written by Jacob Crayne for the Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave
The end of May calls for the end of a few different things. Most NHL teams are done playing, youth hockey seasons are ending, and most beer league rosters are beginning to empty due to summer travel. With the end of May just a few days away, a new era of hockey is about to begin.
It is soon to be the summer of Roller Hockey.
Inline hockey is a 4-on-4, no checking game played on sport court with all of the rules of ice hockey. The caveat is NO ICING and NO OFFSIDES. This completely changes the flow of the game, as possession becomes the main focal point of play for every team.
Gone are the days of dump and chase hockey, as teams hold the puck for long periods of time attempting to outwit and outsmart their opponents through complex breakouts, give-and-go plays, and constant support and cycling of the puck.
The 4-on-4 play creates more space on the floor for players to get creative and take their time making their plays. Aggression is rewarded when used correctly, and hockey IQ takes over the game.
Why Should You Play?
Roller hockey is a phenomenal way to grow your skills with stickhandling and hockey IQ. With the amount of room each player is given, the game is broken down into lots of 1-on-1 situations where players have to use their skating, hands, and vision to continue to possess the puck. Many plays involve using all of the hockey skills that are learned during the ice season with even more finesse added on to it.
Here are just a few highlights from tournaments through the years:
What’s the Cost?
The cost of roller hockey is also a lot lower than most ice hockey seasons. Roller hockey is a tournament-based game where teams of 8-10 will compete over just a single weekend (usually Friday - Sunday). This leads to tournaments being somewhere within the $80-$140 range depending on how big the tournament is.
The gear cost is decreased as well as you do not need to purchase a chest protector or shelled pants to play roller. Just a girdle and roller hockey pants will suffice.
Most Inline-specific gear (skates, wheels, bearings, etc.) can be found in any online hockey retail store. There are also specific roller hockey companies you can purchase different types of gear through (Konixx, Rink Rat, and Labeda, just to name a few).
The Major Tournaments
Each summer, roller hockey tournaments are scattered across the United States. These tournaments are run by three main organizers:
NARCH, State Wars, and TORHS.
Each of these organizations runs big tournaments every year, with the top three tournaments being NARCH Finals, TORHS Hockey Nationals, and The State Wars.
Search any of these organizations and you will find tournaments close to your state.
Who Even Plays Roller?
If you aren’t completely sold on roller hockey, look no further than all of the pros that played, and still play to this day.
NHL stars such as Patrick Maroon, Bobby Ryan, Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Kyle Connor, Jason Zucker, and more have played in roller hockey tournaments to sharpen their skills over the years, and some still play to this day.
Even future NHL star Connor Bedard plays roller hockey right now in the North Shore Inline Hockey League!
Is There a Pro League?
Professional roller hockey is still tournament-based here in the United States. Most tournaments will have a pro division where teams will compete for a tournament title.
The biggest tournament for pros each year is The State Wars. Almost every pro team will play in a fully live-streamed tournament on YouTube every year. This is some of the best hockey to watch, and will really blow your mind with some of the things these players do.
If you are really into professional roller, there are big leagues in Spain, Italy, and France where most pros can compete in a league with a full regular season and playoff schedule.
These games are live-streamed on the website Rollerdad News.
Becoming a Roller Player
To play roller, all you need to do is sign up for a tournament with a team of your choosing. If you are struggling to make a full squad, most tournaments have a “Find a Team” page where you can look for teams to pick you up before a tournament.
Rollerdad News is also a great resource to find roller hockey rinks in your area which is where you will find most of your adult leagues when tournament season is dying down.
Every hockey player can be a roller player, and with the evergrowing team lists at local tournaments, getting in now is better than ever.
Go out and wheel this summer!