A time span of thousand years have been passed playing hockey-like games encompassing sticks and ball. An unsophisticated form of hockey was used to play in Egypt 4000 years back as historical records disclose; while in Ethiopia approximately 1000 BC. Multiple museums present the evidence that before the landing of Columbus in the New World, Romans, the Aztec Indians of South America and Greeks were used to play a particular form of game.
A square slab made up of marble measuring 60 cm by 20 cm holding four bas-reliefs of ancient sporting events can be witnessed even today in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Playing field hockey is one of these shows of Athenian youths. These bas-reliefs, showing that a particular form of hockey was used to enjoy in Greece at that specific time, date back to 514 BC. This form of hockey, in earliest Greece namely “ÊÅÑÇÔÉÆÅÉÍ”, was much renowned. In 1527, the very name ‘hockie’ appears to have been documented in Ireland; this name almost certainly comes from the word of French ‘Hoquet’ that means ‘shopherds crook’. Different titles have been used to refer to this game by distinct nations, for instance, the Scots called it as ‘shinty’, the Irish named it as ‘hurling’ and the title of ‘paganica’ was used by the Romans.
Soft hockey, entitled with different names over the last 500 years, has been played in ancient countries. Bamboo and home-made rubber were the constituents used to make soft balls. The requirement of few players, either men or women or both, a small ground and with minimum equipment made this game more popular. This game was played by pushing the ball rather hitting which would require a longer period of time to recover it. The farmable fields were what used to play the game and to decide upon the boundary the borders of the fields were taken into consideration. With the qualities like: skill, stamina and speed, the game of Soft Hockey came into existence.
In 17th and 18th century, hockey started to be played in England where whole villages carrying the objective of hitting the ball into the common ground of opposite village played the game. At that time, the game, intermittently lasted several days, comprised of 60 to 100 players. The role of umpires were comparatively much limited in a way that they arbitrated a decision only when they were asked to do so by either of teams.
The sports and games, over the same time-span, in the other continents has been developed and refined into distinct sports such as: shinty cricket, field hockey, la-crosse, croquet and ice hockey. In contrast with this, according to the majority of historians, the roots of modern hockey are placed in the chilly climes of northern Europe, particularly in France and Britain where the field of hockey was regarded as a famous summer sport.
The sports master of Harrow Public School, in 1852, suggested his novices not to encompass more than thirty players per team on the field. Team formation, at that early times, was comprised of having more forwards than defenders; this was the formation which was acted upon until the late 1800’s.
The game we familiar with nowadays emerged at Eton College in England after 1860; this was the time when for the first time game rules were written. A refinement was brought into the rules of the game in 1875 when the first Hockey Association was designed. As for as the attributes of the game of that time is concerned, all of the players chased the ball and the field of about 200 meters in length was used to play. After the long stretches of time since the game had been played informally in England, Wimbledon Hockey Club – organized in 1883 – standardized the game. In 1886, a moment led by Teddington Cricket Club resulted in the British Hockey Association; it added among its rules a striking circle to hit goals.
In 1890, International Rules Board was established by the English, Welsh and Irish hockey associations whereby umpires got the power to make any decisions without waiting for players to appeal on the part of a free hit. In 1890, under the supervision of Field Hockey Association of America the men of the U.S. as well started playing field hockey. The U.S. team, in 1932, get bronze medal once in Olympic competition; this record, afterwards, was dominated by the Great Britain, Pakistan and India. Until 1904, when the first professional league was created, hockey was a strictly unprofessional affair. In 1907, this league was folded and an even greater league namely National Hockey Association (NHA) appeared three years later.
In 1908, the first Olympic Hockey Competition was arranged in London with Ireland, England and Scotland competing distinctly. From the 1912 Stockholm Games the sport was dropped consequently and reemerged in 1920 in Antwerp before being gone astray again in Paris in 1924 on the basis that the sport lacked International Federation. In 1909, when the Hockey Association in England and the Belgium Hockey Association came on the same page to recognize mutually each other, the sport made its initial steps towards an international federation. Afterwards, the French Association also followed it yet it was not considered enough to be recognized as an international federation. In 1914, after a short period of time, Pacific Coast League (PCL) emerged and a series of transcontinental championship was arranged.
Mr. Paul Léautey – a Frenchman – who became the first president of the FIH, was inclined to take measures regarding hockey’s exclusion from the program of Paris Games in 1924. When the International Hockey Federation – the world leading body for the sport – was established in Paris at his initiative, the sport took its most crucial step towards it recognition. To establish an international governing body of sport, Mr. Léautey summoned the legislatures from seven federations of national level. The six of seven founding members, in that sitting, which denoted both men’s and women’s hockey in their regions were Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, France, Spain and Switzerland.
Until 1980, hockey was not contained within the Olympics for women. The International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA), in 1927, was established which boosted the sport on the part of women in various countries. The two organizations, the IFWHA (1980) and the FIH (1914), after celebrating respective Golden Jubilees in 1980, get together on the same page to form the FIH. In 1998, for Commonwealth Games hockey was played for the first time. Subsequently, various joining encompassing Denmark (1925), the Dutch (1926), Turkey (1927) and Poland, Portugal and India in 1928 were made.
By 1964, on the part of affiliation with the FIH, 50 countries there were along with three associations of continental level comprising: Asia, Africa and Pan America. In addition to that, in 1974, 71 members there were interlinked with FIH. At present, the International Hockey Federation encompasses 5 continental associations.
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