Whitehorse Loonies Underwater Hockey
Phone Ellen at (867)633-6956 or 333-8120 (pager) or
Larry at 633-4734, Cell (867)334-4990
Or you can e-mail me.
Underwater hockey is a very fast moving game that quickly builds swimming and free diving abilities. Underwater hockey is open to both men and women, of all swimming abilities, is a lot of fun and a great stress relief.
It is played on the bottom of a swimming pool by two teams of six. Players wear fins, mask, snorkel, a protective glove and headgear. The stick is short, approximately 1 foot long, the puck is heavy, around 3 lb. and the goal is 3 meters (9’) long.
The rules are "non-contact" and players generally cover "zones" around the puck. Success (scoring) ultimately depends on teamwork, since no single person can hold their breath forever. Individual strength is less of an advantage than it is in many other sports. The water nullifies pure mass advantage and emphasizes clever use of torque. Often, women and smaller players appear to have a slight advantage over other players, so size is not an advantage in Underwater Hockey.
In competition, games are two 15 minute halves, and teams of 6 can have up to 4 substitutes on the deck who can enter play on the fly.
Every Wednesday evening, 9:00 - 10:00 pm at the new Whitehorse Lions Aquatic Centre . Please be on-deck at least 15 minutes early so we can be ready to go at 9:00.
Regular drop-in pool rates apply.
The rules of the game inhibit the use of brute force and allow small people to compete effectively and equally with larger people. Play is solely on the bottom of the pool so your effectiveness is also governed by how much time you spend on the bottom ... the air is, of course, on the top. In the game, exertion usually shortens bottom time to less than 30 seconds.
The sport is defined as non-contact in the same way basketball is considered non-contact. The person in control of the puck can not be physically pushed but also may not charge into set opponents. Rules are simple - no body contact unless your stick is on the puck (i.e., no forechecking or moving screens), no touching the puck with anything but your stick, and no detaining or obstructing another player (even if you do have the puck) by pulling off their mask or fins or holding on to them.
Passing is very possible and is done by throwing the puck off your stick with a flick of your wrist. This is very difficult to learn without help, but can be used to sail the puck more than 10 feet across the bottom and up to 2 feet above it. This technique allows you to break the puck out of a tight spot and send it by your opponents.
This sport can be played at many levels from casual pick-up fun (our group) to serious competition. It can be an incredible work-out, and one that will specifically improve your free-diving skills, breathing and diving muscles. Underwater Hockey also provides an instant conversation starter at dull parties!
The only equipment required is a swimsuit (optional) :^), wooden stick, mask, snorkel, fins, protective hood and mouthpiece. We supply the sticks, mouthpieces and hoods and have some spare masks and fins available as loaners. You supply the swim suit and energy. For a preview of the equipment, click here
Sound interesting? It's a great way to get some excercise and to work off stress. Come on out and see what fun you've been missing!! For more information, call either Ellen Thomas at 633-6956 or Larry Bonnett at 633-4734.
Stick Sizes, Goals, Penalties, Pool Layout, etc.
Just click right here to see drawings of what the stick, puck, goals and pool should look like as well as drawings showing the suggested markings on the pool, various face-off shots, inlcuding penalties and what counts as a goal and what does not count. Close the new window to return here.
Costs (That money thing):
We are trying to keep the costs to individuals as reasonable as possible, so, with the co-operation of our sponsor's - the City of Whitehorse Lion's Aquatic Centre, Icy Waters and Sub Arctic Scuba, the only cost to the players is just the regular pool admission - either single admission, punch ticket or longer-term passes. The only other cost is a one-time charge of $25 to help us purchase all the common items to keep the sport running - such as pucks, mouth-guards, safety caps, spare masks and snorkels, sticks, goals, etc. We are asking for this only one time, after you have tried us out for a time or two - there are no annual fees planned at this time.
For those who are interested in purchasing their own mask, snorkel and/or fins, we suggest you check with Sub Arctic Scuba for very reasonable prices and a good selection. Call 633-4734. We now have sticks available for purchase and also have lanyards for the sticks if you prefer.
The basic rules of Underwater Hockey are right here, in Adobe Acrobat format. Just double click here for a downloadable version of the rules.
You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the rules - if you don't already have it, it is available, free, by clicking the image at left.
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A History of Underwater Hockey:
Underwater hockey was started by Alan Blake, Secretary of the Southsea British Sub- Aqua Club of Portsmouth, England, in 1954 to improve the snorkelling skills of his scuba students. The game came to Canada via Norm Liebeck, an Austratlian SCUBA instructor, who introduced the sport to the Vancouver Vanquatics SCUBA club in 1962. Ten years later, the Underwater Hockey Association of BC (UHABC) was formed and received support from the BC government.
In 1975, the first Canadian Men's Championships were held and in 1978, the first Canadian Women's Championships took place. Both were held in Vancouver, B.C., as well as the first World Tournament in 1980, now a biannual competition. The first Canadian Mixed Championships were held in 1982 in Montreal. The Canadian Underwater Games Association (CUGA), which governs both underwater hockey and underwater rugby in Canada, was formed in 1985. It was around this time that stick design and methods of playing had evolved to what is seen at present.
Today, the sport is played in more than 20 different countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Holland, South Africa, the US, the U.K., Sweden, Hungary and Japan. Internationally, the sport is governed by the Underwater Games Commission of the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatique (CMAS), the world diving organization. In Canada, CUGA is our national contact.
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