How to Play the Perfect Game of Street or Ball Hockey

The International Street & Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) acts as a governing body and dictates the rules and regulations for how both street hockey and ball hockey are played worldwide. Additionally, the organization operates and arranges international competitions for all age groups, including juniors, masters, and seniors as well as for both men’s and women’s teams.

Founded in 1993, the ISBHF originated in Oshawa, Canada with an aim to unify all street and ball hockey players under the same rules. Having earned acknowledgment as the official governing body of the sports from the Ice Hockey Federation, the group now seeks to gain admission to the Olympic Games.

Photo by Mikel Parera on Unsplash

ISBHF represents 55 national street and ball hockey organizations in countries like Armenia, Canada, Kenya, and the United States. Members earn admission to the organization through a vote by existing members.

Each new association falls into one of five membership categories. These range from level four members, which are required to pay the full membership fee in exchange for four votes on the board, all the way down to associate members, a status that receives no votes and acts only as supportive organizations, similar to a sponsor.

Each member association participates in the approval of rules and regulations for the entire international street and ball hockey community during an annual conference. Member organizations then disseminate those agreed-upon standards through their national teams and competitions.

The ISBHF rules and regulations lay out a number of statutes that govern the game worldwide. A number of rules, regulations, and standards apply to both street and ball hockey, according to the organization. They dictate everything from basic gameplay to arena infrastructure.

Per the ISBHF, both sports of street hockey and ball hockey must be played on a surface known as a rink that measures no less than 56 meters long and 26 meters wide but no more than 61 meters long and 30 meters wide. The surface must be made up of either flooring or asphalt.

All sanctioned ISBHF events, including official tournaments and championships, are held in full-sized hockey arenas. Those venues generally measure around 61 meters long by 26 meters wide. In these cases, the ice must be removed so that the game can be played on the dry surface of the rink.

Additional requirements dictate infrastructure requirements for different types of championships and tournaments as well. For instance, in the case of AAA Championships, which include the World Championship for National Teams, the designated arena needs to be equipped with a cover. It must also have the capacity to host an audience of no less than 2,000.

The rule book also covers measurements for protective glass and boards, goal lines, placement of the rink’s centerline, location of players’ benches, and other aspects of the overall structure of the rink and playing surface.

Teams must adhere to regulations set forth in the ISBHF rule book as well. For instance, teams may consist of no more than twenty-two players and two goalkeepers at each game. Only five players and one goalkeeper participate in active play at any one time during gameplay. One captain and a maximum of two alternate captains represent each team at a game.

Players are required to follow several standards as well. According to the ISBHF, those participating in street or ball hockey must wear specific types of non-slip footwear during gameplay. Other equipment required for players during gameplay includes sticks of a specific size, helmets meeting international standards, gloves, face masks, and additional protective gear.

The ISBHF identifies additional gear needed by goalkeepers. According to the organization, goalkeepers must wear equipment primarily meant to protect their heads and bodies. However, the gear worn by goalkeepers cannot provide any potential advantage allowing them to better defend the goal. The goalkeepers have more regulations when it comes to footwear, sticks, and gloves.

When it comes to actually playing the game, the ISBHF lays out directives for which players may be present in the rink. Each team is allowed to have six active players on the playing surface. Those players should consist of a goalkeeper, right defense, left defense, right-wing, left-wing, and a center. Players may sub in or out using a set of signals as described in the ISBHF rule book.

The game stretches over three “time periods,” each lasting fifteen minutes. Five-minute intermissions will separate each of these three time periods. If overtime is needed, as in the case of a playoff game, teams will participate in an extra time period lasting ten minutes. If neither team scores during overtime, they must compete in penalty shots. The first team to make a shot will win.

Each period of play begins with a face-off, involving two players opposite one another, a regulation stick-width apart, as the referee drops the ball in between them. The players then compete for possession of the ball and transition into regular play. Players earn one point for each goal and the team with the most points at the end of play wins the game. Unless the game is a playoff, a tie may also be called when both teams earned the same number of points.

Life coach, Investor and Avid Traveler Amandeep Khun-Khun

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