Octopush: Pond Hockey in Miami will Leave You… Breathless?

It turns out you don’t need ice for hockey.

Or pads.

Pretty much just your underwear, and a snorkel.

If you haven’t heard of “Octopush” before, (and if you live in the “frozen wasteland of Buffalo” where it “snows ten months out of the year,”) you’re not alone. It’s not exactly grabbing headlines on ESPN.

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Then again, the NHL isn't exactly grabbing headlines on ESPN, either.

Well, in honor of tonight’s matchup between the Sabres and Miami Florida Panthers, we’re going to educate you on what the British Octopush Association calls a “supreme aerobic game.” Who knows, maybe this is a secret conditioning regiment for the resurgent Panthers squad.

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What a save! I think. Actually, I have no idea what is happening here.

Yea, it’s basically mini-stick hockey under water.

Still, it seems to be fun and has a world wide following. If you’ve read this far, I suppose I should let you know a few facts about this game. From the aforementioned Association:

Octopush is underwater hockey and is a supreme aerobic game. It was invented in the early 1950s by sub-aqua divers in Southsea who got bored just swimming up and down pool lanes to get fit. The game is now played worldwide. Underwater hockey is fast, furious, and fun … and you can join in.

Players wear the basic equipment of a mask, snorkel, fins, and water polo hat. They hold a small stick, about the size of a spatula, in a gloved hand. The idea of the game is to use the stick to push the 1.2 kilogramme puck into the opposing team’s goal, which consists of a three metre tray at the opposing end of a 25 metre pool.

All other sports allow the participants to breathe as they play. But in underwater hockey, players breathe through their snorkels on the top of the water before diving down to do battle with their opponents. Some players can stay down for a long time indeed, but the real skill of the game is judging when to dive. It can take just a few seconds to tackle an opponent and pass the puck to a colleague, and then return to the surface for a well-earned breath!

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Not the best spectator sport.

I’m sure you’ve already leapt out of your seat to try out your swings with a spatula. In any event, that’s Octopush. Maybe the Sabres can use this to help motivate the team instead of bag skating them. Lindy, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome – and here’s the hours for the ECC pool.

While you gear up for tonight’s game, here’s a video of the fastest game under where ice should be. Cue the public domain rock and roll:

I can’t believe no one has thought to introduce the cannonball into this. That would be a real game changer.

If you’ve now read this far, my apologies. Enjoy tonight’s game.

Go Sabres.


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