It is believed that street hockey began when roads started getting paved in wealthier parts of North America around the turn of the 20th century. The term street hockey was thus started in Canada at some similar point. People would literally play the game out in the street.
As children and teenagers, almost all ice hockey players work on their skills and practice their games by playing street hockey, often alone in drive ways or out in the street in front of their houses. Throughout the history of organized hockey, many professional ice players participate in various promotional street hockey games and charity events, often appearing as part of the respective National Hockey League team’s youth street hockey programs. Since not every ice hockey player can be on the ice at all times, the vast majority play some form of street hockey either for pure enjoyment or to better their overall hockey skills, or both.
It was in the early 1970s, when Raymond W. Leclerc, founder of the Mylec Corporation and the creator of the No Bounce orange ball, along with several prominent players in the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada, established rules for the more organized forms of the game. These rules were quickly adopted by most leagues in the area and then eventually spread throughout the US and Canada by means of a printed rulebook which people could purchase.
After a few years of experimenting with all the dynamics, Mr. Leclerc built a model site in 1974 to play and advance the game in Leominster, Massachusetts. The site, Leominster DekHockey Center, has 3 outdoor rinks all with modular sport court surfaces and is informally known as the “Home of Dek Hockey”. The organized version of street hockey with teams competing in leagues caught on with a large amount of players in Toronto, Montreal, Ontario, New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Various leagues and tournaments soon were springing up throughout those regions. The game then spread South and West as the Northeast USA players relocated to different areas of the United States and Canadian players moved outside of the Ontario and Quebec provinces.
The sport has evolved into international play as ball hockey.
Ball Hockey is patterned after and closely related to ice hockey, except the game is played on foot on a non-ice surface, player equipment is different, and a ball is used instead of a hockey puck. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s net.
There are difference between dek hockey and ball hockey in terms of how the games are played, but these differences are strictly a matter of rules and regulations that are invoked during tournament play.
Dek Hockey rules stipulate the following:
- The center line is considered the offsides line.
- You are not allowed to raise your stick above the shoulder at any time except when in the act of shooting or moving around another player while running.
- You cannot close your hand around the ball.
- Official rink dimensions are a minimum of 160 feet in length by 80 feet in width.
Ball Hockey rules stipulate the following:
- Offside is determined by a “floating blue line”. The concept can be difficult to understand for non-hockey enthusiasts, but the simplest explanation is as follows: When the ball crosses the blue line, the attacking team is onside. They have the entire zone up to the center line with which to work the ball around and still be considered onside. Once the ball crosses the center red line the attacking team’s players must clear the defending team’s blue line and have the ball enter past the blue line to be considered onside again.
- You can raise your stick above the shoulder to call for a pass.
- You can close your hand around the ball provided that you bring the ball straight down to your feet and do not change the direction you are moving in.
- International rink dimensions are the same as international ice hockey rinks 197 ft × 98.4 ft.
- North American rink dimensions are the same as North American ice hockey rinks 200 ft × 85 ft.