Hockey, when played on a surface other than ice, can be known by a variety of names depending on the surface. Floor Hockey, Street Hockey, Ball Hockey, Dek Hockey and Road Hockey are all used somewhat interchangeably. Street hockey (also known as Road Hockey) is obviously played on an outdoor surface such as a road, pavement or driveway. If possible, find an outdoor basketball or tennis court to set up your game. Dek Hockey is usually played on a synthetic floor, usually outside. Floor hockey can be played on virtually any other flat surface such as a gym floor, sport surface (either indoor or outdoor) and sometimes interchangeably called Dek Hockey or Ball Hockey.

Regardless of the name, Floor Hockey is the generic term for all hockey that is not played on ice (ice hockey) or roller blades (roller hockey). In other words, the player must run, not skate, to participate. Floor Hockey as we will call it throughout this website is typically played with a ball not a puck.


When playing on the street, any number of players is enough for a game. Modify your rules accordingly. In organized leagues, typically you will play 5 on 5. This means that you have 3 forwards and 2 defensemen on the rink for each team. Goalies do not count in this equation but are of course on the rink.

4 on 4 Floor Hockey leagues: Perhaps because of the return of the overtime period in the NHL, 4 on 4 has been making a comeback in leagues throughout North America. Each team has either 2 forwards and 2 defensemen or 3 forwards and 1 defensemen on the rink. This type of league is more for the skilled player as 4 on 4 leaves more room and space on the rink for stickhandling because there is one less player to clog up the rink. As a point of reference, in the NHL, if two players received simultaneous penalties, each team would play with 4 players on the rink.

Along came the Quebec Nordiques, the predecessor of the Colorado Avalanche before the move to Denver, Colorado. Players such as Peter Statsny, Anton Statsny, Real Cloutier, Michel Goulet and Marc Tardiff were so skilled, that the Nordiques would intentionally try to draw the other team into simultaneous penalties so they could get a 4 on 4 situation. They could then put their highly skilled players on the rink and more likely than not, control the play and score a goal before the penalties expired. The Nordiques became so successful at this, that the NHL changed its rulebook. Simultaneous penalties would send the offending players off the ice for 2 minutes but the teams would continue to play with 5 players aside.

Then to rejuvenate the game, the NHL, years later, adopted a 4 on 4 format for the overtime session in the regular season. This has lead to more games being decided in the five minute overtime session and much more exciting play.

3 on 3 Floor Hockey Leagues: Of late, 3 on 3 hockey leagues have been popping up. This type of hockey is played in a much smaller rink. Each team has only three players on the rink at a time and the ability level for the goalie had better be good because you can expect a ton of shots. Due to the size of the rink and the number of players on it, the distance from one goalie to the other is not far so every time a player gets the ball, a shot is not a bad idea.


Ideally, an indoor rink, with dasher boards and glass is the optimal location to play a floor hockey game. Such places usually run organized leagues with schedules and referees. Failing that, a gymnasium or other indoor location can be used but the corners will usually not be rounded which eliminates many strategic plays made during a game.

If playing floor hockey outdoors, once again a rink with dasher boards and glass is the best choice. For just a pick up game, a basketball or tennis court will work very well (watch out for the poles if they can’t be removed). If you can’t get to a basketball or tennis court, your driveway or the street will do just fine. Playing in the street gets a bit annoying moving the nets for the cars, avoiding cars and chasing the ball (and not necessarily in that order) so try to find a less traveled street.

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