knowing the exact angle of shots to beat your opponent is key, and quick hands are a plus. Just don’t be that guy or girl that holds the little plastic piece up against the goal the whole time and defends the onslaught. Video hockey
The #2 reason in 100 of why I’m not in the NHL, right behind lack of talent.
Every generation since the eighties has had its version of video hockey, starting with the Atari version of two small rectangles bouncing a dot back and forth. That progressed to Nintendo hockey, which featured three types of players: the weak speedy guy, the fat, slow guy with the wicked slap shot and the medium sized guy who could do it all.
Folks from my generation know that the peak of video game hockey was Sega Genesis hockey from 1993-1995. This game produced some of the best animated players of all-time: Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure, Cliff Ronning, Al MacInnis, Al Iafrate and Jeremy Roenick (as “Double Down” Trent from “Swingers” can attest).
Now, video game hockey has progressed to games that are more life-like than real life. I can’t keep up with these new-fangled "joysticks" with 20 buttons on them. Bring back the old Genesis controller with the A, B andC buttons.
Not since the pool table was invented has a game built for use in drinking establishments stood the test of time as well as Bubble hockey. Someone was using their noggin when they thought to put a clear plastic dome cover over 12 little men in USA and CCCP uniforms.
You’ve got the guy on the right with the Willie Mitchell tree-sized stick, and you’ve got the right defenseman who can rifle a shot from long range. Of course, the key to Bubble hockey is getting the puck on the stick of the center. When given time and space, this guy is the leading scorer for any true Bubble hockey player.
Hockey players need a place to play in the summer, and that’s why God invented streets and boulevards. You need two nets, sticks and whatever you’re going to use for a puck and you’re good to go. Sure, you’re going to need to pause for the odd car coming through every now and then, but those just provide much-needed breaks for the kids who otherwise would not take them.Sled Hockey
Hockey is for everyone, but that wasn’t entirely true until sled hockey came along in the 1960’s, giving those with a physical disability the chance to play. On a metal sled or sledge with blades at the bottom, players propel themselves around the rink with the stick blades in each hand. Those blades are also used to shoot the puck, and anyone who has seen this game played during a Wild intermission knows that these shots have some mustard on them.
Apparently, only those from Northern Minnesota are familiar with the term, “hongo.” Some call it all-for-all, but it is essentially you against everybody else. It can be played on the street, or on the rink, but the winner of hongo has bragging rights forever. People around hockey may call someone who doesn’t pass the puck a “puck hog.” In Duluth, Minnesota, they’d simply be called a “hongo.”