What is Inline Hockey? Hockey Gear 101

Hockey 101 Hockey101
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Inline hockey is a fast-moving, exciting game played on inline skates (rollerblades), and is similar to ice hockey but with less body contact. Players wear padded, protective gear as well as helmets and use lightweight hockey sticks to move a puck around the rink.

The game can be played on wood, cement, asphalt, plastic or tiled surfaces surrounded by "boards" about 1m high e.g. a fence or wall. This is called a rink, which may be indoor or outdoor. The corners of the rink are rounded in the arc of a circle. Average size of rinks in New Zealand is 40m long and 20m wide. International sized rinks are larger.

Games are played with four players and a goalkeeper from each team on the rink at any one time. Teams can consist of a maximum of 16 players and two goalkeepers. Player substitutions are unlimited and the fast pace of the game calls for players to be substituted regularly throughout the game.

The whole of the rink can be used for play, including behind the goals, and the walls surrounding the rink are regularly used for deflection of the puck. To start play, the puck is dropped between two opposing players who face each other in the "face-off" circle in the centre of the rink. The game in New Zealand usually has four quarters of ten minutes duration (running time), with short breaks between each quarter.

The goal frame and nets are at each end of the rink. They measure 1.8m wide and 1.2m high. Hitting the puck into the goal scores points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Skating is the skill that makes this type of Hockey unique and it is something that players at all levels of the sport continually strive to improve. Without adequate skating ability, both forward and backward, players are less able to perform the other essential skills of the sport.

Stick handling (or puck handling) is perhaps the most difficult of the basic skills to master. It allows a skilled player to move around opponents, to defend their territory better and create more offensive opportunities.

Passing is what makes Hockey a true team sport and help's make the game fun. Passing gets everyone on the playing surface involved in the action and turns scoring into a team effort. Helping team-mates experience success is what the game is all about, and passing allows the thrill of scoring to be shared.

Shooting is the end result of offensive team play and is the action, which produces a goal. Many players spend most of the time practicing shooting because they believe scoring is the most fun. Players should, however, place an equal emphasis on the other basic skills of Hockey, given the fact most players generally take fewer than six shots in an entire game.

The team is comprised of a maximum of 4 players and one goalie on the rink at any one time. The players designated as forwards are largely responsible for creating scoring opportunities and the players designated as defenders are largely responsible for keeping opposing team players away from the goalie and limiting or preventing the oppositions scoring chances. The goal keeper is responsible for guarding the team's goal and stopping pucks from entering his or her net. The defensemen also attempt to gain possession of the puck and pass to team-mates to initiate an offensive scoring opportunity. Another main responsibility of forwards is to assist the defense players by back-checking after the team has yielded control of the puck to the opposition.

An assist is credited in the scoring record to the offensive player or players involved in the play immediately preceding a goal. Maximum of two assists per goal.

Back Check
The action of forwards skating back into the defensive zone to break up the opposing team's offensive play.

A scoring opportunity that occurs when there are no defending players between the puck carrier and the opposing goal tender.

Movement of a team in possession of the puck out of its defensive zone.

Changing on the Fly
Substitution of players without a stoppage in play.

Clearing the Puck
Shooting the puck out of the defensive zone or away from the front of the goal.

Delayed Penalty
A team shall not be shorthanded on the *playing floor* with more than two players at one time because of imposed penalties. Therefore, should a team receive a third penalty, that penalty shall be delayed in its start until one of the preceding penalties has terminated.

Delayed Whistle
When a violation occurs, the official will not blow the whistle to stop play as long as the non-offending team is in possession of the puck. The moment the offending team touches the puck, play will be stopped.

Face off
Dropping the puck between 1 player from each team to initiate play.

Pressuring the opponent when they control the puck in the neutral or defensive zone.

Goal Crease
The area marked off in front of the goal. An offensive player may not enter the goal crease unless the puck is already inside this area.

Goal Judge
An off floor official who stands behind the goal, outside the boards and determines if the puck enters the goal. Should there be a difference of opinion, the referee will have the final decision.

When both teams have anequal number of players on the ice, a team may not shoot the puck from behind the center red line over their opponents goal-line (except if the puck goes into the goal).

When an offensive player precedes the puck across the red line and into the offensive zone. .

Poke Check
Using the blade of the stick to knock the puck away from an opponent.

Power Play
An attempt to score by a team which has a numerical advantage in players due to a penalty.

Offensive players positioning themselves to block or shield the opposing goal tender's view of the puck.

When a team is playing with one or two fewer players than their opponent due to penalties.

Slap Shot
A sweeping motion with an accentuated back swing to shoot the puck (similar to a drive in golf).

An unmarked area in front of the goal approximately 3 to 4 metres in diameter.

Wrist Shot
The motion of shooting the puck with the puck directly against the blade of the stick

See more on equipment and what the club provides here.

Selection of Hockey equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting Hockey equipment, remember these important factors:

1. Make certain player is adequately protected.
2. Be sure the fitting allows freedom of movements so the player can properly perform the necessary skills.
3. Consult your coach, Team Manager or the Director of Coaching for Rimutaka Renegades

By carefully considering these and acting on these factors, your child will be more comfortable and will have more fun playing Hockey.

A complete set of Hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost. Shop around for the best values and remember that you need not buy the most expensive equipment. Enquire about second-hand equipment, but keep in mind equipment must fit properly to provide maximum protection.

Keep in mind that, above all, the motivating factor for most children who enter an organised youth sports programme is their desire to have fun.

With a supportive attitude and a fundamental understanding of the "basics" of "Hockey on skates", everyone will come away from their youth sports experience with a positive feeling.

Parents can take the fun out of Hockey by continually yelling or screaming from the stands. Parents should enjoy the game and applaud good plays. The stands are not a place from which parents should try to personally coach their kids. Kids often mirror the actions of their parents; if they see mum or dad losing their cool in the stands, they may do the same on the ice.

Some parents not only spoil the fun for the kids at the rink, but also in the car, believing this is the perfect place for instruction. Parents should try to keep things in perspective. There is more to life than Hockey, and the car and Home are not places to coach. Parents are responsible for supporting and respecting the coaches decisions and abilities. It is unfair to put children in a position of having to decide who to listen to -- their parents or the coach.

Parents should remember that if a player wants to improve, they have to practice -- not just play. Even if a players not the "star" player for a team, practice stresses the importance of teamwork, establishing goals, discipline and learning to control your emotions, all of which are important lessons players can use both in and away from sports.

Hockey parents can help create a fun and supportive environment by making certain the children are wearing properly fitted equipment. Parents also need to support the coaching staff to ensure all young players are kept safe and injury free.We work very hard to make sure that the child's first experience within our Club is positive, safe and enjoyable, to the extent that they will want to come back. Parents and coaches alike should refrain from placing unreasonable expectations on the young players.There are many benefits that can be derived from playing youth Inline Hockey. Boys and girls learn good sportsmanship and self discipline as well as learning how to work together as part of a team. In these and many other areas, they also gain life skills.

Parents serve as role models for their children, who often look at older adults for advice, direction and approval. Never lose sight of the fact that you are a role model and strive to be positive. As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, referees, opponents and team-mates.

Remember that your children are Playing Hockey. It is important to allow them to establish their own goals and play the game for themselves. Be careful not to impose your own standards upon them.

Avoid placing an exaggerated emphasis on winning. The most important part of your child's Hockey experience is for them to have fun while developing physical and emotional skills that will serve them well later in life. A healthy, risk-free environment that emphasizes the importance of fair play, sportsmanship, teamwork and importantly, fun, will be invaluable for your child as they continue to develop a positive self-image.

The best way to help children achieve goals and reduce their natural fear of failure is through positive reinforcement. After all nobody feels good about making mistakes.

If your child does make a mistake -- and they will (remember they are just kids) -- keep in mind that mistakes are an important part of the whole learning process. Strive to be supportive and to point out the things they do well. Make sure your child feels that, regardless of the outcome of the game, they had fun.

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