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Box artwork for Ice Hockey.
Box artwork for Ice Hockey.
Ice Hockey
Year released1988
System(s)Family Computer Disk System, NES, Wii, Nintendo Switch
ModesSingle player, multiplayer
Rating(s)ESRB Everyone
LinksIce Hockey (NES) at
Ice Hockey (NES) ChannelSearchSearch

Ice Hockey is a 1988 game published and developed by Nintendo based on the sport of the same name. It was originally released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System, and was later released in North America and in some PAL regions for the NES. It was later re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console service in Japan, North America, and some PAL regions.

The play and mechanics of Ice Hockey are mostly similar to that of ice hockey in real life. The arena is similarly designed to a real-world ice hockey rink, coated in ice, with a goal on either side. The objective for both team is to hit a black puck with a hockey stick that each player carries into the opponent's goal. Each game is made up of three periods, with the victory going to the team who has the most points at the end of the game.

Teams are made up of five players including the goaltender, as opposed to six in real life. Teams are composed of different combinations of light, medium, and heavy skaters. If two opposing players fight for the puck for a certain amount of time, other players join into the fight, resulting in the player from the losing team in the fight to be put in the penalty box for a period of time.

Rules of the game[edit]

The object of the game is to shoot the puck into the opposing team's goal more often than your opponent can shoot the puck into your own goal. Each game is composed of three periods, the lengths of which are determined by the amount of time that was selected when teams were chosen. After the first period, the teams simply switch sides. After the second period, a small intermission featuring Zamboni machines is shown before the teams will switch sides again. If the teams are tied by the end of the third period, the game goes into an extra two minute period of overtime. If the players are still tied after the extra period, the game goes into a shootout, where each member from both teams goes one on one against the goaltender in an attempt to slip more pucks into the goal. If this also results in a draw, the game repeats the pattern of extra period and shootout until one player comes out ahead.



If a players shoots the puck from their zone all the way into the opposing team's zone, crossing the center line(red line) and the opposite team's goal line in the process, and it is collected by a member of the opposite team, the shooter will be called for "Icing". The referee will collect the puck, and a face-off will occur back in the original zone that the puck was shot from.


If two players fight over possession of the puck long enough, a brawl may break out between members of both teams. The "winner" of the fight will be the player who tapped A button the most times. In the end, the losing team's player is briefly ejected and the winning team will begin a power play. Then a face-off will occur and the teammates of the ejected player must play one man short until the ejected player is released from the penalty box.


Face Off[edit]

  • Neutral dpad: Before the referee appears to drop the puck on the ice, tap Up dpad or Down dpad to exchange the positions of the players at the top and bottom of your team's huddle. Tap Left dpad and Right dpad to exchange the positions of the two players on the left and right sides of your team's huddle.
  • A button: Before the referee appears to drop the puck on the ice, tap the A button to swap the positions of the top player and the player about to compete in the face-off. Once the puck is dropped on the ice, press the A button in conjunction with a direction on the control pad to slap the puck away from your opponent.
  • B button: Before the referee appears to drop the puck on the ice, tap the B button to swap the positions of the bottom player and the player opposite from the face-off position.


  • Neutral dpad: Use the direction pad to guide the player on your team who has possession of the puck along the ice. You can direct the player in eight different directions. Remember that you are skating on ice—nobody can stop on a dime.
  • A button: Press and hold the A button to pass the puck to another player on your team ahead of you. Use the control pad to guide the pass in a different direction. Tap the A button to fake a pass and hold on to the puck.
  • B button: Press and hold the B button to shoot the puck at the goal. Hold the B button down to make the shot stronger, and use Up dpad or Down dpad to change the angle at which the puck is shot. Tap the B button to fake a goal attempt and hold on to the puck.


  • Neutral dpad: Use the direction pad to guide the player on your team who is blinking. You can direct the player in eight different directions.
  • A button: Tap the A button to challenge an opponent for control over the puck. The more you press A, the more likely you are to steal control over the puck, or wind up in a fight with the other player.
  • B button: Tap the B button to automatically switch control of your current blinking player to a player that is closest to the puck. If the currently blinking player is already the closest player to the puck, no change will occur.


  • Neutral dpad: At all times, throughout the game, you are in direct control over your goaltender while you are also in control of another player. Pressing the direction pad will cause the goaltender to move in that direction, as far as the goal tending box will allow. It is important to remember that when you are on defense, you must also position your goaltender to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
  • A button: Press the A button to pass the puck to another player. Use this together with the control pad to dictate which direction the puck is passed in so that you don't give it to your opponents.
  • B button: Tap the B button to automatically switch control of your current blinking player to a player that is closest to the puck. If the currently blinking player is already the closest player to the puck, no change will occur.

All modes[edit]

  • Start button: Press the Start button to begin a new game, or to pause the action mid-game.
  • Select button: No use.

Player types[edit]

Each team is composed of five members; the goaltender and four skaters. The four skaters may be composed of any combination of Light, Medium, and Heavy players. The differences between these types are described below.

Type Light
Speed Fast Middle Slow
Shot strength Weak Average Strong
Checking Weak Average Strong
Face-off Great Good Poor
  • Speed: Speed determines how fast each type skates (relative to one another). Light types skate the fastest while Heavy types plod along at a slower pace.
  • Shot strength: This indicates how powerful of a slap shot at the goal each type is capable of. Heavy types can rocket the puck at the goal, while Light types have trouble getting a lot of power behind their shots.
  • Checking: When two players bump into each other, their weight dictates what will happen. A Medium type will bounce off a Heavy type, just as a Light type will bounce off a Heavy type. If a Heavy type bumps into a Light type, expect the Light player to go flying.
  • Face-off: By in large, a player's weight impacts negatively on how fast they can react in a face-off. Light types are much better at snaring the puck away from the opponents than Heavy types.

Default team lineups[edit]

When you select a team, either for a player or for the computer, the default lineup for each country's team is presented. Players may then tailor the team's lineup to their liking, but the computer will stick with the default. The following table indicates the default lineup for each team. (Note that in the original Japanese version for the Famicom Disk System, the first two teams are Japan and USA. When converted for play outside of Japan, these two teams were changed to USA and Sweden respectively.)

USA (Japan) Sweden (USA)
Poland Canada
USSR Czechoslovakia

Playing a game[edit]

Player selection[edit]

Before you begin a new game, you may choose between a one player game and a two player game. In a one player game, you must play against a computer-controlled opponent. In a two player game, each player takes command of one of the opposing teams. There is no cooperative mode available in this game; two players may not control members of one team against a computer controller team.

Team Selection[edit]

Once a new game begins, each player must select the team they wish to play as. If a one-player games is starting, the player must also select the computer-controlled team to play against. Aside from the default lineup that the computer chooses for each team, no team has any inherent strength or weakness over another team. Team selection is primarily for the sake of identifying which color your team is wearing, and to help you distinguish your teammates from your competitors.

After you select which teams to play as, you must also choose two more options. The first is how fast the players are (ranging from a 1, the slowest, to a 5, the fastest). The faster the action, the more difficult it can be to keep control of the puck, or predict where your goaltender needs to be in order to block a shot. The second options is how long each period should last. The options for period length are 7, 10, and 15. While these numbers are meant to represent minutes, the timer in the game counts down much faster than in real life.


After both teams have been chosen, each player will have the opportunity to alter their player lineup to their liking. There are four positions on each team, excluding the goaltender. They can all be filled by one of three types of players: light, normal, or heavy. The differences between each player type will be described below. To change a particular player, push the direction pad to the number of the player you wish to change (for example, to change player 2, push Up dpad) and press A button or B button to cycle through the three available player types. The specific arrangement of where each player type is positioned is not very important, since you can rearrange your team to your liking in the face-off huddle. When a player is happy with their lineup, highlight "END" in the center and press A button to start the game.


Once all players have made their selection, the game will begin. It starts with a face-off. Face-offs also occur after every goal, at the start of each new period, or after penalties are called for Icing or getting into fights that have to be broken up. Before a face-off begins, both teams will assemble in a huddle. This is your opportunity to rearrange your team using the direction pad or buttons (see Controls above) so that you can select which member of your team will compete in the face-off for the puck. Once the referee blows the whistle and appears on the ice, you cannot make any more adjustments. The two opposing players who are closest to each other will participate in the face-off. Once the puck is dropped, players compete to press A button the fastest and gain control over the puck. Use the control pad to help guide the direction that the puck is sent if you succeed in slapping the puck before your opponent.



  • Master winning face-offs, it gives your team the first attempt to score.
  • Use the Light or Medium type players to move the puck across the rink. This will offer the most speed so you can advance quickly.
  • Use the Medium or Heavy type players to body check smaller players on the opposing team when you have the puck to temporarily knock down a defender.
  • When attempting to shoot the puck at the goal, get close, but don't get too close. A little distance between you and the goaltender will make it difficult for the goaltender to predict which direction the shot will be coming from.
  • When shooting the puck, hold B button a bit longer to make the puck faster and harder to deflect.
  • If you skate into the goaltender, you will be immediately deflected. If you had the puck in your possession, you will lose it, and possession will be automatically transferred to the goaltender.

Defensive Strategies[edit]

  • Use body check attacks when the puck is still far away from your goal. Once the puck is carried into your zone, it is best to concentrate on controlling your goaltender to stop any incoming shots.
  • Use your goaltender to send opposing players spilling onto the ice.
  • When your goaltender has the puck, bring your controlled player towards the goal and create a safe passing opportunity that won't be intercepted by the opposing team.
  • If you are in the lead, don't be in too much of a hurry to lose possession of the puck. Skate around with it and let the clock count down to ensure a victory.


No Goaltenders[edit]

On the title screen, press and hold A button and B button on both the first and second control pad, and press Start button on the first control pad to remove the goaltenders from play.

Frictionless Puck[edit]

On the team select screen, highlight the team you wish to control. Then press and hold A button and B button on both the first and second control pad, and press Start button on the first control pad to cause the puck to continue moving until it is brought under control by a player or a goal is scored. If the puck becomes airborne, it will continue to fly around the rink until it touches someone to bring it to ice level or enters the net for a goal.