Explained: The Zestful Game of Underwater Hockey

Explained: The Zestful Game of Underwater Hockey

Underwater hockey? Have you ever played this flamboyant underwater game? Or you may have at least heard about it? This sport prompts numerous questions when any player or person tries to explain this to someone who has never seen the game. 


Hockey fans are familiar with the field and ice version of this magnetic game but imagine playing it 13 feet under the water. 


In the article, we will explain all the aspects of this dynamic and energetic game, including objective, scoring, and everything else about this underwater sport. 


History of Underwater Hockey

Underwater hockey, also known by Octopus’s name, was invented by the British navy in the 1950s. The objective of inventing this game by the navy was to improve their divers’ underwater efficiency and keep them in shape. 


In later years, it became popular in Australia and gradually in the world. The interesting thing about this underwear sport is that it intertwines its rules from swimming and hockey games. This creates a tough and competitive physical battle for the players of the game. 


Objective Of Underwater Hockey

This underwater support aims to hit the puck successfully into the goal of the opponent team. 


The winner is the team that scores more goals than the opposing team in the allotted time. The interesting thing about this sport is that it is played totally underwater, and players must stay underwater until any of the teams score a goal. 


Other than these, players can also resurface if the referee calls a foul. 


Players & Equipment

  • There are ten players in each team of water hockey. 
  • At any given time, only six players have to stay submerged. The other four players in the water hockey act as the rolling substitutes. This rule is similar to the ice hockey game. 
  • The players then remain at the pool surface where the puck, which is 3 lb, is located. 
  • Players in water hockey can pass the puck along the pool surface using a stick. This stick is attached to the gloves of the players and is around one foot long. 
  • The game players are allowed to wear equipment like a snorkel, fins, gloves, mask, ear protectors, and swimsuit. 
  • Although water hockey is a non-contact sport, it can become physical like basketball and can get rough. 
  • It takes numerous years for the players to develop the ability to play underwater hockey. Players develop the skills as well as the ability to hold the breath for long periods with continuous practice. 
  • The pool for underwater hockey is generally around 12 meters wide, 25 meters in length, and 2 meters deep. Lead weights or the ropes can be used in the form of a goal. 



In this underwater sport, the scoring or goal is done when a team manages to hit the puck into the opponent team’s goal. This hit is done using a stick that is attached to the gloves. 


No other equipment then this stick is allowed to score a goal. If a player scores a goal using their body or any other instrument, then it is a foul. The referee also in the match can declare a goal a foul if they feel that the particular hit was done using the body or other instruments. 



The winning in this version of hockey is according to the time limit. To win in this game, a team has to score more goals than the opposing team in the given time period. 


If a match in underwater hockey results in tie, an extra match of 15 minutes is played. This extra match of 15 minutes is played until any of the team is declared a winner. 



The rule of underwater hockey is a mix of two games. Its rules have been taken from two popular games, namely, hockey and swimming. However, the rules of the water hockey sport have been adjusted to suit this dynamic game. 


Rules of this sport are:

  • Each team in the game has ten players, out of which the six players always remain submerged. The six players are the ones who actively play the game. While the remaining four players in the game act as the substitutes. These four players stay on the surface of the pool while being ready to replace any of the six players when the need arises. 
  • The games of the sport take place for a time period of 15 minutes. There is also a rest period of 5 minutes between the halves. 
  • Players in underwater hockey have their particular zones, which they have to cover. However, as the game proceeds, the formations come into play.
  • The teams in this version of hockey can also be split into the defense and attack. There are no particular rules for this, so it depends on the team how they split their teams. Variations in the midfield players can also be seen in the game of underwater hockey. Such variations in the positions have been noted before also, so it’s not uncommon. 
  • Players in this game can use sticks to score a goal. Using the bodies to score a goal is not allowed, and if a player uses their body, then it is counted as a foul. Using any other part than the sticks in assisting the movement of the puck is also prohibited. 
  • The players can not make any physical contact with theater players until they possess the puck. In case the player has the puck, the game can become quite rough and physical. 
  • Goals done using the body are counted as foul, and the referee levies the penalty point on the team. A referee can also penalize a player if they feel that there is any undisciplined play by the particular player. 


Final Words

Underwater hockey is an energetic and dynamic game played between two teams consisting of 10 players each. The British navy invented this game in the 1950s to improve the abilities of their divers. 


Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques or as commonly known CMAS is the governing body for this zestful game. 


Jatin Choudhary

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