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Someone please explain this sport to me

Updated: February 20, 2006, 6:08 PM ET
By Brian Church | Special to ESPN.com

At 41, ESPN.com's Brian Church saw his first ice hockey game Monday. The result was clear enough -- Switzerland routed Italy 10-0 in the women's seventh, eighth-place playoff -- but our British friend has a few questions about the new sport in his life.

Why were the umpires or refs -- those guys in stripes -- dressed like they've just escaped from prison?

I thought ice hockey was meant to be violent?

Were the players heavily padded for protection or is this a ...

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