Ice hockey, referred to simply as hockey in Canada, the United States, and most of Europe including Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic is a team sport played on ice. It is one of the world's fastest sports, with players on skates capable of going high speeds on natural or artificial ice surfaces. Though played on six continents, ice hockey, as a participatory and as a spectator sport, is most popular in nations in which the climate is sufficiently cold as to permit natural, long-term seasonal ice cover; Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Russia, and the United States have dominated international competition, claiming 47 of the 48 gold and silver medals awarded in the men's and women's competitions at the Olympic Winter Games.
Ice hockey is one of the four major North American professional sports, represented at the highest level by the National Hockey League. It is the official national winter sport of Canada, where seven of the 30 NHL franchises are based; Canadian-born players, though, outnumber American-born players in the NHL by a factor of three (30 per cent, additionally, come from outside North America).
The sport is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players, five positional players and one goaltender, per team on the ice at any time, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, with the goal nets placed at opposite ends of the rink. The players may control the puck using a long stick with a blade that is commonly curved at one end. Players may also generally redirect the puck with any part of their bodies, but the kicking of the puck into the goal is prohibited.
Jarome Iginla (born July 1, 1977) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player for the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League (NHL). A five-time NHL All-Star, he is the Flames' all-time leader in goals, points, and games played. Named the Flames captain at the start of the 2003–04 season, Iginla has been called the first black captain in NHL history. He has represented Canada internationally on numerous occasions, helping Team Canada to its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years at the 2002 Winter Olympics. As a junior, Iginla was a member of two Memorial Cup-winning teams with the Kamloops Blazers, and was named the Western Hockey League's Player of the Year in 1996. He was selected 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, but was later traded to Calgary and has played his entire professional career with the Flames. He led the NHL in goals and points in 2001–02, and won the Lester B. Pearson Award as its most valuable player as voted by the players. In 2003–04, Iginla led the league in goals for the second time and captained the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals, leading the league in playoff scoring. Iginla scored 50 goals in a season for a second time in 2007–08. Known for his polite and generous nature, Iginla participates in numerous community events, and donates $2,000 to charity for each goal he scores. (more...)
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