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Rink bandy and rinkball are two very similar team sports. Rink bandy originated in Sweden in the 1960s. As indoor ice hockey arenas started coming, it was a way for bandy players to practice on ice a longer time of the year. Gradually rinkball developed as a sport of its own after being introduced to Finland later that decade. Both games use a bandy ball. Rink bandy uses bandy sticks and rinkball ice hockey sticks. The 2 games are played on an ice hockey rink. Similar to both hockey and bandy, one game lasts 60 minutes, and is composed of either two 30 minute halves or three 20 minute periods. They use similar rules to normal bandy, but simplifies them to increase the pace of the game. Checking is prohibited, making the sport relatively safer than its relatives. Because of the smaller playing area, fewer players are used.
Rink bandy is a part of Federation of International Bandy. There used to be a European Championship. Today there is no international rink bandy championship. With more and more indoor bandy arenas coming in Sweden, rink bandy subsequently becomes less interesting among Swedish bandy clubs. In Russia there are still several rink bandy tournaments. In its quest for entering the programme of the Winter Olympics, rink bandy is an important way for Federation of International Bandy to get more member countries, thus also spreading bandy since some members without a large ice only play rink bandy at home and still participate in the B and C groups of Bandy World Championships. Rink bandy was in the programme of the 2012 European Company Sports Games.
In the 1970s rinkball grew from being played in local tournaments by villagers around the country to national-level competitions involving 100 teams or more. The sport first gained international attention in 1984 when teams from Finland and Sweden hosted one another. The International Rinkball Association was formed soon after, and now includes Russia, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Switzerland, Hungary and Finland. The Finnish Rinkball Federation has 1000 teams, including women, men and children. Play is divided into eight male divisions, two female divisions, and children's play is divided by age. The first World Championship Games for men was held in Omsk, Russia.
Rinkball continues to grow, primarily in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia, and the United States. The sport is gaining attention in Japan, and leaders within the game hope to someday introduce it to the Olympic Games. The Rinkball League in Finland published a magazine called Liiga Extra, which offers international coverage of tournaments, equipment, and tips.
- Official rink bandy rules
- Finnish Rinkball Federation
- Rinkball history
- Video of the 2nd half between Lokomotiv from Orenburg and TsSK VVS from Samara in Russian Rink Bandy Cup