Alternative Ways to Exercise: Octopush Game

What do you get when you combine a puck, mini hockey sticks, goals and a pool? Octopush, also known as underwater hockey, is a relatively new sport that is played competitively in many countries throughout the world.
Octopush was invented in England by diver Alan Blake in 1954. The name originates from the fact that the game was originally played with eight players per team. The first Octopush tournaments took place between the Southsea Club and other aquatic clubs, and the sport has since spread to different parts of the world.
Octopush is essentially like regular hockey, except that all the action occurs underwater. This makes it a very challenging and rigorous sport.
Though they can breathe through snorkels when they come to the surface of the water, participants must hold their breath for the entire game play, as they must dive down to bottom in order to move the puck.
“[Hockey] is hard enough on turf; I can’t imagine playing it underwater,” field hockey player senior Veronica Milliken said.
Octopush does have some distinct features that make it different from other types of hockey, which allow it to be played underwater. The puck is made of a heavy material, usually lead, so that it can be pushed along the bottom surface of the pool. Players use smaller hockey sticks to push the puck toward the other team’s goal.
Players must wear flippers, snorkels and goggles in order to play. They also wear either one or two gloves in order to protect their hands from the rough bottom of the pool. Players usually wear swim caps for protection as well.
Before any play starts, the puck is placed in the middle of the pool, and players wait in position against the walls of the pool. Once the play starts, players are free to move from the wall down to the bottom of the pool. Since players use such short, miniature hockey sticks, they must swim down to the depths of the pool in order to get in on the action. The most common playing formation includes three offensive players and three defensive players.
After each goal is scored, players return to their positions against the walls. Games are fairly short, with 2 halves that are usually only about 15 minutes long.
Some colleges and universities have Octopush clubs, such as York University and Oxford in England, where Octopush is most popular. However, Octopush has now gained popularity in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, the Netherlands and France.
Watching Octopush live is not recommended since it is difficult to see beneath the surface of the water. However, many professional Octopush games, such as the World Championship games, are recorded via underwater video cameras. Youtube has a myriad of video clips of different Octopush tournaments that are entertaining to watch.
If you are into diving beneath the surface, Octopush may be a fun sport for you to try. Just grab a puck, some mini hockey sticks and some friends to play with you.
As the weather gets warmer, what better way to enjoy your pool than to try underwater hockey? Just remember that the game can get quite intense and dangerous, especially since it is underwater.