Are you a horrifically violent person? Do you enjoy bashing people mercilessly while thousands watch? Then a career in hockey might be for you!
Three guesses to where hockey originates from. Here's a hint: It rhymes with Banana-da. Still not sure? It's cold. Nope? Fuck you. It's Canada.
What is now known as hockey has roots spanning all the way back to natives inhabiting ancient Canada. As well, traditions from European nations such as Scotland and Ireland (the most common being ingesting massive amounts of alcohol before a match) made their way over to Canada with immigrants escaping the fact that they had to live with potatoes their entire life. Due to the fact that it was cold much of the time (it's fucking Canada), the games that the Scots and Irish played had to be adapted to the frigid weather, and were eventually moved onto frozen ponds. The rest is history. Really, really hungover history.
The most popular league, the National Hockey League (NHL), was formed in 1917 with a solely Canadian team set. The NHL was formed after the demise of the former hockey league, the National Hockey Association, which has the historical significance of being composed of complete fuckwads. From 1917 to 1942, the NHL was in a state of transition, meaning that they had no clue who was part of their league, and where they were playing.
Following the Depression, the NHL was left with six teams, which are heretofore referred to as The Original Six:
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
These teams play during regular season for points in the standing, and those with the highest number of points compete in play-offs, which lead to a tournament for the Stanely Cup.
Hockey, following the tradition of being fucking out-there, is played over the course of three "periods", twenty minute long sessions during which the clock is ticking only when the puck is in play.
Hockey is played on an ice rink (fucking duh), on which 6 players from each team play: 5 main players and one goalie.
The sport is notable for being the only one which allows less than the full roster to be played, a situation which occurs only when a player is penalized and is forced to sit inside the "penalty box" for a fixed amount of time.
In the event of a tie, the game enters sudden death overtime, during which the game will end when a goal is scored on either side. In the event of a no scoring overtime, a shootout takes place, and the team with most goals scored during the shootout wins.
Fighting, while not legal by league standards, is unofficially condoned as an activity in the rink. Fights must take place on the feet, and any use of stick or blades while fighting will result in immediate ejection. After a fight, a player (usually the winner) is subject to a five minute major penalty, during which game play continues. As well, fighters must fight bare-knuckled, and any other sort of fighting will result in immediate ejection.
Fighting is one of the main draws of fans for the sport, and as such the number of fights have increased each season, culminating in 734 fights during the 2008-2009 season.