I’ve played underwater hockey for 10 years and it’s pucking good

I promise it’s far more serious than it sounds

hockey sport sports clubs sports union Stirling Uni underwater hockey

When people find out I play underwater hockey, funny looks follow. But if teams in America can play hockey on frozen water then what’s so strange about teams playing the game underwater?

Nobody seems able to understand how it works, but it’s super simple.

james

Get the idea yet?

The rules

    • Two teams of 10 players compete for possession of a puck on the bottom of the swimming pool.
    • Six players from each side are in the water at one time with rolling substitutions with the remaining four players taking place throughout the game
    • The object is to get the puck into a three meter long goal on the bottom of the pool at your opponents end.
    • The players wear fins, masks, snorkels and hats for identification.
    • A mouth guard and glove are used for protection.
    • A short stick up to 35cm long is used to push, manoeuvre and flick the puck.

james3

It was invented in the 1950s by bored scuba divers in South England who wanted a way to pass the time during the winter months that didn’t involve catching hypothermia.

Officially it’s a limited contact sport but it can get rowdy with kicking and barging in tense games. The puck itself can be dangerous and I’ve seen several flicks result in broken noses with clouds of blood drifting through the water a frequent sight.

The sport is huge in Orkney where I grew up and started playing –  our school even won the national championships in 2010.

Vikings Poolside

Yeah, you’re looking at the national champions

World championships are held every three years and there’s numerous competitions in Britain every year.

There are now clubs at a number of Scottish universities, with the British  student nationals an annual event.

The Stirling club has a way to go before it will be able to compete with bigger uni’s but we don’t lack effort and are certainly getting better- I hope. We came second last at the Scottish nationals this year.

It might not sound great but we managed to pull one out the bag in our play-off game against Oban and win 5-3. Not bad considering they beat us 5-0 in the groups.

james2

In my prime

The game is physically demanding and playing play eight 20 minute games in a day can take its toll.

It requires a lot of concentration, team work, fitness and lung capacity but it’s great fun and certainly something to break the unendurable monotony of swimming lengths.