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Template:Unreferenced Template:Cleanup-rewrite Template:Infobox sport Inline hockey, often referred to as roller hockey in the United States, is a sport similar to ice hockey but played with inline skates. Like its parent sport, skaters on two teams use hockey sticks to direct a disk-shaped puck into the opponent's goal; however, various details of the game, such as the playing surface and puck design, have been adjusted to allow the use of inline skates at above-freezing temperatures.

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.


Junior Inline HockeyEdit

There are no junior leagues for the sport of inline hockey in the USA except for NAYRHL (North America Youth Roller Hockey League). In Ontario, Canada, they have The GLi (Great Lakes Inline) which is similar to the OHL of ice hockey and is also 21 and under. For the Junior "A" equivalent in the USA, see the Professional Inline Hockey Association and American Inline Hockey League everyone loves hockey.

Chief differences from ice hockey Edit

Although inline hockey appears, at first glance, to simply be ice hockey on inline skates, this single change ramifies through the rest of the game, resulting in important differences between the two sports.

Inline hockey is typically played at room temperature on a surface that, rather than being made from (frozen) water, is kept dry to protect the bearings in the skate wheels. Several surface materials are used, including plastic tiles, wood, and sealed concrete; in general, surfaces try to balance the ability of wheels to grip against the ability of the puck to slide freely. None of these surfaces, however, are as smooth as ice; as a result, the puck is made of a much lighter plastic material, and rests on small plastic nubs to reduce friction with the rink surface.

Besides these equipment differences, inline hockey is generally a less physical sport. Most leagues punish fighting harshly, and body checking is usually a penalty. Leagues generally require players to wear full face masks, but otherwise, players tend to wear lighter clothes and less protective padding.

There are other rules differences as well. Each team fields only four skaters (plus a goaltender), rather than ice hockey's five. Many leagues do not stop play for icing. Offsides rules are generally looser as well; some leagues call offsides only on the center line, while others omit the rule entirely.

All of this adds up to a game focused more on skill and speed and less on strength and intimidation. Skaters have more room to maneuver and fewer obstacles to slow them down. Games are typically faster-paced and higher-scoring, while still retaining many of the same skills and strategies as ice hockey.


Since inline hockey varies from a non-contact where no body checks are allowed (allowed contact since 2006), 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.

Goal CagesEdit

One of the most fundamental differences between the IIHF and FIRS-sanctioned versions of inline hockey lies within the dimensions of the net. The IIHF simply retains the use of ice hockey nets. However the FIRS rulebook substitutes the traditional ice hockey cage for a lower and narrower model patterned after the one used in rink hockey, the FIRS' flagship sport.


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 [1]. 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 whom 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. 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 icing 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 prohibited, 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 overtimeEdit

An inline hockey game usually consists of three period of either 12 minutes or 15 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.

Playing surface Edit

Indoor inline hockey is played on any suitable non-slip surface. While converted roller rinks may use wooden floors, dedicated inline hockey facilities use Sport Court or similar surface, which allows maximum traction to inline hockey wheels whilst providing a smooth, unbroken gliding surface for the puck. The playing area should be surrounded by full boards similar to ice hockey with glass or fencing to a height of around 2m. Often, especially in European countries, the game is played in indoor sports halls, on wooden floors. Therefore, there will be no standardized boards but instead the perimeter of the playing surface will be brick walls. In such cases, the corners of the hall are rounded off with added curved boards.

Inline sledge hockeyEdit

Template:Main Based on Ice Sledge Hockey, Inline Sledge Hockey is played to the same rules as Inline Puck Hockey (essentially ice hockey played off ice using inline skates) and has been made possible by the design and manufacture of inline sledges by RGK, Europe’s premier sports wheelchair maker.

There is no classification points system dictating who can be involved in play within Inline Sledge Hockey unlike other team sports such as Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby. Inline Sledge Hockey is being developed to allow everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not, to complete up to World Championship level based solely on talent and ability. This makes Inline Sledge Hockey truly inclusive.

The first game of Inline Sledge Hockey was played at Bisley, England on the 19th December 2009 between the Hull Stingrays and the Grimsby Redwings. Matt Lloyd (Paralympian) is credited with inventing Inline Sledge Hockey and Great Britain is seen as the international leader in the games development.

Street hockeyEdit

Template:Main Street hockey is a form of inline hockey played as pick-up hockey on streets or parking lots. Street hockey tends to have very relaxed rules, as any pickup street game or sport would have.

Sanctioning bodies Edit

There are two lines of sanctioning bodies for inline hockey: those that are related to the roller sports community and those related to the ice hockey community. Worldwide inline hockey is governed by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which organizes IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships, and International Roller Sports Federation which organizes FIRS Inline Hockey World Championships.

In the United States, inline hockey is actively organized by the Amateur Athletic Union, which is part of USA Roller Sports [1], and USA Hockey Inline [2]. The Roller sports groups are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee to oversee roller sports. See the related links below for national bodies and further information.

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Czech Republic
Hong Kong/China


New Zealand
Russian Federation
The Netherlands
United Kingdom
United States


See alsoEdit

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  1. British Paralympic Association (2009). Inline Sledge Hockey Launch Exceeds Expectations. Retrieved December 24, 2009

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