Floor hockey is a family of indoor hockey games. 5 variations exist: three variations in the style of ice hockey, and the other two in the style of bandy, one of which is called floorball in English speaking regions. Two of these variations involve the use of wheeled skates and are categorized as roller sports under the title of roller hockey. Quad hockey uses quad skates and looks similar to bandy, while inline hockey uses inline skates and is of the ice hockey variation. All styles and codes are played on dry, flat floor surfaces such as a gymnasium or basketball court. As in other hockey codes, players on each team attempt to shoot a ball or puck into a goal using sticks, usually with a curved end. Floor hockey games differ from street hockey in that the games are more structured, and two use wheeled skates. The variations which do not involve wheeled skates are sometimes used for training children to play ice hockey and bandy in a training format known as dryland training.
Floor hockey codes derived from ice hockey were first officially played in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1875, but the game's official creation is credited to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Samuel Perry Jacks, better known as "Sam Jacks". Jacks is the individual credited with both the creation of the official skateless game derived from ice hockey and codifying its first set of rules in 1936. At the time, Jacks was working as assistant physical director at the West End YMCA in Toronto. His achievement was later recognized by the United Nations.
A version of ringette was introduced as a sport in the Winter Special Olympics in 1932. In 1970, the Special Olympics added team floor hockey as an event, with the distinction of it being the only team sport under its purview.
The Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA) was formed in 1991 to provide more formal leagues of ball-based floor hockey. The CBHA runs leagues for men, women, and juniors, and organizes National Championships for each division.
In 2003, the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Hockey Committee released a baseline set of rules for intramural floor hockey for college campuses across the United States.
Floor hockey equipment differs between each code. Some codes use an indoor puck, a ring made of felt or other material ( Gym Ringette ) while others use a lightweight plastic ball, or a heavier ball. Some codes require standard ice hockey, field hockey or bandy sticks, while others use lightweight plastic. In gym ringette plastic bladeless sticks are used while the Special Olympics version of floor hockey uses wooden ones. The types of checking and protective equipment allowed also vary.
Another variation, cosom hockey, uses plastic sticks and pucks, while gym ringette uses circular rings and sticks with no blade.
Power hockey is a floor hockey game similar to floorball that has been designed for players using electric wheelchairs. Knee pads are required for the goal keeper
Although floor hockey is made up of several different codes, there are some basic rules which are typically followed regardless of code.
With the exception of gym ringette, games start with a face-off, where a player from each team have an equal chance to gain possession. The face-off is also used to resume play after goals, and to start each period.
A goal is scored when the entire puck or ball crosses the plane of the goal line, unless it is intentionally kicked in by the attacking team.
The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner. If the game is tied, the games usually proceed into overtime in order to determine a winner. Overtime rules vary, but typically include extra time and/or penalty shootout.
Penalties for illegal actions are enforced. A player committing a major infraction is required to sit out of the game for two minutes, resulting a power play, but a minor infraction may result in a free hit. Penalties are typically given for the following actions:
- Tripping – Using the body or stick to intentionally cause a player to fall
- Hooking – Using the curved end of the stick to impede a player’s forward progress by pulling him or her back
- Slashing – Using the stick to hit an opposing player's body
- Interference – Using the body to move a player from his current position on the floor or preventing him from playing the ball or puck
- High Sticking – Allowing the curved end of the stick to come above your waist
- Pushing Down – Using the stick to push an opponent down
- Checking from behind – Hitting a player from behind
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- “Floor Hockey Rules,” http://sportsvite.com/sports/FloorHockey/rules%5Bpermanent+dead+link%5D
- "floor hockey". Webster's Sports Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: G&G Merriam Company. 1976. p. 158.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Academic Edition, s.v. “Ice Hockey”
- "Floor Hockey: Sport History". Special Olympics – Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012.
- “Canadian Ball Hockey Association History,” The Canadian Ball Hockey Association, http://cbha.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2
- “CBHA Who We Are”, The Canadian Ball Hockey Association, http://cbha.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=7
- “NIRSA Floor Hockey Basics,” Last modified 2010, The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, http://www.nirsa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Sports/IntramuralRules/im_floorhockey.htm