Hockey in international competition

Summer Olympic Games Hockey first became an Olympic sport in 1908, being played on grass until 1970, when artificial turf was then used. For the preliminary rounds in the men’s event, the teams are placed in two pools of six, with the top two teams of each pool going forward to the semi-finals. Winners of the semi-finals play for gold and silver medals, the losers of the semi-finals play for bronze and the rest of the teams play games for the 5th to last places. The women’s event takes place in exactly the same way, apart from the two preliminary pools are made up of 5 teams each instead of 6.

Hockey World Cup This competition is organised and run by the International Hockey Federation. It began in 1971 and was initially held every two years. However, in 1982, this changed so that the Hockey World Cup is now held every four years, falling halfway in between the period of the Summer Olympics.

Pakistan has dominated the winning board since the competition began. This is somewhat apt, as they were mainly responsible for its origin. There are no limitations as to how many or few teams can be included in competition; the smallest World Cup in 1971 featured only 10 nations, whereas the largest World Cup in 2002 included 16 countries. The teams are divided into 2 pools, which then play games within these pools to find the 2 top teams. These 2 teams will then play for the World Cup title.

Hockey Champions Trophies or Champions Challenge This event was founded in 1978 and is the IHF’s most prestigious annual competition. Initially, the competition was held every year following either the World Cup or Summer Olympics but, in 1980, the Hockey Champions Trophies was made annual. In 2002, the name was changed to Champions Challenge, although it is still known interchangeably as both. 6 teams are included in the tournament, which include the host, the defending champion, the world champion and the next world ranking teams, depending on how many more teams are needed.

Slazenger England Hockey League Leagues for hockey teams in England were set up in the late 1980s, and gave teams the opportunity to compete on a national level. The men’s league was set up in 1988 and the women’s in 1989. Since then, they have both undergone numerous changes and have since merged, creating the English Hockey League in 1998, as a direct result of the English Hockey Association’s foundation.

Super Cup Originally known as the Premiership Tournament, this is a relatively new cup, only founded in 1998/99. The games include the 3 top teams in both the men’s and women’s premier divisions. The winner of the Super Cup gets the opportunity to represent England in the European Club Championships and the Cup Winners Cup.