Why do they switch sides in hockey? [Reason Explained]

If you are a fan of hockey, you might observe that the squads will flip sides at the beginning of the second session. Then, at the beginning of the third quarter, they will transfer positions once more by returning to the team they were originally from. The result is that one team is playing two times on one side and one time on the other end. Do they have any benefits? 

So why do players switch sides in hockey? The players exchanging places when it was performed outside has a significant aspect. Currently, switching sides causes a long shift for the players in the second quarter. It increases goals and improves the game-watching pleasure for all supporters by allowing them to watch the local team attempt to score against the opposition.

The players in the match do not need to switch sides because they are protected from the weather within and the surface is equal. Then why do they do it? Why do players change their sides in hockey? 

Thus, they change the sides from one team to another to make more points and get more chances to win the match. Due to this, they also get a long shift to have more time to play for more points. In this way, it is the best part for the fans to enjoy the match when players change sides from one team to another.

What are the other factors relating to this? Let’s explore all about it.

Historical switching at half time and the evolution to periods

Changes in player sides resulted from hockey’s older beginnings. Hockey was first performed outside on lakes and canals, not in enclosed venues, in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

The first hockey games were played in two halves rather than three periods. It seems logical that they would change sides if the game was taking place outdoors. If you have ever participated outside, you know how challenging it is to rink into a breeze. This gives the opposing team a clear edge to score. 

This is similar to football, where the weather, such as the sun or wind, can effectively work in one team’s favor. The practice of changing sides was decided to continue when hockey went indoors, even if the weather was no longer a concern.

Historical switching at half time and the evolution to periods

Hockey later changed to a three-period structure when it went indoors. It is because the ice is required to be cleaned regularly to maintain a specific level of standards. You can simply say that having two parts to a match and only once cleaning the ice during one interval was insufficient. 

It wasn’t essential to have three intermissions and clear the rink three times. Thus, the idea for the game’s three periods, two interludes, and unequal side allocation of the sides was formed.

To restore the sport’s origins, the NHL has begun to hold 1-2 outdoor matches annually in current history. The session was a delight with the crowd. The components will never come into play in this situation.

For this element, the NHL allows teams to shift positions during the third session if weather conditions, such as wind, become an issue. 

Related Post: How do Hockey Players Know When to Change Lines?

Switching sides to increase scoring

By having teams make a lengthy shift, changing teams for the 2nd quarter and overtime significantly boosts scoring chances. A squad’s sideline will be located on the same side of the ice as its attacking side or goalkeeper throughout the first and third periods. 

The opposing side of the rink from the goalkeeper will be where their benches will be throughout the 2nd quarter. A prolonged shift is when you are on the rink far away from your goaltender. 

Switching sides to increase scoring

The attackers and defenders will have to leave the ice for a long shift so that new skaters can participate in the game. Because they can’t have an opportunity to the bench, exhausted skaters are forced to stay on the rink more than they would like to. 

A defending pair will sometimes be stuck on the rink for more than a minute. It causes fatigue, which causes errors as well as affects scores.

Moreover, it has been demonstrated that teams that participate in the extended shift score more goals. The NHL will try anything to boost goals, which is one reason it is here to stay.

Related Post: Why do hockey players tape their sticks?

Switching sides for fan experience in the stadium

Some seats are preferable to others when purchasing hockey tickets. The ideal seat is always located between the blue lines at the center ice. But those seats are also among the most costly seats. Thus, the corners of the arena have the cheapest tickets.

Which side of the arena would you like to sit on when you chose your tickets? It is the part where the home crowd launches two strikes. If the match doesn’t go into extra time, there are three quarters in a match. Also, during two of them, the local team will score on one of the goals and just once on the other.

Fan Experience In Stadium

If you did not have to watch the local team score at the goal that you are sitting close to, it will not be appropriate to the paid fans. When you can watch your local team score on the net near you, it does affect how much you are enjoying the game. 

Everyone enjoys seeing scoring opportunities and goals. It is harder to see when the ball is down at the opposite end of the rink.

Conclusion: Why do they switch sides in hockey?

You might have seen teams commonly switching sides in hockey. Although swapping teams have a long history, clubs mostly do it to improve the viewer experience during games. It also maintains the minor improvement in scoring that comes with changing teams.

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