Ice hockey is a fast-paced team sport, played on a rink. In order to score points, five skaters with a hockey stick try to move a vulcanized puck up and down to the net of the opponent’s team. One goaltender at each post tries to defend the goal. It is one of the most popular sports in central and eastern Europe, the Nordic countries, Canada, Russia and the United States. The NHL (National Hockey League) is the major pro Ice Hockey league in the world. The KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) is the major professional league in Russia and in much of Eastern Europe.
Ice Hockey is played in over 70 countries but it is dominated by national teams of Big Six countries. The Big Six countries are Canada and the United States from North America, and four European countries: the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and Russia.