Hockey, typically associated with colder regions – such as Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Scandinavia – is a sport which is quite physically demanding on many players. Rotating 6 players at a time, the game has a total of 22 players. Overtime is similarly split into twenty minute periods, ending when there is a goal made. This applies if it’s a tied game at the last period and this is one way to break a tie to end a game as late ties are no longer allowed in the NHL.
Having changed a lot since its origins in Europe, hockey is a sport which has grown to include many regulations, and is nothing like the sport that it was back when the referee was in the audience instead of on the field. They watch the players confer calls between themselves and league officials, who are also sitting on the sidelines as well. Another difference that grew out of the additional regulations in the league is the penalty box. During the game, if a player is found to be breaking any moves that are not part of the league-accepted play, the player will be forced to sit out the rest of the period, and sometimes the rest of the game.
A change of behavior has caused an entirely different type of league with stricter regulations and that has caused a penalty box to be added to the game. This means that a player who breaks a league-mandated rule will have to sit out the rest of the period or the game, depending upon what the referee decides.
If players are ‘called out’ too many times it can result in penalty shots, which can give points to the rival team. The game has really taken a turn in the years with players becoming really aggressive to the point that they’re actually fighting on the ice which says a lot about how the first real hockey players played – they had up to 30 people per team which is less than the number on today’s NHL teams.
This is the reality of hockey in today’s world, which can result in serious injuries, which are mostly cuts and bruises from the constant fist fighting on the ice. The fights can result from calls the players feel are unfair and fall to the other team or even a rival player taunting them in some way which can cause them to be angry and combative.
Locker rooms are usually the place that players go – or are sent to – to calm down and so they will not get too worked up in a fight. It isn’t surprising, given the immense amount of energy involved in hockey that tempers flare so easily. Fighting may be natural, but including the referee in the fighting is something else entirely.