Argentine player during the 2007 Rink Hockey World Championship.
|Nicknames||Roller Hockey, Rink Hockey, Hardball Hockey, quad|
|First played||End-19th century Britain|
|Team members||5 per side, a goal-keeper and four floor players|
|Mixed gender||Yes, separate competitions|
|Type||Team sport, ball sport|
|Olympic||Demonstration sport at 1992 Summer Olympics.|
Two five-man teams (four skaters and one goalkeeper) try to drive the ball with their sticks into the opponents' goal. The ball can only be put in motion by a stick, not the skate, otherwise a foul will be stated. The game has two 25-minute halves (for adults), plus up to two 5-minute golden goal periods to settle ties with the clock stopping when the ball becomes dead. Each team has a one-minute timeout in each half. Each team has a minimum of six players (a backup goalie is required) and a maximum of ten.
Roller Hockey was a demonstration rollersport in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. There have been 42 editions of the Roller Hockey World Cup, with Latin countries dominating the sport since the 1940s: Spain (16 World titles), Portugal (15 World titles), Argentina (5 World titles) and Italy (4 World titles). Other countries, such as France, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Andorra and England are regular international competitors, but rarely overcome the traditional powers.
Roller Hockey is a very fast sport, which may create a problem for TV transmissions, and new rinks are built using blue or white pavement to make the ball more visible on TV.
The most important clubs in Europe (and, arguably, the world) are SL Benfica and FC Porto from Portugal and FC Barcelona and Liceo La Coruña from Spain. In terms of trophies won FC Barcelona is the most successful team having won 21 European Cups.
SL Benfica is the oldest roller hockey club in the world, having played its first game in 1917.
Roller Hockey (Quad) was referred to as Hardball Hockey in the United States until November 2008 when the USOC adopted the sport's more common name, Rink Hockey. Other names for the sport include Hardball Roller Hockey, Ball Hockey, International Style Ball hockey, International hockey, Quad Hockey, Hockey, English Roller Hockey, Hockey Sobre Patines, Hockey pista, Hóquei em patins, Hockey Skids, Traditional Hockey, Cane Hockey, Rollhockey, Rolhockey, Hokej na koturaljkama, Rulleskøjtehockey and Rulluisuhoki.
The rink has usually a polished wooden surface, but any flat, non-abrasive and non-slippery material such as treated cement is acceptable. Likewise, it is allowed for rink owners to put advertisements in the playing area, as long as they don't interfere with ball or skate motion, which includes both physically (must be at exactly the same level as the remaining area) and visually (dark colours or any other pattern which can mask the ball).
It can have one out of three standard sizes (a minimum of 34x17 meters, an average of 40x20 and a maximum of 44x22) or any size between the minimum and maximum values that has a 2:1 size ratio with a 10% margin of error.
The rink has rounded corners (1 m radius) and is surrounded by a 1 m wall. The wall also has a wooden base 2 cm wide and at least 20 cm high. Behind the goals there is a 4 m high net, even if there are no stands (to avoid the ball bouncing back from a wall and hitting a player). If the ball hits the net, it's considered to be out of bounds.
The markings are simple. The halfway line divides the rink into halves, and 22 m from the end wall an "anti-play" line is painted. The area is a 9 X 5.40 m rectangle, placed from 2.7 to 3.3 m ahead of the end table. It has a protection area for goalkeepers, a half-circle with 1.5 m radius. All markings are 8 cm in width. The goal (painted in fluorescent orange) is 105 cm high by 170 cm wide. Inside the goal there is a thick net and a bar close to ground to trap the ball inside (before, two extra referees stayed behind the goal to judge goal decisions), and 92 cm deep. While not attached to the ground, it is extremely heavy to prevent movement.
The first recorded Hardball Roller Hockey game was played in 1878 at the Denmark Rink in London, England. It was first known as "roller polo" due to the introduction of Polo in 1876, skaters took polo to the rinks. The sport was introduced into the United States in 1882 with the formation of the National Roller Polo League in Dayton, Ohio, with teams in seven cities. Roller Polo League In 1884 the Massachusetts Roller Polo league was operating with 14 teams Organized roller skating sports developed as the popularity of roller skates increased in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roller hockey teams were playing throughout Europe as early as 1901. Roller Hockey was played by the famous silent film stars, Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin, in the early 1900s. The first World Championships in roller hockey were held in 1936 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Rink Hockey as it was called in Europe was not organized by the RSROA in the United States until 1959 and name roller hockey The sport debuted at the US National Championships in 1961. The Pan American Games introduced roller skating as a sport in 1979 and debuted roller hockey the same year. It was one of the Pan American Games sports in 1979, 1987, 1991 and 1995. It has since been discontinued. Roller hockey was present as an exhibition sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
There are several international competitions with national teams. There are three world championships, one for men, the Roller Hockey World Cup, one for women, the Women's Roller Hockey World Cup and the Roller Hockey World Cup U-20.