A hockey team must at least comprise 10 players of field + a guard, and to the maximum 22 players.
One calls line, the five players by team who are at the same time on the ice. These 5 players are accustomed to play together and their play can be, according to the moment or the strategy, centered more on the attack or defense.
This sport is very intense (to take part in a match of hockey is equivalent running a 100m every 1 minute 30 or 2 minutes!), the players are thus obliged to very often change, and that at any time.
It is the role of the coach to decide which line or which particular player goes up on the ice. One then witnesses a ceaseless ballet players who leave the ice precipitately to leave their place with others leaping with the top of board, which still adds to the spectacle!!
A match always proceeds in three periods of set of time equal plus possibly some extra time and the shootings to the goal.
But the official duration varies according to the age of the players: 3x20' for the seniors (20years and more) and the juniors (18, 19 and 20years), 3x15' or 3x20' for the cadets (16 and 17years), 3x15' for the minimes (14 and 15years) and the benjamins (12 and 13ans) and 2x20' for the poussins (10 and 11years).
These times can also vary in the small categories according to requirements of schedules (a regional payment is then adopted).
The children of 9years and less are gathered in the moustique category. They are not engaged in a championship but take part in friendly meetings or tournaments. They very often evolve on a third or a half-skating rink, often using cages with reduced dimensions and with a reduce weight puck.
Just like the basketball, each time the referee whistles, the watch is stopped and starts again with engagement.
For the blow of sending, the teams are face to face and the referee drops the puck between the two centers. The players endeavour to mark by carrying out master keys and by striking the puck with their stick.
- the off-side : if a player precedes the puck in the attack zone, it is off-side and the referee carries out a handing-over at the place where the fault was made
- the icing : when a player strikes the puck whereas it is behind the center line and sends it behind the opposite goal, there is "icing" and the puck is handing-over close to the cage of goal of the faulty player.
One of the most spectacular characteristics of the hockey, are the body-check.
The body-check is the technique of basic defense: it consists in running up, to wedge along the band or to make fall the assailing one which loses the control of the puck thus.
The body-check (which should not be carried out with more than three steps of dash), are allowed only starting from the category "minimes".
It is really in these phases of the play, that the player takes any conscience of the utility of his protective equipment.
Fortunately for the strikers and the interest of the play, all is not allowed!
Sanctions are applied in the event of incorrect body-check (with the elbow, the stick, the knee, in the back...), holding, tripping, cross-checking, misconduct, roughing...
The faulty one goes in jail during 2mn for minor penalty and 5mn for major penalty (this sanction from now is accompanied by the expulsion of the player for the remainder of the match - a player of its team then purges in his place his major penalty).
The team which sees itself inflicting one (or several) minor(s) or major(s) penalty cannot replace the player(s) in jail. (except in the precise case when the referee inflicts the same time of penalty to the two teams at the same time of stop of play)
Compare to the opposing team,the first one is "shorthanded".
The team which has one or two players moreover than the opposing team profits it from a "powerplay" (numerical superiority).
A player can also see himself inflicting a penalty of misconduct when he criticizes the decisions of the referee or lack of sporting spirit; this one lasts during 10mn and assigns only the player concerned and not the team (the player can be replaced on the ice).
Particularly serious faults (acts of manifest violence, particularly dangerous and voluntary body check) can be sanctionned by the pure and simple withdrawal of the faulty player for the remainder of the match : penalty of misconduct for the match or penalty of match (with withdrawal of the licence).
There cannot be less than three players on the ice by team (the penalties who are whistled in this case "are delayed").
In competition, the match is directed by two or three referees.