Hockey offseason

The hockey season may be over but fans should not fret, audiences still have an avenue to see grown men in ill-fitting uniforms smashing into each other at high speeds.

Right now, on the other side of the globe, men in short shorts and tight tank tops are colliding into each other on fields twice double the size of a CFL pitch in the Australian Football League (AFL) – the highest level of Australian Rules football.

So here are the top blah reasons every hockey fan should get into the AFL this offseason

The physicality

Not many sports are as physical as hockey, but footy comes pretty damned closed. A well-laid tackle or strategically-timed bump can change the entire momentum of the match so players are well trained to take down their opponents running at full speed. Of course, all of this is done without the protection of pads or helmets.


The fights

AFL players don’t wear gloves, so they’re off from the start. What may start as a little niggle between two players can quickly escalate with every player on either side joining the brawl. While the idea of 36 men wrestling in minimal clothing may seem ridiculous, add the umpires half their size trying to stop it, and a crowd of 70,000 rabid fans egging it on, it can be pretty entertaining.


The speed

The players may not be skating on ice, but that doesn’t mean they’re slow. When a ball can be kicked 60 metres at any moment, you’ve got to be fast to keep up with it!


The athleticism

These players can run. 15 kilometres is not unusual for a midfielder, with some tracking more than 20 kilometres in a match. This is all while tackling, being tackled, bumping, kicking and handpassing. The field is about 160 metres long and 130 metres wide, so these guys have a lot of ground to cover over the two hours of match time – and they do.  


The specky

The specky doesn’t really have a parallel in hockey, but it is one of the most spectacular aspects of the Australian game. It basically involves a player launching onto an opponent’s shoulders and and catching the ball while remaining two metres in the air. What’s not to love?!


It’s in Canada

The professional league is across the globe, but men and women have picked up the sport and now play across the country. From New Foundland to Vancouver Island, Canadians have picked up the Sherrin and taking on the Aussies at their own game. We’re even home to the reigning women’s world champions – the Northern Lights.


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