Life in the USA
The national sport of Canada, ice hockey, is also a major spectator sport in the United States. The term “hockey,” when used in the United States, refers solely to ice hockey. Hockey involves a great deal of physical contact among players, sometimes leading to violent exchanges, with a system of penalties. Teams with players in the “penalty box” must play “short-handed,” losing the use of one of their six players for two to five minutes. Professional games consist of three periods of 20 minutes each. Protective equipment is elaborate. Professional games take place on ice rinks in indoor arenas.
In addition to Americans, many players on American professional hockey teams come from Canada, or areas of northern and eastern Europe where ice hockey is popular.
The National Hockey League (NHL) manages professional hockey in the United States, although it is actually an international hockey league, given that six of the 30 teams are in Canada. Although hockey has traditionally been associated with areas of the northern United States that see cold winters, in recent decades professional hockey teams have spread to areas of the country that never see ice outside of indoor arenas. The NHL season lasts from October through April (82 games each team), followed by a series of playoff tournaments that culminate in the awarding of the Stanley Cup trophy to the championship team.
NHL Eastern Conference:
Youth hockey is popular in the United States, among families who can afford the substantial fees for ice time and the cost of the equipment.
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