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What is Roller Hockey?

Roller Hockey is highly popular and has many names worldwide that mean the same sport. Some common names for names Roller Hockey are: Hóquei em Patins, International Style Ball hockey, Rink Hockey or Hardball Hockey.

Roller Hockey was a demonstration rollersport in the 1992 Barcelona summer Olympics. There have been many world championships, Latin countries dominating the sport since the 1940s: Portugal (15 World titles), Spain (13 World titles), Italy (4 World titles) and Argentina (4 World titles). Other countries, such as France, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Andorra and England are regular international competitors, but rarely overcome the traditional powers.

Roller Hockey is a very fast sport, which may create a problem for TV transmissions, and new rinks are built using blue or white pavement to make the ball more visible on TV. It was a demonstration sport in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The most important clubs in Europe (and, arguably, the world) are FC Porto from Portugal, FC Barcelona, Reus Deportiu, Igualada and Liceo de Coruña from Spain, and occasionally Primavera Prato, Follonica and Bassano Hockey 54 from Italy.

In terms of trophies won FC Barcelona is the most successful team having won seventeen European Cups.

Every two years FIRS organizes a Roller Hockey and a Ladies Rink Hockey World Championship.

THE GAME

Two five-man teams (four skaters and one goalkeeper) try to drive the ball with their sticks into the opponents' goal. The ball can only be put in motion by a stick. The game has two 25-minute halves (for adults), with the clock stopping when the ball becomes dead. Each team has a one-minute timeout in each half. Each team has a minimum of six players (a backup goalie is required) and a maximum of ten.

THE RINK

The rink has usually a polished wooden surface, but any flat, non-abrasive and non-slippery material such as treated cement is acceptable. Likewise, it is allowed for rink owners to put advertisements in the playing area, as long as they don't interfere with ball or skate motion, which includes both physically (must be at the exact same level as the remaining area) and visually (dark colours or any other pattern which can mask the ball).

It can have one out of three standard sizes (a minimum of 34x17 meters, an average of 40x20 and a maximum of 44x22) or any size between the minimum and maximum values that has a 2:1 size ratio with a 10% margin of error.

The rink has rounded corners (1 m radius) and is surrounded by a 1 m wall. The wall also has a wooden base 2 cm wide and at least 20 cm high. Behind the goals there is a 4 m high net, even if there are no stands (to avoid the ball bouncing back from a wall and hitting a player). If the ball hits the net, it's considered to be out of bounds.

The markings are simple. The halfway line divides the rink into halves, and 22 m from the end wall an "anti-play" line is painted. The area is a 9 X 5.40 m rectangle, placed from 2.7 to 3.3 m ahead of the end table. It has a protection area for goalkeepers, a half-circle with 1.5 m radius. All markings are 8 cm in width. The goal (painted in fluorescent orange) is 105 cm high by 170 cm wide. Inside the goal there is a thick net and a bar close to ground to trap the ball inside and 92 cm deep. While not attached to the ground, it is extremely heavy to prevent movement.

EQUIPMENT

  • The clothing is similar to that used in football (soccer)—socks up to the knee, shorts and a shirt.
  • Sticks are different for skaters and goalkeepers. They can be of any material approved by the CIRH (although wooden sticks are still most often used), with a minimum length of 90 cm and maximum of 115 cm. They cannot be wider than 5 cm or weigh over 500 g.
  • The ball is made of vulcanized rubber, has a 23 cm in circumference, and weighs 155 g.
  • The skates must have two pairs of wheels, with a minimum diameter of 3 cm. Players are allowed to use brakes in the front of the skate, with a diameter or larger side not larger than 5 cm.
  • Protective material includes shin guards, knee caps, jock strap and gloves. Specifications for helmets and elbow caps vary from federation to federation.
  • Goalkeepers use protective padding on the torso (plus shoulders) (the maximum amount is being regulated, since, as in ice hockey, many goalkeepers have been using massive protection to make them larger and broader), neck guard, large shin guards (not longer than 75 cm), gloves protecting the whole forearm and a helmet with either a grid or unbreakable transparent material.
 
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