Playing Unicycle Hockey is an excellent way to improve basic unicycling skills. It helps with speed and manoeuvrability and leads to more instinctive control of the unicycle. The game is based on Ice Hockey but with a lot less contact.
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Unicycles should have 20" or 24" wheels, the choice is up to the individual. A 20" is better for maneuverability but can lose out in a straight-line speed to a 24" over a longer distance. The pedals must not have metal parts that touch the floor when the unicycle is lying on its side. This protects the floor and players ankles/shins.
Any stick legal for ice hockey can be used except a goalie stick. There is a wide selection of sticks available but it is normally best to use one with a fibre glass/wood laminate head. These stand up best to being run over by other people's unicycles. You should fit a rubber stopper (bung) to the top end of the stick to prevent injuries in case anyone falls on it. The wooden end of the shaft is not that sharp but a rubber stopper is definitely preferable and also helps you to keep hold of the stick when swapping hands.
An old tennis ball that has lost most of its bounce can be used.
Gloves, usually fingerless bike ones, help to grip the stick.
Where to play
Any space with four smooth walls. Indoor or outdoor Tennis or Basketball courts and schoolyards are generally good.
Six foot wide by 4 foot high. The backs of the goals are inset from the back wall of the court by about 6 feet so that the players can ride round behind them.
Safety: There are a number of rules that must be enforced for the safety of all players.
1. The bottom of the stick must not be lifted above hip height.
2. One hand must always be placed at the top end of the stick. You can swap which hand is at the top and play either one or two handed but the stick should not be handled with the top end uncovered.
3. The stick must not be released or thrown intentionally.
Other main rules:
As with any game there are lots of rules but here are some of the main rules that should allow you to start:
1. There are five players per team. There are no specific rules relating to goalkeepers. I.e. the goalie is treated the same as any other player.
2. The ball can only be played when a player is riding the unicycle. I.e. not touching the ground.
3. Putting your stick under or through someone else's wheel is a foul.
4. A goal can only be scored from within your opponents half.
5. You can play the ball with your hand but you cannot score a goal like that.
6. Each half starts with the referee throwing the ball onto the centre spot between one player of each team.
7. After a goal the non-scoring team restarts by playing the ball over the half way line.
The UK have an active hockey league. Keep an eye on our calendar for details of the upcoming events.