Inline Hockey 101

Inline hockey is a fast-moving, exciting sport played on inline skates (rollerblades), and is similar to ice hockey 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 minimum 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 is 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.

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