While ice hockey is for some people, others find the sport too cold for them; enter the warmer world of roller hockey. While most of the details are the same, there are some huge differences between ice hockey and roller hockey. One of the biggest is the fact that there are only five players on the rink, instead of six as in ice hockey. Another major difference is that ice hockey involves 3 periods of 20 minutes long, while roller hockey has 4 periods that are 12 minutes long.
While some children migrate to roller hockey after playing ice hockey this is not necessary in order to be good and talented. There are many kids who excel are roller hockey who have never played ice hockey before. Other useful skills to improve success rates in roller hockey are hard work, dedication, determination, and the ability to experiment with new skills. Most of the benefits of roller hockey are the same as with ice hockey, with intensive cardiovascular workouts, strong muscle strength, great muscle toning, teaching teamwork, and wonderful advances in hand-eye and foot-eye coordination. However, most who have played ice hockey and migrated to roller hockey have said that roller hockey is much easier to learn.
Roller is almost as fast paced as ice hockey, so the necessary safety equipment is still necessary, however unlike the $500 range for beginning equipment for ice hockey the equipment for a beginner roller hockey player is only about $300. This alone can make roller hockey much more attractive to many parents, especially those who are leery about spending the initial funds for the equipment hoping their child will not lose interest.
The best ages to start your child are between 4 and 5 years of age, however some programs will start children as young as 3, however their only main goal is teaching safety as well as how to skate so that your child learns the basics and foundation skills first before anything else. Once your child is between 8-10 years old, they should be moving beyond the basic skills of playing and start learning the strategy and technical details of the game. While it is harder for a child to learn once the skill levels have progressed to this point, it is still possible to be a beginner learning roller hockey.
If you decide to sign your child up for roller hockey, you want to look for a hockey team where the coach is nationally certified, preferably through an organization such as the National Youth Sports Association. At this point roller hockey is still building in popularity; however, there are still 500 or so leagues across the country, with more growing constantly.
Safety is not as huge a concern for roller hockey as ice hockey; body checking is not allowed which is one of the biggest causes for injury in ice hockey. Otherwise, the other major injuries tend to be scrapes and a few bruises from areas where the equipment does not cover. Overall roller hockey is very safe and has no dangerous concerns to be heavily worried about.