A game of field hockey in progress
Field hockey is a popular sport for men and women in many
countries around the world. In most countries, especially those in
which ice hockey is not
very prominent, it is simply known as hockey.
Field hockey has several regular and prestigious international
tournaments for both men and women. These events include the
Games, the quadrennial World Hockey
Cups, the annual Champions
Trophies, and World Cups for juniors.
Indian national teams
dominated men's hockey until the early 1980's, winning four of
the first five world cups, but have become less prominent
recently, with The
Netherlands, Germany and Australia gaining
importance in the late 1980s. Other strong hockey playing
nations include Spain, Argentina and
South Korea. The
Netherlands was the predominant international women's team
before hockey was added to Olympic events. In the early 1990s
Australia emerged as the strongest women's country, though
retirement of a number of key players has weakened the team.
Other important women's teams are China, Korea, Argentina and
Many countries have extensive club competitions for both junior
and senior players. Despite the large numbers of participants, club
hockey is not a particularly large spectator sport and few players
can afford to play professionally.
In the United States and
Canada field hockey is
widely regarded as a girls' and women's sport, but there are some
men's leagues as well.
A college-level field hockey player
In those countries where winter conditions prevent play on
outdoor fields, field hockey is played indoors during the
off-season. This indoor variant, known as indoor field
hockey differs from its outdoor parent in a number of respects.
For example, the players may not raise the ball outside the
shooting circle, nor hit it.