Similarity between ice and field hockey apparent for players

As sports vary in tactics, skill sets and game plans, one has to wonder: are field hockey and ice hockey entirely different?

Sophomore Rachel Kho and redshirt sophomore Kennedy Farr, both on Ohio’s field hockey team, said they realize how field and ice hockey tactics are different, but have some similarities as well.

“I think just because ice hockey is on a smaller setting, obviously on the ice you’re able to glide,” Kho said. “It’s a lot easier to throw two or three people in because you have less people on the ice.”

In field hockey, there are eleven players on the field at one time, including a goalkeeper.  In contrast, ice hockey has six players, including a goalie — creating more fluid play in ice hockey, as teams are able to get up the ice quicker. This also allows for more physicality between players, as ice hockey is one of few sports that allows violence and aggression.

But whereas ice hockey allows for more fluidity and physicality, field hockey, which is not as fluid, allows for more sets and pacing.

“When we’re creating attacks it’s different because in ice hockey you have three forwards close together, whereas in field hockey, everyone is a lot more spread out and you’re trying to string together passes,” Kho said.

In terms of attacking on the offensive end, Kho mentioned the sports’ passing patterns are very similar, as both sports strive to create a triangle formation in order to create balance.

“The triangle is used to just create balance, and to make sure there is one person on each post and one person in front to screen the goalie in ice hockey,” Kho said. “Or in field hockey, you’re still screening the goalie, but there isn’t as much contact.”

Farr, a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, says both sports also move the ball, or puck, up their respective playing fields in a similar fashion.

“You’re always pretty much aware of where the next pass is going, with either the puck or the ball,” Farr said. “You’re always aware of who is on the field or who is on the ice.”

This awareness on the playing field is essential, as it allows for knowing where certain passes need to be placed. For example, a field hockey player needs to be able to make a pass toward the back line and/or to the sides while being mindful of the opposition’s circle.

There may be a difference in the elements of each sport, but whether it be the field or the ice, the similarities are as striking as the sports’ respective sticks.


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