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Portal:Ice hockey

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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 31 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.

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Eric Brewer

Eric Brewer (born April 17, 1979) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who has served as captain for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL) since February 2008. He is an NHL All-Star and Olympic gold medalist. Drafted in the first round, fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Brewer has spent parts of his nine-year NHL career with the New York Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Blues. Brewer has represented Canada at eight International Ice Hockey Federation-sanctioned events, winning three Ice Hockey World Championships gold medals and one World Cup of Hockey gold medal. He won his Olympic gold medal during the 2002 Winter Olympics. For this accomplishment, he was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame with his British Columbian teammates in 2003. (more...)

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Wome playing ice hockey, circa late nineteenth century
Credit: SD6-Agent

Ice hockey has traditionally been played predominantly by men, the history of the women's game dates similarly to that of the men's. Women's hockey became more popular over the latter half of the 20th century as both a participant sport and a spectator sport.

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