Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Underwater Hockey: A Unique and Thrilling Sport

Underwater Hockey, also known as Octopus, is a dynamic and captivating sport that combines elements of ice hockey and swimming. Originally invented in the 1950s by the British Navy to enhance diver fitness and efficiency underwater, it quickly gained popularity in Australia before spreading worldwide. In this article, we will explore the rules, equipment, and strategies of this exhilarating game.

Object of the Game

The main objective in underwater hockey is to score goals by successfully hitting the puck into the opponent’s net. The team that scores the most goals within the allotted time emerges as the winner. Notably, the game is played entirely underwater, and players must remain submerged until a goal is scored. Only when the referee calls a break in play for a goal or a foul are players allowed to resurface.

Players & Equipment

Each team consists of ten players, with only six players in the water at any given time, while the remaining four act as rolling substitutes, similar to ice hockey. The players remain on the floor of the swimming pool, where a 3lb puck is positioned. A stick, approximately one foot in length, is attached to their glove, enabling players to pass the puck along the pool floor to their teammates.

In addition to the stick, players are allowed to wear a mask, snorkel, ear protectors, fins, swimsuit, and gloves. Although underwater hockey is generally a non-contact sport, it can become physically intense, similar to basketball. Players must develop their skills over many years, particularly in the art of holding their breath for extended periods of time.

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The pool used for underwater hockey matches is typically around 25m in length, 12m wide, and 2m deep. Goals can be created using ropes or lead weights.

Scoring and Winning the Game

A goal is scored when a team successfully hits the puck into their opponent’s net using their stick. No other body part or instrument can be used, and any goals resulting from contact with a player’s body are considered fouls in favor of the opposing team. The game is won when the allotted time has surpassed, and the team with the most goals is declared the winner. In the case of a tie, an additional 15-minute period is played to determine the victor.

Rules of Underwater Hockey

  • Teams consist of 10 players, with 6 players in the pool at all times, while the remaining 4 act as rolling substitutes.
  • Matches consist of two 15-minute halves, with a 5-minute rest period between halves.
  • Although players generally cover zones rather than having specific positions, formations do come into play.
  • Teams can be divided into attack and defense, and variations of midfield players are also observed.
  • Players can only score using the stick in their hands and are prohibited from using any body parts to move the puck. Contact with opponents is only allowed if they are in possession of the puck.

With its unique blend of athleticism and strategy, underwater hockey offers a thrilling experience for participants and spectators alike. As players refine their skills and master the art of breath-holding, the game becomes a true test of physical and mental endurance.

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Q: How was underwater hockey invented?

A: Underwater hockey was invented in the 1950s by the British Navy as a means to keep their divers in shape and improve their efficiency underwater.

Q: What is the main objective of underwater hockey?

A: The main objective is to score goals by hitting the puck into the opponent’s net. The team with the most goals at the end of the allotted time wins.

Q: How many players are there in underwater hockey?

A: Each team consists of ten players, with six players in the water and four acting as rolling substitutes.


Underwater hockey, a sport born from the British Navy’s ingenuity, combines elements of ice hockey and swimming to create a thrilling and physically demanding game. Teams of ten players compete to score goals by hitting a puck into their opponent’s net while submerged in a swimming pool. The game requires exceptional breath-holding skills and teamwork. With its unique rules and intense gameplay, underwater hockey offers a truly captivating experience for both players and spectators. Dive into this exciting sport and explore a world of underwater athleticism today.

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