There are many sporting games on the complete list of sports which are variations of the popular ice hockey or field hockey sports. If you were invited to a hockey game in a commonwealth country, you will probably go to a field hockey game, but in many other countries what they would call hockey is actually an ice hockey game. What the 'hockey' sports have in common is that an object is hit with a curved stick into a goal. The type of ball and the surface played on are just some of the differences in these games. Here I have grouped them in a way to make a little sense of the terminology and to understand how each of the hockey sports differ.
Hockey played on ice
The Winter Olympics sport of Ice Hockey is a popular sport played around the world. The game is played by two teams with six players each, including a goaltender. It is usually played indoors on an ice covered hockey rink. The main aim of the game is to score goals by shooting a rubber disc, called a puck, into the opposing team’s goal.
The are many sports closely related to ice hockey. One such sport, Bandy, is considered a precursor to ice hockey. Bandy is an outdoor team sport played on ice using sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal. It also has a lot of similarities to Association football - it is played on a field about the same size as a football pitch, 11 players on each team, the game comprises two halves of 45 minutes each, and the offside rule is also employed. The sticks used are more like those used in field hockey compared to the ice hockey sticks. The similar sport of Rink Bandy was created for bandy players to practice their game for a longer time on an indoor ice rink. Rinkball is just like rink bandy, though it is played with ice hockey sticks instead of bandy sticks.
Pond Hockey is a version of ice hockey played outdoors on a natural frozen body of water, and as such does not have any side barriers. Playing fields are much smaller, with only four players per team. There is also no goalkeeper, and the emphasis is on skating and puck handling ability rather than shooting and checking. A new version of ice hockey, also with a small number of players is 3x3 Ice Hockey, played on a half rink with just three players on each team.
Another interesting variation of ice hockey is Ringette. It is played very similarly to ice hockey, though a straight stick is used instead of one with a curved end, and a blue rubber ring replaces the puck. Ringette is primarily a female sport, and no body contact is allowed.
There are versions of ice hockey for the disabled, such as Power Hockey played on an electric wheelchair, and Sledge Hockey where the players with physical disabilities of the lower body sit on double-blade sledges.
Just because they are playing on ice does not mean they need to wear skates. The sport of Broomball is a game like ice hockey though played with a broom and no skates, and also the version played only by expats in Russia, Moscow Broomball. Players of the non-contact Spongee play on an ice rink in rubber boots with a sponge puck instead of a hard puck like in ice hockey.
Hockey on Wheels
Roller Hockey is the general name for hockey played on roller skates or inline skates. Roller hockey sports include Rink Hockey, which is hockey played on quad skates, and Inline Hockey, where inline skates are worn. Another hockey played on wheels is Unicycle Hockey, which is similar to roller hockey, though all competitors are riding a unicycle and using a tennis ball and ice-hockey sticks.
Hockey on Foot
One of the major hockey sports is Field Hockey, known as just hockey in countries where it is popular. Field hockey is played outdoors on grass or artificial turf, where players hit a hard round ball through goals using sticks with curved ends. There is an indoor version, Indoor Field Hockey derived from field hockey and played with side boards to keep the ball in play. The ball cannot be lifted except for shooting from within the circle. A new shorter and faster variant of field hockey is Hockey Fives, played with fewer players on a smaller field.
Played indoor on a wooden surface like indoor field hockey, though derived from ice hockey, is the range of sports generally called Floor Hockey. Two of the many versions of floor hockey are Floorball and Ball Hockey.
Street Hockey is like floor hockey, though it is played on an asphalt or cement surface instead of ice, with players usually just wearing shoes (though roller hockey is a type of street hockey).
A unique hockey type sport that has a lot of similarities to field hockey is Beikou Tarkbei (also called Daur Hockey), a team sport played by the Daur ethnic group in Inner Mongolia. Another unique form of hockey is Rossall Hockey, that is played only at Rossall School in England.
Other Hockey Sports
- Air Hockey — played on an air-hockey table, participants try to hit a puck elevated on a cushion of air into the opponent's goal.
- Showdown — a game for blind and visually impaired people similar to air hockey.
- Other hockey sports or just name variations include: Cosom Hockey, Gym Ringette, Dek Hockey.
- Complete List of Sports
- Field Hockey at the Summer Olympics
- Ice Hockey at the Winter Olympics
- List of Team Sports