The rules for hockey have remained the same for most of the past century, though there have been several minor changes over the years, most notably the number of players on the ice. In the early days, there were seven players a side. The seventh player, the rover, covered all areas of the ice and was the top player on the team.

The ice surface, with its many markings indicating different rules and zones developed as the rules for the game evolved. Hockey’s first rules were known as the "Halifax Rules" but with the game’s rapid growth in Montreal, these were soon replaced by "Montreal Rules." The game originally consisted of two thirty-minute halves, but was soon altered to three twenty-minute periods. By 1917-18, goalies were allowed to drop to their knees to stop a shot.

The blueline and assists were introduced in 1918-19. After that, forward passing was slowly introduced to the game, zone by zone.

In 1937 the goal line was added, allowing the icing rule to go on the books. A few seasons later the red line, also known as the "center" line, was added to help reduce offside calls and speed up the game. Once the red line was added, the rink began to resemble the surface we know to day and the modern era had begun. After the center line, for the most part the surface and rules stayed the same.

The ice was painted white, giving it the look of today, and the goal line moved out a few times.


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