Inline Hockey - Chief Differences From Ice Hockey

Chief Differences From Ice Hockey

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 (sometimes known as sport-court flooring), 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; a few leagues call offsides only on the center line, while most 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.

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