The Most Disorienting Thing You’ll See All Week: Undersea Upside-Down Ice Hockey – In Siberia.
by Owen James Burke
Just imagine the fights. I wonder if ripping out an opponent’s regulator, or sabotaging their tanks would be considered foul play. Photo: Kuzbass Diving Center / VKontakte
If you thought hockey couldn’t get any tougher, or colder, Siberia has taken the sport to new depths and even lower temperatures. It may look a bit slow on film, but I’m sure these guys are getting the workout of their lives. Funny they’re not using skates, though I could imagine sharp blades flying around all that scuba gear could present a few perils not worth the risk. Then again, one could make the argument that playing underwater hockey upside-down on an ice sheet is not be worth the risk either, but who are we to judge?
Underwater ice hockey is not as new you might think. Austria held the first official world underwater hockey championship in 2007 in a pool and although the event did not necessitate wetsuits, those players were required to freedive, playing with their breaths held. It also seems to have generated quite the popularity here in New Zealand. Still yet, it doesn’t appear to be a sport conducive to spectating, and I can’t imagine how they could generate a crowd.
The Underwater Ice Hockey World Cup in Austria Photo: Omega/Manfred Dorner
And in case you care to delve even further into the brief yet dynamic history of underwater hockey, in 2013, a group of Croatians were (and perhaps still are) playing a freestyle version of the in the Mediterranean. It looks pretty silly, especially because they’re pushing around an oversized bubble-gum-pink puck with what look like blade-less chopping knives, but they’re playing at a depth of what looks to be about 20 feet, and there was even a little blood drawn:
We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of weird turn this grand aquatic adaptation of the sport will take next.