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Ice hockey, referred to simply as hockey in Canada, the United States, and most of Europe including Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic, is a team sport played on ice. It is one of the world's fastest sports, with players on skates capable of going high speeds on natural or artificial ice surfaces. Though played on six continents, ice hockey, as a participatory and as a spectator sport, is most popular in nations in which the climate is sufficiently cold as to permit natural, long-term seasonal ice cover; Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Russia, and the United States have dominated international competition, claiming 47 of the 48 gold and silver medals awarded in the men's and women's competitions at the Olympic Winter Games.

Ice hockey is one of the four major North American professional sports, represented at the highest level by the National Hockey League. It is the official national winter sport of Canada, where seven of the 31 NHL franchises are based; Canadian-born players, though, outnumber American-born players in the NHL by a factor of three (30 per cent, additionally, come from outside North America).

The sport is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players, five positional players and one goaltender, per team on the ice at any time, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, with the goal nets placed at opposite ends of the rink. The players may control the puck using a long stick with a blade that is commonly curved at one end. Players may also generally redirect the puck with any part of their bodies, but the kicking of the puck into the goal is prohibited.

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Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils - Elite league playoff final

The Nottingham Panthers are an ice hockey club based in Nottingham, England. They are currently members of the Elite Ice Hockey League. The modern-day Nottingham Panthers were formed in 1980, and were named after a club of the same name that existed between 1946 and 1960. During the 2006–07 season the Panthers celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of ice hockey's arrival in the city. They play their home games at the National Ice Centre just east of Nottingham city centre. Until 2000 the team played at the Ice Stadium which stood on the same site as their current home. The Panthers are one of the most financially stable and best supported ice hockey clubs in the United Kingdom. They have played at the highest level of British ice hockey throughout their history and are the only team who were founder members of the British Hockey League's Premier Division in 1983 who continue to hold membership of the top flight league. The Panthers are the reigning playoff champions having defeated the Cardiff Devils on penalty shots in the 2007 final. ( more...)


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