Have you ever heard of such a thing as a narwhal? If you’re an enthusiast of everything that happens under the water you might already know that it is a medium size whale that has a protruding tusk that extends from its snout. That’s right – narwhals are the unicorns of the sea. So let’s take this little quiz one step farther and let’s now see if you know what the Corvallis Narwhals are. Not as easy a question, is it?
The Corvallis Narwhals are an underwater hockey team that exist in the small Oregon city of Corvallis and the people that play on the team travel for miles from places like Eugene, Hood River and even farther to done the tiny Speedos and submerge themselves every Wednesday night to engage in a sport about which they are intensely passionate. Perhaps this doesn’t seem impressive to you but really, it should.
If you’re not familiar with the sport of underwater hockey, what you’ll find if you investigate it is that it in is a powerful fast action sport that is played by a team of six players completely underwater in pools all over the world. With stubby sticks, more similar to paddles than to hockey sticks, these enthusiasts hold their breath for extended periods of time in order to push a weighted puck along the bottom surface of the pool and try to get it to the other side to score a goal in their opponent’s net. It is said that play can resemble a feeding frenzy at the aquarium if you’re watching it from the surface – fins are flapping, water is splashing, and everyone is focused on one central spot deep underwater – that puck. The only difference is that, at the end of the submerged turmoil, heads bob to the surface looking inspired and happy. Because the sport is played underwater, both women and men can easily play together without their being in imbalance in the levels of competition. The sport is completely non-contact so if you have the speed and endurance underwater and can manipulate the puck with ease, you can become a part of this fast growing sport.
Kim Skukas is one of the members of the Narwhals and she has been training for US women’s team, a position that she has occupied in the past and where she is excited to return to in the future. Not everyone on the team is world champ, however. Members Lars and Loren embarked upon the sport without ever having played it before and found that they could learn to play without being extremely bulky or aggressive. They learned that the water can turn a player from a big unwieldy mass into a sleek and agile athlete with the capacity to score goals. A tiny slender woman can be your most ruthless opponent, swimming circles around men twice their size and passing them to score. Until someone gets underwater and sees how they respond to the sport, there is really no telling what one can accomplish in underwater hockey. Click on the helmet and bind on the gloves and dive in to see what you’re made of in this dynamic multi-dimensional game.
Loren was swimming at the Aquatic Center in Corvallis when he was recruited by some of the other Narwhals. They invited him to join them in a scrimmage and curiosity got the better of him. Once he found what they were doing, there was no turning back. He was hooked. Like a fish in a pool.