Hockey is a team sport in which players try to manoeuvre a ball or a puck using a hockey stick into the opposing goal. There are many different variations of the hockey game, but in general, hockey would refer to field hockey or ice hockey.
The origin of the word hockey is unknown but one description is that it came from a Middle French word hoquet, which means shepherd’s stave, as the curved end of the hockey sticks resembles it.
Field Hockey is played on natural grass or water-based or sand-based turf or on gravel. It uses a hard ball around 73mm in diameter. This sport is popular in many parts of the world specifically in Europe, Asia, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina. It is governed by the International Hockey Federation and has been part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1908.
The other subtypes of hockey include the Bandy game in Sweden and Russia. It is played on a football field size ice arena called the bandy rink usually outdoors. It has many similar rules as with association football. Considered as a national sport in Russia, it is governed internationally by the Federation of International Bandy.
Ice hockey is played on a large flat area of ice between 2 teams of skaters. Instead of using a ball, it uses a vulcanized rubber disc called a puck. It is popular in North America, Canada and Europe. Roller hockey is similar to ice hockey but is played by skaters on a dry rink. Sledge hockey is designed for players with physical disabilities. It is like ice hockey but players sit on a double-bladed sledge and use 2 sticks to pass, stickhandle, propel their sledges and shoot the puck. Other forms of hockey are street hockey, air hockey, box hockey and many more.
The laws of the field hockey game in the country are governed by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC). MHC is a member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and is affiliated to the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).
The MHC manages the different teams that compete internationally for Malaysia under different categories:
• Malaysia national field hockey team (men’s and women’s)
• Malaysia national indoor hockey team (men’s and women’s)
• Malaysia national under-21 field hockey team (men’s and women’s)
The country competes in different tournaments around the world with the Malaysia national field hockey team. The team is composed of the best field hockey players from different regions. As of December 2012, the team is ranked 5th in Asia and 13th in the world, as recognised by the International Hockey Federation.
The elite local competition in the country is the Malaysian Hockey League, which offers attractive monetary prizes for the winners. The tournament draws participants from other countries.
The Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL), currently sponsored by Milo and the National Sports council, is the finest junior league competition in the country involving junior field hockey groups. It was initiated to revive the interest in field hockey which was losing fans to football. The first game of the league was in 2000 which involved 11 teams.
Where to play hockey in Penang?
The Penang Sport Club in Jalan Utama is the main training ground used by the Penang team. It is open daily from 7:30am to midnight, and is extended on Saturdays until 2am.
The Penang Free School team in Jalan Masjid Negeri is actively playing hockey and train within the school premises.