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      A different way to play hockey

      As we think ahead to warmer weather this summer and ways to have fun in a pool, the sport of hockey may not come to mind. However, it can be played under water--the game is called underwater hockey. Some students at NMU who hope to become physical education teachers recently learned more about the activity .

      "It's hockey, but then the water adds a challenge because you have to breathe and push a puck that's pretty heavy," Sam Tallidis, an NMU junior, explained.

      The lead puck is moved on the floor of the pool by players who each have a wooden stick. There are goals, called gullies, marked at each end of the pool. The game was first played in the United Kingdom back in 1954, known as octo push.

      "It was very vigorous and tiring and definitely more of a workout than I thought," said Tallidis.

      The game involves a good amount of exercise. As long as players are willing to hold their breath and spend time underwater, everyone can play a role, said NMU senior Ashley McGrath.

      "I think everybody at every swimming level could have a role in this," McGrath said. "You're going to have your captain who can be in for anybody, they could be goalie, offense or defense. Our strong players we chose to put on offense. For me, I stayed with goalie or I stayed with defense as a beginner swimmer, but anybody can play since it's four feet deep."

      Underwater hockey is a sport that is unfamiliar to many people. McGrath expected the game would be enjoyable in an outdoor pool on a warm day.

      "This would be fun because it's actually a workout, I was actually really tired," she said. "In the summer, you're looking for something more active to do, you want to be in the water, and instead of just playing frisbee in the water where you're half under water, you could actually be actually under water playing a sport."

      The NMU Recreation Sports Department has the equipment for underwater hockey. People play in the PEIF pool on Monday nights during open swim time from 7-10 p.m.