Sports are excellent ways to keep yourself fit and healthy. Not just that, but sports such as Roller Hockey also have the power to bring multiple ethnicities, castes, religions, and even nationalities of people together. Roller hockey is one of the most famous sports in the United States, Africa, and Europe and has been gaining popularity over the past few months.
What Is Roller Hockey?
Hockey is a game where two teams compete against each other, and the players of each team have to hit a ball through the other team’s goal. You aren’t allowed to touch the ball or kick it. It has to be hit with a stick, commonly known as a hockey stick.
In roller hockey, the same concept as ice hockey is followed except for a few minor changes. The players skate around the rink, but they use roller skates instead of ice skates. Unlike ice hockey, roller hockey is played on a smooth floor, usually marble, and wood.
A team is made of 16 players, out of which five players are playing at any time. Four of them are supposed to slide the ball into the other team’s goal, and one is the goalkeeper. There is a list of rules roller hockey is played with. While each state previously had its own rules, a set of universally recognized and accepted rules were eventually created, which are now followed in most matches and competitions.
One of them is the foot rule. Players aren’t allowed to hit the ball, or puck with their feet intentionally. They are given a pass if the hit is unintentional. Likewise, players are forbidden from touching the puck or ball with their hands. The only person allowed to touch them is the goalkeeper.
Any team is also allowed to substitute any player it wants immediately. This is called changing on the fly. The timing of the game also depends on the league and the level of expertise it holds. Any roller hockey game is played in two halves. For large leagues, half is 30 minutes, and for smaller leagues, this time can decrease to about 12 minutes.
However, if the two teams come to a tie, they are given extra time to play. Mostly, one of the teams scores an extra goal during this time and wins the game. If at any time the game is interrupted, it starts with a face-off. Two players, one from each team, stand opposite each other. The ball or puck is dropped from a height on the ground. Both players compete to get the ball under their control.
The term roller hockey can be further broken down into parts, inline hockey, roller hockey, and skater hockey. Roller hockey is also referred to as “quad” hockey. It is very popular in the USA, Italy, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Switzerland, Portugal, Egypt, and the UK.
History of Roller Hockey
Ice hockey evolved from normal hockey. Ice hockey was enjoyed in the winter months. However, that wasn’t enough for some hockey enthusiasts. It is still considered one of the best winter sports around the world.
Soon roller hockey was introduced to the world. The first roller skates were introduced to the world in 1735 by John Joseph Merlin. However, in 1878, the first game of quad or hardball hockey was played in the Denmark Rink in London, England. In its early days, the game was called “roller polo”. Roller hockey became popular in the United States of America when the National Roller Polo League was set up in Dayton, Ohio. This was in the year 1882.
By 1884, the Massachusetts Roller Polo league had about 14 teams under its wing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, roller hockey became popular, and more and more matches started being held. There were tournaments both nationwide and internationally, and teams were being sent to compete in them.
The first Roller Hockey World Championship was organized in Stuttgart, Germany, in the year 1936. To date, there have been 44 roller hockey world cups, with Spain leading with 17 wins and Portugal following with 16 wins.
Types of Roller Hockey
1. Quad or Rink Hockey
Quad or rink hockey is played using quad skates. This is still the most popular type of roller hockey in the world. The game is played with five players on each side, just like inline hockey. There are two 25-minute halves and a 15-minute break between them. There are also two, 5-minute goal times, called the golden goal. This is called sudden death and is used to decide the winner of a match.
The rink where quad hockey is played is usually made of polished wood. Cement is uncommon but acceptable. Quad hockey also allows you to adjust the playing time according to the conditions and the age of the players. However, this has to be decided before the game starts. Other rules about the game are available in the rulebook, published on the World Skate website.
2. Inline Roller Hockey
Inline hockey is extremely similar to ice hockey. It uses inline skates and a puck. However, unlike ice hockey, the game is not played over a frozen rink. The material of the rink can be marble, cement, asphalt, and other such smooth materials. The surface shouldn’t be slippery, though.
Since the surface isn’t as smooth as ice, the puck is made of a low-resistant material. This reduces friction so the puck moves around faster. The players are given long sticks with blades. They use these to slide the puck around in the rink. While inline roller hockey is a contact sport, there are strict punishments for fighting and body-checking.
These penalties are usually the offending player being sent out of the rink and into the penalty box. A Minor penalty means 2 minutes, and a major penalty means 5 minutes out of the rink. The game continues, and the team bearing the penalty has to play with one less player.
The biggest feature of any game of inline hockey is the puck going dead. If the puck slides off the designated playing space, the game is stopped with whistles. Even if the puck is brought back, it will not be used again. The puck is said to have gone dead.
Some important ideas in choosing Roller Hockey Equipment
Sticks are usually made of wood. However, there are other materials approved by the World Skate Organization. Sticks for quad hockey are different from inline hockey. Inline hockey sticks have blades in them. Sticks for players and goalkeepers are different too.
Inline hockey sticks are considered to be two of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to roller hockey. The sticks would help you out in the game.
Choose a hockey stick from well-recognized brands. If you are an adult who loves playing hockey, you can pick the sticks in two variants, right and left, as per your preference.
A stick made out of multi-ply wood, which includes poplar and birch is an excellent option. This gives an ideal amount of flex while not affecting the durability factor in any way. A stick that won’t break down easily because it is made with specific high-impact polymers is something you should go after. Make sure the sticks are designed in a way that they are flexible and resistant to natural wear and tear so that they last long.
Low-resistant pucks made of pressed plastic are used. These reduce resistance and make for a faster game-playing experience.
To accommodate for a rougher surface such as a road, driveway, or any other, getting the smooth street hockey pucks is quite essential.
For beginners, it is best to pick the ones that have been tried and tested. They are essentials not just for practicing but also polishing their roller hockey skills.
There are also pucks that glow in the dark, allowing you a true night street roller hockey experience. Even when it comes to the day times, these pucks are bright and shiny, which allows for easy tracking and better control over the puck movement as well.
There are two types of skates: inline skates and quad skates. Both have wheels, yet they have slightly different builds.
Skates for roller hockey should be of high quality. The skates should be durable and give a shine that lasts long. Also, it should provide the most convenient position throughout the game.
High-quality skates allow for sharp turns, better grip, and easy flow as well. They can absorb shocks easily, so you can play on rough surfaces as well. This allows for increased safety as well.
You can pick some brands with four-way adjustable skates that allow you to use them for a long time.
For the children, the skates should have been made of aluminum. This further makes it easier for the children to use these roller hockey skates because aluminum is quite lightweight.
Knee caps, helmets, elbow guards, shin guards, neck guards, and gloves are necessary for any player’s safety. No length of skin should be revealed below the chin.
Goalkeepers need special gloves to catch the puck coming toward them. Finding a suitable type of gloves, particularly for the purpose of roller hockey may seem like a difficult task, but it is surely not impossible. Find gloves that have breathable fabric. This allows you to control and maneuver the stick easily without feeling any excessive heat or moisture inside the glove.
To make sure that the players have the perfect grip at all times, check some roller hockey gloves that are designed with special m-grip technology. This is a special design feature of the gloves allowing the users to have maximum control. The leather palm is what helps in achieving that.
Roller hockey has been gaining popularity steadily for the last two centuries. Almost 40 countries in the world now play the sport and participate in the Roller Hockey World Championship. The game has evolved into a lot of different versions. However, world skate is now responsible for the upkeep of the game and its rules. No matter how good roller hockey is, some people still believe that it is slower and less thrilling than ice hockey. On the other hand, you need to pick the right equipment and gear to be successful and comfortable in playing the game.