Anyone who has ever participated in an elementary school gym class probably has some memory of playing floor hockey. This sport allowed both boys and girls the chance to play hockey without having to worry about learning how to skate. Today it’s reaching well beyond the confines of school curriculum and there are leagues for this fun and faced paced competitive activity in many cities.
For someone familiar with ice hockey it doesn’t differ much. Not everyone has the chance or the interest to learn how to skate. Many children live in warm climates where ice is a scarcity. For them the closest they get to hockey is watching an NHL game on television. With floor hockey, though they can go through the paces of a game without having to strap on a pair of skates.
When it’s played as part of physical education class the only equipment used is generally a stick and a ball or rubber puck. This is because there are understood and strictly enforced rules of no contact. However, if it’s a league of floor hockey those rules change and in light of that more safety equipment is required.
A helmet is really a must for any child interested in this sport. They may see it as overkill since they are only playing on a floor, but serious injuries can happen when one child is body checked by another. If the league insists on every floor hockey player wearing a helmet, it’s not even a question that a child will raise.
Knee and elbow pads are a great idea as well. Just as with something like rollerblading or traditional skating, kids can fall forward pretty easily when they lose their footing. This is true in sports including soccer and floor hockey as well. A good set of safety pads under the child’s clothing can really reduce the number of bumps and bruises they’ll sustain.
You can’t play without a stick. Some kids who are already playing the game on ice will be inclined to bring in that stick for playing floor hockey. There are actually sticks just made for playing the game in this setting. It’s a good idea to purchase a stick that is a good fit for the child now. Some parents think they can save a few dollars by buying a bit larger stick that their son or daughter will grow into. This isn’t a good idea as it can present a safety problem for both the child using the stick to play floor hockey with and the other players. If it’s too big for them to easily handle it, it’s not the right stick for them.
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by Ron Damon