Visual Encyclopedia

Underwater hockey

Underwater Hockey (UWH), also known as Octopush (mainly in the United Kingdom) is a globally played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal by propelling it with a hockey stick (pusher). It originated in England in 1954 when Alan Blake, a founder of the newly formed Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, invented the game he called Octopush as a means of keeping the club's members interested and active over the cold winter months when open-water diving lost its appeal. The oft-quoted anecdote that the British Royal Navy invented Underwater Hockey in the 1950's to keep their divers fit and to improve their ability to move and work efficiently under water has no historical basis in fact despite being promulgated widely and erroneously, even by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) as the sport's world governing body. Underwater Hockey is now played worldwide, with the first Underwater Hockey World Championship having been held in Canada in 1980 after a false start in 1979 brought about by international politics and apartheid.

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