In the states this is understood to be ice hockey. In the Netherlands, it is meant as field hockey. Very few people in the states play field hockey, and those that do are mostly women. It is an East Coast elite girls' prep school type of sport, as far as I have noticed. Totally different in the Netherlands and Belgium, where tons of guys and some women play it. It's fun, kind of like lacrosse only the ball stays on the ground mostly and the stick is not at all like an ice hockey stick. It's shorter and curved a bit to help grasp the ball. It takes quite a bit of skill to learn to 'dribble' the ball while running down the field, to pass it, to steal it...it's really surprising that it hasn't caught on here. It's a very active game. Here in the states, and I should clarify that I mean the West Coast, and even then I mean San Francisco, lacrosse has been gaining in popularity for the last twenty-odd years. But my take on Americans (please remember that my dad is an American, and so, therefore am I) is that they like to watch sports in which the ball is easy to see. They don't like sports that are difficult to understand what's going on. For another example, not a sport with a ball, but judo, which I started doing in Belgium as a kid just like almost everyone, was never popular here and we had the hardest time finding a club when we moved here. It finally started getting a bit more popular when they got the blue gis, because it was easier for spectators to see who was doing what to whom. This was really difficult for the old-school judoka to accept because white was the colour of purity in the Japanese school of thought, and it was more than just a sport. But I digress. Back to my cave!
In the states this is understood to be ice hockey.
In Russia too.
I guess by "hockey" Dutch normally bear in mind "hockey on grass" rather than "ice hockey", right?
That's right, field hockey is one of the biggest sports in the Netherlands. Ice hockey is quite small and is referred to as ijshockey.
This was very useful for me as a swedish person since it's the complete opposite in our language. When we say hockey you refer to ice hockey because field hockey is pretty much non existing here. However when you actually do talk about field hockey, which we call "landhockey" (translation, "ground-hockey"), it's always done with inline skates. It's how we play ice hockey outside in the summer.