SOCHI, Russia (AP) Many Russians laughed when Sochi was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Not only was Sochi one of the warmest places in Russia, it also had no history of winter sports.
But against all odds, Sochi now boasts a professional ice hockey team and a steady following of fans who turn the otherwise deserted Olympic Park into the noisy, busy place it was a year ago during the games.
Russia spent a total of $51 billion on the Sochi Games, much of it on long-term infrastructure projects. Critics questioned the expediency of much of the spending and many fans and sports journalists inside Russia wondered what would happen to the gleaming arenas in a city where sub-zero temperatures make top news.
Ice hockey at the Olympics has changed plenty since it made its debut outdoors at the Winter Games in 1924. Rules have been modified, the format has changed and amendments have been introduced to allow professionals to compete. While the basics of the game remain constant in North America and throughout the rest of the world, many differences will be noticed at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The best players in the world will compete under international rules. Take a look at the game's history along with how the game differs between North American and international competition, from rink dimensions to fighting tolerance.