Mina 15, 2078, m249
The hockey teams of ISMO started a promotional tour this week. With media events planned in every major colony, this is the first intimate exposure of winter-style sports on Mars.
The event in San Olympus was hosted by the 7 players of the Moles and attracted more than 60 attendees. The curiosity was, in part, fuelled by the fact that 3 of the Mole players are local residents. Though based in Noviymir, the Moles are entirely comprised of outside talent.
Attendees included media and invited members from the public. They were treated to a deep immersion experience of Martian Ice Hockey as well as a holographic sneak peeks of half a dozen other sports that are currently under development at ISMO.
Janice Campbell, a San Olympus resident and captain of the Moles, explained the set up, "There are two teams based out of Noviymir that will be playing in the exhibition games, but ISMO actually has created 5 teams in each of the hosting settlements, so we all share the same respective rinks and resources."
ISMO hockey is a mixed gender sport. The Moles are the only team in the exhibition that feature more female players than men, not unlike the Titans squad of Aero Football fame. Similarly, the team is already experiencing ridicule by their competitors, driving up the pressure for the Moles. If the MAFL is any indication, Campbell's team could have an advantage in a game that may favour the nimble, especially under Martian conditions. Unlike Earth variations of the game, boards are replace with circular ramps that dramatically change contact points.
When asked how the team was assembled, Campbell explained, "When ISMO began recruiting for players, 6 of us who regularly played recreational field hockey decided to apply together. We all got in, but only 3 of us (Laura Hall, Kara Okeke, and I) were able to get the extended leave from work to stick with the program. We easily could have been split up into different teams, but they kept us together, which is a big advantage for us. We've been able to build on that team chemistry and aim to leverage that."
All of the teams are comprised of only 7 players. 1 goaltender and typically an even split of forwards and defensemen. Only 3 players per team, in addition to the net minder, are allowed to play at any given time, but teams can rotate players and lineups at their own discretion.
As a non-professional organization, the teams are lean and do not have coaching or support staff, making the role of captain that much more critical.
"We have closed channel communication systems, so it isn't difficult to coordinate changes," said Campbell, "But it does get hard keeping track of what's happening. We have to be very disciplined or the chatter becomes disruptive, especially late in a game when everyone gets tired."
Games are broken down in to 3 fifteen minute periods. Infractions are penalized by taking an offender or substitute off the ice for 1 or 2 minute intervals. In the case of a second penalty, the opposing team is allowed an extra player on the ice.
When asked how the sport compares with Earth-style ice hockey Campbell responded, "I've never played ice hockey on Earth before, but we've studied both historical and modern forms of the game." After a pause to collect her thoughts, she added, "But if I have to compare, I think the guys at ISMO have cooked up something distinctively Martian. I can guarantee you that the generations of players that come after us will make this into a legendary game."