Hockey is an a team sports featuring opposing team of 11 players competing at each other by trying to maneuver the ball or puck into the opponents goal using a long stick curved at its end. Non-familiar individuals may find the hockey’s game play a variation from soccer or football, but knowing more about the sport will unveil unique characteristics of this sport. This sports has two types, the field hockey and ice hockey, with ice hockey mostly popular in the US and Canada.

Parts of the Hockey Field

Hockey has two types: the field hockey and the ice hockey. The classification depends on what type of playing surface the game is played, so it safe to say that it has two different sets of field layout as described by the sections below:

Field Hockey Marking and Parts

Field hockey’s field is also known as pitch.  Historically, the game was played on natural turf (grass) but nowadays is predominantly played on an artificial turf. The transition onto artificial pitches came during the 1970s and was made mandatory for major competitions in 1976.



The hockey field is rectangular in shape, with the longer side called the sidelines. The opposing shorter edges are referred to as the back line and the portion of this between the goal posts is known as the goal line. On the shorter sides of the playing field, you can see two arcs there, one with the solid mark and the other as dashed marks. The solid-marked arc defines the shooting circle. On top of these arcs there resides the 25-yard line. The center line divides the pitch into two equal fields. The penalty spot is a dot directly perpendicular with the goal during penalty stroke. From the center of each backline, a point is marked 6 feet (1.8 meters) away and a quarter-circle arc having a radius of 48 feet (14.6 meters) is drawn from here on the inside of the field. The two quarter-circles are joined at the top by a straight line measuring 12 feet (3.7 meters) to form the D-shaped striking circle, also referred to as the striking circle or the “D”. Another set of quarter circles are drawn outside these and 18 feet, 1 inch (5.5 meters) away. These arcs are not solid, but dashed.

Ice Hockey Markings and Parts

A hockey rink is an ice rink specifically designed for the game of ice hockey. It is rectangular with rounded corners and surrounded by a wall approximately 40 inches (1 meter) high called the boards.



There are two thick blue lines that divide the rink into three parts, called zones, or in some documentations, these blue line defines the beginning of the end zones. These two lines are used to judge if a player is offside. If an attacking player crosses the line into the other team’s zone prior to the puck crossing, he/she is said to be offside. The red line is the center line, in which aside from dividing the rink into two equal parts, it also used to determine or judge icing. Near the both ends of the rink you can see thin red line is called the goal lines.

Behind the blue lines, you can see two red circles with a dot in its center and some line marks on its perimeters on on the center. These circles are know as the faceoff circles, wherein most faceoffs are happening. The dot inside these circles are known as the faceoff spots. There are 9 of these: 1 on each faceoff circles, 4 on neutral zones – the zone enclosed by the blue line and the center line, and one on the center circle known as the center faceoff.

Ice hockey is one of the few team sports in which there is a live area of play behind the goal. The goal frame extends behind the goal line, as illustrated. The sides of the frame are rounded outwards that prevents players behind the net from passing the puck to the front of the net right along the goal post. In many cases, players try to take advantage of the shape of the goal by deliberately passing the puck off the bottom of the goal frame. This can cause the puck to change direction in a way that confuses the opposing team.



In front of each goal, there is a goal crease, which is surrounded by thin red lines and filled in with light blue. The crease is a special area of the ice designed to allow the goaltender to perform his or her duties without interference. In most leagues, no attacking player may enter the goal crease with a stick, skate or any body part before the puck. For the purposes of this rule, the crease extends vertically from the painted lines to the top of the goal frame. This rule was eliminated from the National Hockey League (NHL) and other North American professional leagues beginning in the 1999-2000 season.

At the sideline, there is the referee crease. It is an area in front of the scorekeepers bench that no player may enter during a stoppage of play. It has no function during play. If a player enters the referee crease during stoppage of play he/she will be ejected.


Hockey Field Dimensions

International Hockey Federation (FIH)

FIH_logoInternational Hockey Federation (French: Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon), is the international governing body of field hockey and indoor field hockey. Its headquarters are located in Lausanne, Switzerland and president are Leandro Negre. FIH is responsible for field hockey’s major international tournaments, notably the World Cup. FIH mission is to encouragepromote, develop and control hockey at all levels throughout the world, exercise jurisdiction over and to determine disputes or disagreements between Members, between Continental Federations, between Members and Continental Federations, between Athletes and FIH and between Athletes and a Continental Federation and conduct itself and take such administrative, financial or other actions as are necessary and in conformity with and in furtherance of its objects. In accordance with its mission, they may establish rules for the sport and enforce them uniformly for all events throughout the world, define the rules governing eligibility for the game of hockey to be observed by all members, and raise funds for the activities of the FIH by all available means including from fees, levies and subscriptions, royalties, sponsorships and the licensing or assignment of commercial and other rights.

Field Hockey Pitch Dimension and Layout




  • The field of play is rectangular, 91.40 meters long bounded by side-lines and 55 meters wide bounded by back-lines.
  • Sidelines are 91.40 meters long perimeter lines; backlines are 55.00 metres long perimeter lines; 22.90 metres lines across the field 22.90 metres from each back-line as measured between the furthest edges of each line, wherein areas enclosed by and including the 22.90 metres lines, the relevant part of the side-lines, and the back-line are known as the 23 metres areas
  • Lines 3.66 metres long and parallel to the back-lines are marked inside the field with their centres in line with the centres of the back-lines ; the distance from the outside edges of these 3.66 metres lines to the outside edges of the back-lines is 14.63 metres. These lines are continued in uninterrupted arcs in both directions to meet the back-lines in the form of quartercircles with centres at the inside front corner of the nearer goal-posts. The 3.66 metres line and the arcs are called the circle lines ; the spaces enclosed by these lines, including the lines themselves, are called the circles.
  • Broken lines are marked with their outer edges 5 metres from the outer edge of each circle-line ; each broken line starts with a solid section at the top centre of the circle-line and each solid section is 300 mm long with gaps between the solid sections 3 metres long


  • For goals, two vertical goal-posts joined by a horizontal crossbar are placed at the centre of each back-line on the external marks. The goal-posts and cross-bar are white, rectangular in cross section, 50 mm wide and between 50 mm and 75 mm deep. The distance between the inner edges of the goal-posts is 3.66 metres and the distance from the lower edge of the cross-bar to the ground is 2.14 metres. the space outside the field, behind the goal-posts and cross-bar and enclosed by the net, side-boards and backboard is a minimum of 0.90 metres deep at the cross-bar and a minimum of 1.20 metres deep at ground-level.
  • For sideboards and backboards, side-boards are 460 mm high and a minimum of 1.20 metres long, positioned on the ground at right angles to the back-line and are fixed to the back of the goal-posts without increasing their width; while back-boards are 460 mm high and 3.66 metres long, positioned on the ground at right angles to the side-boards and parallel to the back-line, and are fixed to the end of the side-boards.

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

iihf-logoThe IIHF, founded on May 15, 1908 in Paris, France, is the governing body of international ice hockey and inline hockey. The IIHF features 73 member associations, each of which is the national governing body of the sport in its nation. Besides controlling the international rulebook, processing international player transfers, and dictating officiating guidelines, the IIHF runs numerous development programmes designed to bring hockey to a broader population. The IIHF also presides over ice hockey in the Olympic Games, and over the IIHF World Championships at all levels, men, women, juniors under-20, juniors under-18 and women under-18. Each season, the IIHF in collaboration with its local organising committees, runs around 25 different World Championships in the five different categories.

Although the IIHF governs international competitions, the IIHF has very little influence on hockey in North America, where the rules of modern hockey were developed and where the National Hocket League (NHL) is the most influential hockey organization. The Hockey Canada and USA Hockey federations have their own rulebooks, while non-North American federations usually follow the IIHF rules.


Rink Dimensions and Layout


  • Dimensions of the rink should have a maximum size of 61 m long by 30 m wide and a minimum size of Minimum size: 56 m long by 26 m wide. For IIHF competitions the size will be 60 to 61 m long by 29 to 30 m wide.
  • The corners shall be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of 7 to 8.5 m.
  • The rink shall be surrounded by a wooden or plastic wall known as the boards which shall be white in color. They shall be not less than 1.17 m and not more than 1.22 m in height above the level of the ice surface.
  • At the lower part of the boards will be fixed a kick plate, yellow in color, 15 to 25 cm in height.
  • Lines shall be marked 4 m from each end of the rink, 5 cm wide and red in color, known as the goal lines.
  • The ice area between the two goal lines shall be divided in three equal parts by lines 30 cm wide and blue in color known as the blue lines.
  • Center line shall be 30 cm wide and red in color.


  • The center face-off, a circular blue spot, 30 cm in diameter, shall be marked exactly in the center of the rink. With this spot as a center, a circle with a radius of 4.5 m shall be marked with a blue line 5 cm wide.
  • End zone face-off will have a radius of 4.5 m from the center of the face-off spots and marked with a red line, 5 cm wide. On opposite sides of the end zone face-off spots shall be marked double “L”, as illustrated.


  • Face-off  spots in the neutral zone, the two red spots, 60 cm in diameter, shall be marked in the neutral zone, 1.5 m from each blue line. All face-off spots in the rink are the same as illustrated.


  • Referee crease shall be marked on the ice in a semi-circle by a red line, 5 cm wide, and with a radius of 3 m, immediately in front of the Scorekeeper Bench, as illustrated. Goal crease, on the other hand, shall be marked by a red line, 5 cm wide. The goal crease area shall be painted light blue.


National Hockey League (NHL)

nhl-logoThe National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league composed of 30 member clubs: 23 in the United States and 7 in Canada. Headquartered in New York City, the NHL is widely considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.

NHL develops its own sets of rules apart from the IIHL, and the said league draws many highly skilled players from all over the world and currently has players from approximately 20 different countries.Canadians have historically constituted the majority of the players in the league, with a dramatically increasing percentage of American and European players in recent years.


Rink Dimensions and Layout


  • The official size of the rink shall be two hundred feet (200′) long and eighty-five feet (85′) wide. The corners shall be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of twenty-eight feet (28′).
  • The rink shall be surrounded by a wall known as the “boards” which shall extend not less than forty inches (40”) and not more than forty-eight inches (48”) above the level of the ice surface. The ideal height of the boards above the ice surface shall be forty-two inches (42”). Except for the official markings provided for in these rules, the entire playing surface and the boards shall be white in color except the kick plate at the bottom of the boards, which shall be light yellow in color. Any variations on the color should have approval with the League.
  • Eleven feet (11′) from each end of the rink and in the center of a red line two inches (2″) wide drawn completely across the width of the ice and continued vertically up the side of the boards, regulation goal posts and nets shall be set in such a manner as to remain stationary during the progress of a game.
  • The red line, two inches (2”) wide, between the goal posts on the ice and extended completely across the rink, shall be known as the “GOAL LINE.” In front of each goal, a “GOAL CREASE” area shall be marked by a red line two inches (2”) in width.
  • The goal crease area shall include all the space outlined by the crease lines and extending vertically four feet (4′) to the level of the top of the goal frame. The area outlined by the crease line and the goal line shall be painted a light blue color.
  • A restricted trapezoid-shaped area behind the goal will be laid out as follows: Seven feet (7′) outside of each goal crease (eight feet (8′) from each goal post), a two-inch (2″) red line shall be painted extending from the goal line to a point on the end of the rink ten feet (10′) from the goal crease (eleven feet (11′) from the goal post) and continuing vertically up the kick plate


  • The ice area between the two goals shall be divided into three parts by lines, twelve inches (12”) in width, and blue in color, drawn sixty-four feet (64′) out from the goal lines, and extended completely across the rink, parallel with the goal lines, and continued vertically up the side of the boards.
  • There shall also be a line, twelve inches (12”) in width and red in color, drawn completely across the rink in center ice, parallel with the 1.6 Division of Ice Surface – That portion of the ice surface in which the goal lines and continued vertically up the side of the boards, known as the “CENTER LINE.” This line shall contain regular interval markings of a uniform distinctive design, which will readily distinguish it from the two blue lines, the outer edges of which must be continuous.
  • A circular blue spot, twelve inches (12”) in diameter, shall be marked exactly in the center of the rink; and with this spot as a center, a circle of fifteen feet (15′) radius shall be marked with a blue line two inches (2”) in width.
  • Two red spots two feet (2′) in diameter shall be marked on the ice in the neutral zone five feet (5′) from each blue line. Within the face-off spot, draw two parallel lines three inches (3”) from the top and bottom of the spot. The area within the two lines shall be painted red, the remainder shall be painted white. The spots shall be forty-four feet (44′) apart and each shall be a uniform distance from the adjacent boards.
  • In both end zones and on both sides of each goal, red face-off spots and circles shall be marked on the ice. The face-off spots shall be two feet (2′) in diameter. Within the face-off spot, draw two parallel lines three inches (3”) from the top and bottom of the spot. The area within the two lines shall be painted red, the remainder shall be painted white.
  • The circles shall be two inches (2”) wide with a radius of fifteen feet (15′) from the center of the face-off spots. At the outer edge of both sides of each face-off circle and parallel to the goal line shall be marked two red lines, two inches (2”) wide and two feet (2′) in length and three feet (3′) apart.
  • One foot away from the outer edge of the face-off spot, two lines shall be drawn parallel with the side boards that shall be four feet (4′)in length and eighteen inches (18″) apart. Parallel to the end boards, commencing at the end of the line nearest to the face-off spot, a line shall extend two feet ten inches (2’10”) in length. All lines shall be two inches (2″) in width.


  • Location of face-off spots should be in the following manner: Along a line twenty feet (20′) from each goal line and parallel to it, mark two points twenty-two feet (22′) on both sides of the straight line joining the center of the two goals. Each such point shall be the center of a face-off spot and circle.
  • The goal posts shall be kept in position by means of flexible pegs affixed in the ice or floor. The flexible pegs shall be ten inches (10″) in length and yellow in color. The goal posts shall be of approved design and material, extending vertically four feet (4′) above the surface of the ice and set six feet (6′) apart measured from the inside of the posts. A crossbar of the same material as the goal posts shall extend from the top of one post to the top of the other.