Inline hockey

Inline hockey


union=International Roller Sports Federation
International Ice Hockey Federation
nickname=Roller Hockey
contact=Non-contact to Full Contact
team=5 at a time

Inline hockey, often referred to simply as roller hockey in the United States, is a team sport played on a smooth plastic surface, such as Sport Court, intended to allow for least resistance with the puck and players' wheels. Inline hockey is most popular in areas with indoor artificial inline hockey rinks which make it a year-round sport at the amateur, scholastic, and professional levels. It is a North American professional sport, and is represented by the Professional Inline Hockey Association and Major League Roller Hockey at the highest level.

While there are 116 total members of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) and 64 total members of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the United States have finished in most of the coveted 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed at the Inline Hockey World Championships.


The professional era

Professional inline hockey has existed since 1993, when Roller Hockey International was founded with teams in the United States and Canada. Following RHI was Major League Roller Hockey and Pro Beach Hockey in 1998, Professional Inline Hockey Association in 2002, North American Roller Hockey League in 2003 and American Inline Hockey League in 2008.

Chief differences from ice hockey

Many persons encountering inline hockey for the first time may already be familiar with ice hockey. Beyond the physical differences between ice skates and inline roller skates, the chief differences between inline and ice hockey are:

# No checking. Contact is allowed, but only when aiming to play the puck.
# Relaxed or no offsides in the USA (tournament rules enforce center line offsides but no neutral zone; varies from country to country).
# No icing (tournament rules may enforce this; varies from country to country).
# Played with 4 players (instead of 5 for ice) and a goalie from each team.
# Instead of a rubber puck, the game is played with a non-bounce plastic puck with hard nubs to reduce friction. Lighter than an ice puck.
# Players wear a long and less padded pant specifically made for added mobility in roller hockey and often don't wear shoulder pads (no checking).

The major differences: four players instead of five, relaxed off sides, and no checking, all contribute in giving inline hockey a different style than ice hockey while keeping the spirit. The game moves faster with more of a focus on finesse than strength and is more free flowing often resulting in higher scoring than ice hockey.


Since inline hockey varies from a non-contact where no body checks are allowed, to a full contact sport where body checks are allowed, inline tends to vary in the dangerousness of the game and people tend to get injured. Protective equipment is highly recommended and is enforced in all competitive situations. This usually includes a helmet, elbow pads, protective gloves, a 'jock' athletic protector and shin pads at the very least.


While the general characteristics of the game are the same wherever it is played, the exact rules depend on the particular code of play being used. The two most important codes are those of the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) inline hockey rulebooks. The Professional Inline Hockey Association and Major League Roller Hockey rulebooks are derived from these.

Inline hockey is played on an inline hockey rink. During normal play, there are five players per side on the floor at any time, each of who is on "inline skates". There are four players and one "goaltender" per side. The objective of the games is to score "goals" by shooting a hard plastic disc, the "puck", into the opponent's goal net, which is placed at the opposite end of the rink. The players may control the puck using a long stick with a blade that is commonly curved at one end.

A player is said to shoot left if he holds his stick with the left hand on the bottom and the right hand on top, and is said to be right shot if he holds the stick with the right hand at the bottom and left hand on top. Most right-handed players (that is, in general, players who write, eat, and throw with their right hand) shoot left and most left-handed players shoot right. This is because the bottom hand delivers most of the power while the top hand is responsible for control and stickhandling. Having the dominant hand at the top of the stick allows the player to have greater control and reach when wielding the stick one-handed, although many players prefer to shoot with their dominant hand. Goalies usually hold their stick with their dominant hand on top and their less-dominant hand is used for catching and is placed on the stick below the other hand only when stickhandling the puck.

Players may also redirect the puck with any part of their bodies, subject to certain restrictions. Players can angle their feet so the puck can redirect into the net, but there can be no kicking motion. Players may not intentionally bat the puck into the net with their hands.

Inline hockey is an "offside" game, meaning that forward passes are allowed, unlike in rugby. Major League Roller Hockey is currently the only North American league that has an "offsides" rule, where a puck could not be passed to a player that crossed the center line before the puck, but could be carried over the center line with teammate(s) "offsides" and still be legal.

The four players other than the goaltender are typically divided into either two forwards and two defencemen, or three forwards and one defensemen. The "forward" positions usually consist of a "center" and one or two "wingers". Usually in inline hockey, forwards and "defensemen" stay together as units or "lines" unlike ice hockey where forwards and defensemen are separate units. A substitution of an entire unit at once is called a "line change". Teams typically employ alternate sets of forward line and defensive pairings when "shorthanded" or on a "power play". Substitutions are permitted at any time during the course of the game, although during a stoppage of play the home team is permitted the final change. When players are substituted during play, it is called changing "on the fly".

The boards surrounding the floor help keep the puck in play and they can also be used as tools to play the puck. The referees, linesmen and the outsides of the goal are "in play" and do not cause a stoppage of the game when the puck or players are influenced (by either bouncing or colliding) into them. Play can be stopped if the goal is knocked out of position. Play often proceeds for minutes without interruption. When play is stopped, it is restarted with a "faceoff". Two players "face" each other and an official drops the puck to the floor, where the two players attempt to gain control of the puck.

Most inline hockey leagues only have one major rule of play that limit the movement of the puck: the puck going out of play. The puck goes "out of play" whenever it goes past the perimeter of the inline rink (onto the players benches, over the "glass", or onto the protective netting above the glass) and a stoppage of play should be called by the officials. It also does not matter if the puck comes back onto the surface from those areas as the puck is considered dead once it leaves the perimeter of the rink. Major League Roller Hockey on the other hand, institutes "offsides" and an "illegal clearing" calls similar to ice hockey.

Under most inline hockey rules, each team may carry a maximum of 12 players and two goaltenders on their roster. PIHA rules restrict the total numbers of players per game to 13 plus two goaltenders, but allows no more than 34 players and four goaltenders on their professional and minor rosters. MLRH rules restrict the total number of players per game to 12 plus two goaltenders but allow each team to protect up to 20 players including goaltenders.


In most inline hockey leagues, fighting is against the rules, and will probably land the offending player ejected from the game, with a possible suspension from future games. However, certain leagues do allow it, such as the former league Pro Beach Hockey. The former Roller Hockey International was against fighting, as they handed out a one-game suspension without pay to whoever was involved in a deemed fight by the league. Needless to say however, fights did occasionally occur in Roller Hockey International. Also, fighting does occur occasionally in Major League Roller Hockey, as well.



Periods and overtime

An inline hockey game usually consists of either two "halves" or four "quarters" of twelve minutes each, the clock running only when the puck is in play. The teams start at alternate ends and change for the second part of the game. Recreational leagues and children's leagues often play games with three "periods" of fifteen minutes each, with the clock running even when the puck is out of play. Youth competitive tournament levels run either two "halves" of fifteen minutes, or three "periods" of ten minutes, both with the clock running even when the puck is out of play.

Various procedures are used if a game is tied. In most medal rounds of tournament play, as well as in the PIHA and MLRH playoffs, North Americans favor "sudden death overtime", in which teams continue to play a regulation period of time until a goal is scored.

Through the 2007 regular season PIHA games were settled with a 4 minute sudden death period with 3 players (plus a goalie) per side, followed by if still tied, 3 minute sudden death period with 2 players (plus a goalie) per side, followed by if still tied, a 2 minute sudden death period with 1 player (plus a goalie) per side. If the score remained tied after the overtime periods, the subsequent shootout consists of three players from each team taking penalty shots. After these six total shots, the team with the most goals is awarded the victory. If the score is still tied, the shootout then proceeds to a "sudden death" format. Regardless of the number of goals scored during the shootout by either team, the final score recorded will awarded the winning team one more goal than the score at the end of regulation time. Beginning with the 2008 regular season, PIHA eliminated the 2 minute 1 player (plus a goalie) and went straight to the shootout. Until the 2007 season, PIHA awarded the winner in overtime/shootout 2 points in the standings and the loser 0 points. Beginning with the 2007 season, PIHA awarded the winner 2 points and the losing team in overtime 1 point in the standing.

MLRH regular season games are decided with a shootout with five players from each team taking penalty shots. After these ten total shots, the team with the most goals is awarded the victory. If the score is still tied, the shootout then proceeds to a "sudden death" format. MLRH also awards 2 points in the standings to the winner and the loser receives 1 point in the standings.


* [ IIHF Inline]
* [ Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS)]


* [ Argentinian Inline Hockey Association (AAHHL)]


* [ Skate Australia]


* [ Belgian In-Line Hockey Federation]


* [ Brazil Inline Hockey Federation]


* [ Nipissing Inline Hockey League]
* [ National Inline Hockey Association]
* [ Canada Inline]
* [ Pacific Inline Championship Hockey League (PICH)]
* [ Toronto Inline Hockey League (Toronto Inline)]
* [ Vancouver Inline Hockey League]
* [ The official Roller Hockey Site in Quebec]
* [ Green Light Adventures Inline Hockey League in Chilliwack, BC Canada]
* [ West Coast Roller Hockey, Langley BC]

Czech republic

* [ Czech Asociacion Inline Hockey]


* [ Chile Inline Hockey Federation]

Hong Kong/China

* [ Hong Kong/China inline Hockey Association]


* [ Irish Ice Hockey Association]
* [ Inline Hockey Ireland]


* [ Italian Inline Hockey League (LNH)]
* [ Italian Inline Hockey League TV]
* [ Italian Hockey and Skating Federation (FIHP)]

New Zealand

* [ New Zealand Inline Hockey Association]


* [ Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation]


* [ Peruvian inline Hockey Association]


* [ Inline-Hockey Switzerland]

The Netherlands

* [ Inline Skaterhockey Netherlands]

United Kingdom

* [ GB Inline]
* [ British Inline Puck Hockey Association]
* [ Northern Ireland Inline Hockey Association]

United States

* [ USA Hockey Inline]
* [ USA Hockey]
* [ USA Roller Sports]
* [ PIHA - Professional Inline Hockey Association]
* [ MLRH - Major League Roller Hockey]
* [ AIHL - American Inline Hockey League (Yet to play Inaugural Season)]
* [ National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA)]
* [ River Region Roller/Inline Hockey]
* [ Killingworth Guppies- America's Favorite NonProfessional Sports Franchise]
* [ Brewers Inline Hockey Club]

ee also

* [ Inline Hockey Central]
*Inline Hockey Clubs
*Roller Hockey International
*Professional Inline Hockey Association
*American Inline Hockey League
*Major League Roller Hockey
*IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship
* [ Global Inline Hockey]
* [ RHI history website]
*Road hockey

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