The National Hockey League has wrapped up its regular season.
A lot of people will be watching the playoffs, but once the Stanley Cup has been won, what do hockey fans watch?
Here’s an option that you might not have considered: underwater hockey.
This sport may be played in melted ice, but it’s not the same as ice hockey.
For one thing, there aren’t any goalies.
Six swimmers on each side have to work together to keep the 3 pound puck from ending up in their team’s underwater goal.
They wear fins and snorkel masks while they’re doing this.
They’re carrying pusher sticks that are much smaller than the long sticks ice hockey and field hockey players use.
And instead of face-offs, the two teams start at each end of the pool.
When the buzzer goes off to start play, they all race toward the puck to take control.
Maybe the biggest difference is that unlike hard-hitting pro ice hockey, underwater hockey is a no-contact sport.
It began in the 1950s as a way to train commandos and divers in the UK’s military.
Back then it was known as “octopush.”
But it’s become a big deal in dozens of countries.
And it’s been recognized by the International Olympic Committee, which means someday we might cheer on our country’s underwater hockey team as they try to win gold.
April 17 in Japan is known as Queen Day, as in the rock band fronted by Freddie Mercury.
It was today in 1975 that the band came to Japan for the first time.
Now the day is a pretty big annual celebration.
Queen fans in Japan also mark Freddie’s birthday on September 5!
Deep dive into the world of underwater hockey (ESPN)
The Pandemic Hasn’t Dulled Japan’s Special Love for Queen (Atlas Obscura)
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Photo by Frédéric Gelot, Water Alternatives Photos via Flickr/Creative Commons