Ice Hockey vs Roller Hockey | Which Is Right For You?

Hockey is one of those physical sports that demands a strong physical presence and skill to master. Although there is a growing community of hockey fans all over the world, each person might have a different preference over this high-intensity sport than the other. The main reason for this discerning major difference comes with the concept of choosing between ice hockey vs roller hockey.

Regardless of your skill level in the sport, there will always be a phase where you might need to feel out which of these two variations of hockey will suit you best. Despite the glaring differences between the two sports in terms of playing field, you can also expect some changes in rules and regulations that can make or break the choice for each player.

Some players might prefer the feeling of gliding around at an ice hockey game as it makes the sport feel faster in movement, while others might want to play knowing that they have solid control over the ground that they move in using roller skates. There is no right or wrong answer on which of these fun sports is better or worse.

Similarities Between Both Ice Hockey and Roller Hockey

Two young kids learning to play ice hockey

Hockey is a team sport that mainly functions similarly to other competitive games. The goal when playing hockey is to ensure that your team scores more points than your opponents at the end of the regulation. The team with the most points will win the match. Although the playing field between the two might be different, you can ensure that you can understand the basic gist of the game regardless of your overall experience.

General Rules and Regulations

Roller players and ice hockey players function as a competitive team-based sport. You cannot expect to win a game all by your lonesome as strategy team cooperation and composition plays a big factor. As such, each team might adopt a different playing strategy to outmatch an offensive player or even an entire team’s defensive plays.

Fortunately, the game has some degree of similarity that can make transitioning from one sport to the next easier than ever. Both ice hockey and roller hockey uses sticks to move the ball, or hockey pucks, to the other team’s goal lines.

Roller hockey might have a different regulation where you are only allowed to count a score if it comes within the blue lines. However, ice hockey games will allow scoring from any point in the rink. Regardless, the puck must still be shot by a player using a stick to gain a goal.

Both Sport Involves Intense Physicality

Another similar point comes with both games’ nature for physicality. Both of these sports demand a strong sense of confrontation that can lead to some pushing and bumps. As such, both types of players will do well to build up a strong foundation of balance and strength to become successful in each sport.

Each Sport Has a Professionally Recognized League

If you are looking to become a professional hockey player then you have a chance for both to become internationally recognized. Although ice hockey is currently the more popular option between the two sports in terms of sheer fan size, you can still bet that there is a growing number of supporters developing for roller hockey.

However, ice hockey players can rejoice with the internationally known and recognized National Hockey League (NHL) as the main televised competitive league when it comes to the ice rink. Roller hockey rinks also have plenty to choose from with options such as the Professional Inline Hockey Association.

Key Differences Between Ice Hockey and Roller Hockey

Two men dressed to play roller hockey

Many players will come to find that the main difference between ice hockey and roller hockey comes with the terrain that they play in.

Most people might consider that playing inline roller hockey is easier than skating on ice because of the lack of ice and roller adjustment. Fortunately, both sporting communities have a strong following which makes it easy for people to find teams and players to have a thoroughly paced game.

However, there are still some aspects between the two sports that are vastly different from one another. Here are some of the biggest differences between roller hockey vs ice hockey.

Player and Team Size

One thing that both roller hockey players and ice hockey players will agree on would be the amount of physicality and intensity needed to become a great player. You need to learn how to work with your teammates to expertly manoeuvre around the other team’s defensive zone to land a goal.

The game itself will comprise several players active during a game at all times. However, one of the major differences between the two sports comes with the number of players allowable in a game. The official ruling of the National Hockey League (NHL) dictates that an ice hockey team should have 11 players actively playing in a match.

This team size will consist of 1 goalie, 4 midfield players, 3 forward players, and also 3 defenders all playing at once. Since ice hockey pucks slide across the rink more due to the lighter weight, more players will prevent the game to feel as though it is nothing more than a chasing game.

On the other hand, inline field or roller hockey only has 6 active players in a single game. These players consist of the goalie, 2 defensive players, and 3 forwards.

A person on in-line skates with a roller hockey stick

Equipment Used on Games

Another part of the many obvious differences between the two sports comes with the equipment needed to play the actual game. Although professional leagues require players to use some form of protective gear when playing, ice hockey players, particularly those that are in major tournaments, will force their players to wear shoulder pads and elbow pads during games to prevent injury.

The main reason why only ice hockey players need those protective equipment comes with the nature of playing on an ice surface. Since traction becomes harder when there is an intense lockup or plays during a game, there is always a chance that a player might slip on the ice and potentially injure themselves or their fellow players. The added protection ensures that those unfortunate injuries will lessen.

Rink Size

Ice hockey has a smaller overall size and dimensions as opposed to the field or an inline roller hockey rink. The smaller size for ice hockey players allows for easier traversing since the air pockets around the ice rink can make some terrains smoother or rougher over time. Thus, controlling and maintaining a rink is easier said than done when it comes to ice hockey. However, a roller hockey rink has the privilege of easier movement and maintenance which allows players to travel longer distances without much strain on their bodies.

Ice Hockey vs Roller Hockey – Final Thoughts

All in all, both ice hockey and roller hockey demands a strong combination of physicality and teamwork that pushes the boundaries of what the human body can achieve. Fortunately, both sports remain easily accessible as there is still a large number of fan support and teams of varying degrees of professionalism that allows for any player to find a community that they can be a part of.

Leave a Comment