While all the forms of hockey have a fair resemblance to English football (soccer) there are several very noticeable differences. While the two teams playing are trying to maneuver a ball or flattened disk called a puck into their opponent's goal net, they do not use their feet. All the forms of hockey incorporate a long stick with a curved, flattened end to hit the object.

The most familiar hockey in North America is ice hockey. Played on ice while wearing skates this game's popularity migrated from Canada to the United States in the late 20th century and has challenged more traditional sports there for top position. With the speed involved in this aggressive game heavy protective gear has been incorporated into almost all levels from professional to school level play.

Field hockey is played on grass or gravel and uses a small ball instead of a flattened puck. Players run in the same way as football but use the stick to move the ball about. Field hockey is more popular in Europe, Africa and Asia than the American ice hockey version of the game.

Roller hockey has had a long history of success with its ability to be played indoors or out and still provides the speed and maneuverability that is hockey's appeal. The invention of inline skates in the late 20th century has increased the popularity of skate hockey immensely.

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