Bull from Latvia. Why is a penalty shot called a "Bullitt" in Russia - Inc News
, автор: Быстрова А.

Bull from Latvia. Why is a penalty shot called a "Bullitt" in Russia

In North American hockey the phrase penalty shot is usually used, but in our country another term is more common.

Источник фото: Василий Пономарёв / Sportbox

Hockey fans have long been accustomed to penalty shots: there are no draws in the major leagues, and if regular time and overtime are over and the score is still tied, a series of penalty shots is awarded.

The hockey equivalent of a penalty shot is as follows: the puck is placed on the throw-in point in the center circle, the shooter usually speeds up, picks up the puck as he goes, and rushes to the opposite goal, trying to outplay the goalie. Someone feints and tries to confuse the goalie, someone throws on accuracy, someone on strength. In short, the free throw is a familiar thing. But why is it called a "bulitt" in Russia? In English-speaking countries it is known as simple "penalty shot," and that's it.

Meanwhile, this name appeared by accident and came to us from the Latvian language. Ice hockey was established in the Soviet Union after the Great Patriotic War. And, when it began to be cultivated, of course, there were no rules of the game in Russian. But in some areas of the Soviet Union - in particular, in the former Polish regions of Ukraine and the Baltics, the game was known even before the war. The Latvians especially excelled in it, having played in the world championships and the Winter Olympics. So in order to learn the nuances of the rules, Russians turned to hockey players from Latvia.

One of them was Edgar Klavs, the famous soccer and hockey player from Riga (according to other sources, the equally famous Harijs Vitolins). When explaining to the coaches the rules for taking and executing free throws, he, according to some reports, for lack of knowledge and others for the sake of clarity, compared the movement of a hockey player toward the goalie with the jerk of a bull toward a bullfighter. A bull in Latvian sounds like "bullitis". Coach Arkady Chernyshev, who would later lead the USSR national team to four Olympics and nine World Championships, seized upon the resemblance, recalling that the first US ambassador in Moscow was named William Bullitt. That was the name Soviets decided to use.

By the way, as traces of Latvian the words "vbasivanie" (throw-in) and "probros"(forwarding) appeared in Russian hockey terminology. So it's not just a shootout.

The word "bullit" was introduced by famous Soviet commentator Nikolai Ozerov, who gladly used it in his reports. However, penalty shots were rare in : the playoffs did not appear until the late 1980s, so the spectators rarely saw the penalty shots - most often in situations where the player of the attacking team was deprived of the opportunity to throw the puck with a clear violation


On the flip side, in North America the shootout appeared in the 1921/22 season, and they were introduced because there were too many rough fouls. Then the puck was set at 11 meters from the goal, the attacker had the right to finish it, if the shot is blocked by the goalkeeper. The first penalty shot in history was not realized, and the first one to shoot the shootout accurately was Thomas Thunderdale.

Penalty shots were introduced in the NHL in the 1934/35 season. Here the shot was performed from a circle three meters in diameter, located 12 meters from the goal. The rules changed little by little, and gradually the rules of the penalty shot took on a modern form.