Despite the fact that ice hockey and roller hockey both have the word hockey in common, there are extreme differences between the two sports. There are the obvious differences like one being played on ice and the other on a plastic surface, but many of the differences are only noticed by people that have played both sports. As everyone knows, ice hockey is played on ice, which makes it an extremely high paced game. Unlike ice hockey, Roller hockey is played on a plastic floor that consists of many six-inch by six-inch tiles. The plastic floor makes roller hockey a much slower paced game than ice hockey. The reason that roller hockey is so much slower than ice hockey is because there is more friction.
The friction is produced in the bearings of the wheels as well as between the floor and the wheels. Turning, stopping, and making lateral movements are extremely easy to do on ice, but roller hockey is completely different. In roller hockey there is no such thing as making a tight turn or stopping on a dime, because the wheels just slide out from underneath the player. The stopping technique for roller hockey is basically the same as ice hockey, but the player slides a little before coming to a complete halt.
If a player happens to fall in ice hockey he or she just slides along the ice and most of the time it doesn't hurt, but in roller hockey if a player falls on the plastic floor, it is going to hurt. When players in roller hockey fall, they do not slide, it is more of a 'bounce and roll' type of fall, imposing a greater risk of suffering an injury. Another huge difference between ice hockey and roller hockey is the rules. An ice hockey game consists of five players and a goalie per team on the ice. Roller hockey however, only has four players and a goalie. In ice hockey there are blue lines, which are approximately one-third of the way up the rink from each end.
The blue lines are used to create zones on the ice surface. If an offensive player enters the other team's defensive zone before the puck, the play is whistled dead and it is called off sides. On the other hand in roller hockey, there are no such blue lines. Not having blue lines makes the game much more wide-open, which allows players to hang at the other team's net, unlike ice hockey.
Another rule of ice hockey is icing, this is when a player shoots the puck from one end of the ice to the other end and no one touches it. In roller hockey there is no rule for icing; instead players are allowed to dump the puck from one end of the floor to the other. Both sports do enforce the same penalties though. For example, both ice and roller hockey referees will call penalties for tripping, slashing, roughing, etc.
Hockey does not only consist of players shooting the puck up and down the ice. There is more to hockey than that. The most important aspect of the game is the player's mentality. Ice hockey and roller hockey player's mentalities differ slightly.
In ice hockey, players are told to stay in their position. For example, a right-winger is supposed to stay along the right boards and never cross onto the other half of the ice. In roller hockey, there are only two forwards and it makes it difficult to have set positions. Many of times in roller hockey one forward will frequently sneak in behind the other team's defense men and wait there for a pass. In ice hockey occasionally a player will dump the puck from one end to the other, but in roller hockey it happens all the time.
The ice hockey players will pass between one another while breaking into the other team's defensive zone. Unlike the ice hockey players, roller hockey players will shoot the puck down the other team's end and chase it. Ice hockey and roller hockey are two similar sports, yet very different. There are differences in surroundings, rules, and mentalities. The two sports have their differences, but there is much in common between them.
Most of the differences are only noticed by people that have played both sports. There is one thing in common between both sports that is noticed by everyone. The one thing that is noticed by everyone is fun, whether playing in a back yard or a college rink, anyone can experience it. Making hockey a game that anyone can enjoy playing.