5 Differences Between Ice Hockey and Street Hockey (Beyond the Ice)
Street hockey is an incredibly inclusive sport and opens the doors to many players, including female athletes.
For some families, it’s the perfect introduction to the game—a chance to develop fundamental skills without the full commitment (and higher price tag) of joining an ice hockey program. On the other hand, many seasoned players use street hockey as an opportunity to work on their technical ability in the offseason.
To give you a better idea of what street hockey is all about, we’ve outlined the five biggest differences between street hockey and ice hockey—besides the ice, of course.
Street hockey is played with a ball, not a puck
Street hockey is played on foot with a ball (instead of a puck). But like ice hockey, it’s a fast-paced, competitive game with the same objective: to get the ball in the opposing team’s net.
Less equipment is required in street hockey
Because players are on foot, they don’t have as much equipment as ice hockey. NHL STREET leagues, for example, provide every player with a hockey stick and uniform as a part of their registration—and that’s all they need. That being said, some players choose to wear optional equipment, such as helmets, gloves, shin-pads, glasses, mouthguards, and sweatbands, but they’re not required.
Game structure and positions
NHL STREET teams play four on four, with goalies, so you won’t find a center in street hockey. Instead, most teams play with two forwards and two defenders. Additionally, street hockey leagues consist of two 15-minute halves, unlike three periods in ice hockey.
Since street hockey rules slightly differ from ice hockey, you’ll find that game strategy changes, too. For example, in ice hockey, one way to penetrate the zone is to sacrifice possession. While NHL STREET leagues enforce offsides, there isn’t any icing. This means that one of the best street hockey strategies is to never sacrifice possession.
It’s true that several technical skills carry over from street hockey to ice hockey. Shooting, stickhandling, and stick checking are basically identical. But, without the ice, hockey stopping isn’t a big factor. So sharp turns and halting stops are skills saved for the ice.
When it comes down to it, both sports have a lot to offer. They’re fun, engaging, and competitive. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to hockey or a seasoned expert. You can take your game to the next level—on the floor or ice.
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