It is not hard to determine the major differences between ice hockey and field hockey which is the surface on which the games are organized. The differences, however, go beyond the ground surface which may not be clear even to the uninitiated hockey fan.
Origins. The Loudon Field Hockey Association claims the origins of field hockey dated back 4,000 years, due to evidences from drawings on an ancient tomb in the Nile Valley. In which, ancient Aztecs, Greeks and Romans played similar forms of field hockey. The modern version came to popularity in the mid-19th century in Great Britain with the first international competition took place in 1895. The first official ice hockey rules were recorded on the other side of the Atlantic in Montreal in 1877, with the first official league was not established until over a decade later.
Participants. Ice hockey consist of six players per team at a time: three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie while field hockey allows up to 11 players to compete: five forwards, three halves, two backs and a goalie, depending on the level of play and coaching strategy. Field hockey is played in more than 70 countries around the world but unable to compare with the popularity of ice hockey.
Equipment. The basic objective of both game is the same as hitting an object into the opponent’s net. However, the equipment to shoot the object, the object itself and the nets, are different. A field hockey goal made of two 7-foot high posts spaced 12 feet wide while an ice hockey goal is 4 feet high and 6 feet apart. Field hockey strikes a ball while ice hockey hits a puck by curved sticks of differing strength. Due to the physical element in ice such as body checking, ice hockey players wear much more equipment. The hardness of an ice hockey surface, puck and the rapid speed involved with ice skates over shoes make ice hockey a faster-paced sport.
Time and place. An ice hockey game last 60-minute of 3 matches and is organized on an ice-covered surface of varying sizes while a field hockey game match has two 35-minute halves and is organized on a 60-by-100-yard grass field.