Left-handed life can be tough. Getting covered in ink every time you write with a gel pen is just one of the daily struggles of a leftie. And while great technological strides have been made to cater to this marginalised group, there are still major events where the left-handed have to make do. Case in point: hockey.
It turns out that left-handed sticks are actually illegal in field hockey. Naturally, we needed to know why…
Why are there no left-handed sticks in hockey?
While the origins of hockey date back to the Middle Ages when left-handedness (or sinistrality) was seen as evil (or sinister), the sport maintains its right-handed-sticks-only ruling purely for safety reasons.
According to the rules of the International Hockey Federation (IHF), when players tackle opponents with opposite-handed sticks, it is highly likely that one of them will get hit from a follow-through swing.
Also, it’s what makes the game unique.
Are there left-handed sticks for sale?
Yes, there are. But, once you use them in a competitive tournament, you risk being sued. They also tend to be custom made and therefore very expensive.
How long is a hockey stick?
Between 36 and 38 inches. They’re usually made of carbon and fibreglass as metal components are also forbidden according to the IHF.
Are left-handed people allowed to play?
Lefties are very much welcome, but will need to get used to playing with the traditional right-handed stick – just as they got used to using scissors, can openers, and a right-handed mouse.
Can you tell left-handed players from right-handed ones?
Not unless you ask the players themselves. The athletes at the Rio Olympics are so used to playing and swinging with their right hand that it will be impossible to spot who the lefties are.