standard-title Street and Ball Hockey

Street and Ball Hockey

1996 World Allstars

Street or Ball Hockey is a team sport and a close variation of the popular sport of ice hockey. With origins and rules tightly connected to ice hockey, the major differences are that the game is played on foot and a solid surface, most often sport-court or concrete, a specifically designed orange ball is used instead of a puck. The object of the game is to strike the ball with the hockey stick and knock it into the opponent’s hockey net (6 feet wide x 4 feet high, 1.83 m x 1.22 m). Typically, a low-bounce type of ball is used. For added safety, hockey gloves, protective gear and helmets are used, and are mandatory in international competitions.

All ISBHF official events are held in full sized hockey arenas (generally around 200 feet long x 85 feet wide, 60.96 m x 25.91 m). When played on dry surface (no ice) of a hockey rink, six players, including the goalie, often referred to as 5 + 1, compete against the opposing team’s six players. Extra players are kept on each bench, outside the playing surface, and interchanged with the six on the floor, either during play or at a stoppage of play, to keep players fresh. However, in the game’s most basic form, any size or type of non-slip flooring can be used as a playing surface, such as dry-pad hockey arenas, tennis courts, or gymnasiums – when played on smaller surfaces, fewer players can be used during play, such as 3 + 1, or 4 + 1.

Since its inception, the ISBHF has worked towards unifying nations from around the world to share their experiences, development efforts, and news. In essence, creating a worldwide street hockey network, where information can be found to create or improve programs, evolve rules, develop skills, interact in friendly competitions, and promote the sport at the local, national, and global levels.

2003 World Championship

Games are played in periods of equal time, most often in the international standard of 3 x 15 minutes stop-time, meaning that the clock is stopped following a stoppage in play – after a goal, penalty, offside, flooring, ball out of play or goaltender holding the ball for a few seconds. Some of the basic ball hockey rules include:

  • Offside:occurs when a player enters an opponent team’s zone (the area from behind their net to their blue line) before the ball. The ball in play must cross the opponent’s blue line first before the player or any of his team-mates.
  • “Floating Blue Line”: expansion of the offensive zone occurs once a team crosses the opponent’s blue line with the ball. The attacking team will then have half of the entire playing surface within which to control the ball, from behind the opponent’s goal to the centre line of the area. If the defending team sends the ball past centre, the zone is reset to the blue line and their opponent must regain it as explained above.
  • Flooring (or icing): occurs when a team shoots the ball before physically crossing the centre line and the ball passes the opponent’s goal before any player, of either team, can touch it.
  • Penalties:are called when a player commits a foul. The offending player is then removed from the playing surface for a period of time, depending on the severity of the infraction, the team continues to play one player short until the penalty has elapsed.

Although the game is still very young, with the beginnings dating to 1960-70s in North America and 1980s in Europe, the sport has seen rapid development, moving from pickup games in streets and parking lots to full arenas, with thousands of fans watching and following the ISBHF World Championships. Today, tens of thousands of registered players around the world enjoy the beauty of the game. Since Street or Ball Hockey is not financially demanding and can be played almost anywhere, the fun, competition, excitement and team spirit of this sport are accessible to everyone.

Global Expansion

Because street hockey is so easy to play, it is quickly finding its way around the world in over 60 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honk Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turks & Caicos, Ukraine, and USA, with more than thirty of them already as members of the ISBHF.

Find out more about member nations – View all members

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During ISBHF international competitions of 5+1 (5 running players
+ 1 goaltender), all players must wear an approved helmet, ice or street hockey gloves and running shoes. Players under the age of 18 are required to wear full facial protection as well. Many nations have similar equipment requirements to protect players from injury.

Although not mandatory, it is recommended that players wear elbow pads, athletic cup, soft knee pads and shin guards. Adults should consider wearing facial protection to cover their eyes. Standard ice hockey sticks are used to play the game.

The balls are usually orange in appearance, and not much larger than a tennis ball. Two types of balls are officially recognized for play by the ISBHF. A hard (Pro) version is recommended for adult warm climate play, and is used at World Championships. The soft (Street) version is recommended for non-summer play and younger youth age groups. The official balls are manufactured by D-GEL, and display either the ISBHF logo, or that of a member nation. A list of retailers of the balls are listed by nation.

D-GEL has become a marketing partner of the sport, and in cooperation with the ISBHF, has recently created equipment specifically designed for street hockey, including a more flexible glove (Zebra), padded shorts, and the Protek shin pads. The ISBHF has recently entered into a similar type of relationships with Mylec for the manufacture of helmets, hockey sticks, and goalie equipment.

Arenas & Playing Areas

The game in its simplest forms can be played virtually anywhere that there is a flat and smooth surface, preferably with some barriers on the perimeter to prevent the ball from easily leaving the playing area. Nations without easy access to hockey arenas often construct their own outdoors, or use tennis courts, vacant parking lots, school yards, or gymnasiums.

Ball hockey rinks generally vary within the range of 24-30m wide x 48-60m long, with the larger formats preferred for higher levels of competition nationally and internationally.

Age Groups

Generally, where possible, programs are stratified by both age groups and ability, from recreational to elite. Groupings for youth range from 2 to 3 years depending on how many children are registered, typically you would organize them in divisions of Under-6, U-8, U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16, and U-18. With smaller programs possible groupings could be U-6, U-9, U-12, U-15, and U-18. Adult leagues are usually open 18+ in age. Divisions for older adults are becoming more and more popular with 30+, 35+, and 40+ age levels common. In the end, you must decide what is best for the development of your members and your program. Keeping the game fun involves more than just rules for safety but also an effort to keep play fairly competitive so that all participants have an opportunity to succeed or feel fulfilled in the effort to succeed. Self-esteem is an important element of amateur sports at a recreational level, and administrators should keep this in mind when developing programs.

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