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Spotlight on Box Hockey

The origin of Box Hockey is not very clear, but the game has been played since the late 19th century. It featured in several books in the early 1900s and was also listed as the ‘Game of the Month’ through a publication in 1914 by New York State College of Agriculture. Milton Bradley, born in Vienna, Maine, was an American business magnate, a game pioneer and a publisher. It was in 1937 that he sold a box hockey game, and two to three years later it was not uncommon to see several towns host youth championships, especially in the State of Pennsylvania. Sears & Roebuck, the well-known department store, was selling a mass-produced version of the game by the 1950s for only 50 cents. By the late 1950s adults started to play Box Hockey competitively e.g., the Springfield Box Hockey service club champions. In addition, the game also became an important aspect to the school summer programme, establishing healthy, active fun for students. By the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, box hockey experienced a major growth in the States. This came about through the increase of funding and the proper staffing of municipal areas and parks helping to reduce youth crime prevalent during this period.  

The modern equipment consists of a box approximately 2.4 m by 1 m by 0.3 m. These are normally constructed with a plywood base and three dividers to create four sections inside the box. Each divider has one or more ‘mouse holes’ that are slightly wider than the puck. Each player has one shortened plastic hockey stick approximately 30-46 cm in length. Finally, there is one plastic, hollow puck. To start the game, the puck is placed under the centre mouse hole. The objective for each player is to move the puck to the left through the mouse holes and out the hole at the end of the box, which is a goal. In addition to moving the puck through the holes to the goal, a player can use the blade of the hockey stick to block the opponent’s progress or steal the puck. The movement of the puck through the goal can be blocked by the hockey blade within or from outside of the box. Once a player scores a goal, a point is awarded and the first to reach 11 points, becomes the winner. Even though the game remains very popular with an official manufacturer of the equipment, there is no official governing body for regulation or an international championship. This may still happen as the popularity grows. 

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