How to Play NHL STREET Hockey
So you want to learn how to play street hockey? You’ve come to the right place!
Whether you’re a player, league operator, or coach, you’ll quickly learn that street hockey is a vastly more accessible version of the game, giving boys and girls of all ages a chance to play and have fun.
While traditional hockey is played 5 on 5 with a goalie, NHL STREET is designed to be flexible, so that leagues can format the game to suit their players and facilities. For example, the size of your rink or court helps determine your roster size, while game length depends on your players’ ages.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend a minimum of 3 players, plus a goalie, and a maximum of 5 players, plus a goalie. In either case, there are three main positions: goalie, forward, and defender.
When playing 3 on 3, we suggest setting up with two forwards and a defender; for 4 on 4, add a defender; and for 5 on 5, include three forwards.
Every street hockey game begins with an opening faceoff at center court and operates with a running clock. Players are on foot, trying to maintain possession of the ball and ultimately score on their opponent. But, of course, there are a few rules along the way that stop game play.
First are infractions, which result in a change of possession. The one you’ll see most often is when the ball goes out of play. The team that last touched the ball loses possession and the non-offending team gains possession at the point where the ball went out of play—without a faceoff.
Please note that when resuming play, the new ball-carrier can’t take a direct shot on the opposing net—this is called “in-bounding” and the goal will not count.
Other infractions you’ll see are offisides and hand passes, which also result in a change of possession. Penalties, on the other hand, are more serious and result in a live penalty shot. These include: high-sticking, cross-checking, slashing, tripping, holding, and more.
During the game, players sub on-the-fly at the discretion of their team’s coach. Players can also sub during any play stoppage that results in a faceoff. But to keep everyone safe, they should use designated doors to enter and exit the playing area—jumping over the boards is strictly prohibited in NHL STREET.
The objective of street hockey—like traditional hockey—is pretty straightforward: to score on your opponent. A ball is considered in the net and counts as a goal once it fully crosses over the goal line.
Lastly, in NHL STREET, there’s no overtime, so games may end in a tie.