Next month the 2014 Olympics will begin in Sochi, Russia and the NHL players will have to play a little different game. In 2010 the games where held in Canada and the hockey tournament was played on an NHL rink this time they will play on an international rink which is a bit larger.

In North America all of the professional ice rinks follow the National Hockey League specifications. The rink is 200 ft long and 85 ft wide with the goal line just 11 ft away from end boards. This is why it is so hard to come from behind the net and score in the NHL.

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The rest of the world uses the International Ice Hockey Federation specifications. The IIHF uses a rink that is 200 ft long and 100 ft wide with the goal line 13 ft away from the end boards. That creates a little more room for those speedy wingers to make a play or two.

This fact is why the United States hockey team choose big, fast players who can check and create time and space with the puck. If they want to win a medal at the Olympics this year they will need to play a little more like the European teams. The Olympic hockey tournament will begin on February 8th, as the American woman’s team will start play against Finland.