Foot hockey

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Foot hockey (also known as Hocker) is a sport related to hockey in which the only equipment is a ball, most commonly a tennis ball, that is kicked about the playing surface by the players in an attempt to score a goal on the opposing goaltender. It has been described as a "combination of hockey, soccer and handball"[1] and "a form of soccer with a tennis ball".[2] Foot hockey is played indoors or outdoors; footwear is optional indoors, but must be worn by either all or none of the players. It may be unisex or coed.[3] Participation in foot hockey produced fewer catastrophic injuries than other winter sports in studies from 1986 to 1995.[4]

The game is mostly played in grade schools,[5][6][7][8] and is popular in Canada[9] and parts of the United States. The usual age of foot hockey players can range from 6 to 13 years old. Because it has few requirements regarding equipment and can be played on most hard surfaces, it is more accessible than ice hockey.[10] The game is listed amongst those to keep children interested in playground activities in the 1915 issue of The Playground published by the Playground Association of America.[11] In his book Brian Mcfarlane's NHL Hockey 1984, Brian McFarlane mentions how brothers Joe and Brian Mullen played the game as kids in arena stairwells while waiting for ice time at the rink.[12] Anson Carter's introduction to ice hockey was a game of foot hockey played in his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario when he was a child.[13] Neal Broten played the game in his family's kitchen with his brothers.[14]

A variant of the game, called "Sockey", is commonly played among elementary school children in Southwestern Quebec. Unlike the Ontario version, Sockey is most commonly played on outdoor hockey rinks in Fall and Spring using a soccer ball, designating specific board panels as "nets" and full body contact is permitted. Another variant of the game still called Foot Hockey, is played by children ranging from age 6 to 13. The version is played Southern and Eastern Ontario. The nets are either coats or the patterns among the walls, in this version players are allowed to move the ball with their feet and hands (by throwing it to each other) but must be kicked with their foot. Semi-Body contact is commonly allowed and the goalies commonly use baseball caps as gloves. [15] In the Indian state of Manipur, the game is called Khong-Kangjei.[16]


There is one net at each end with one goaltender. The common goaltending equipment are jackets that are wore on backwards and untied so the ball does not hurt as it normally would, and in addition it is advantage as it covers up more of the net. After their goalie has possession of the ball he or she, can throw the ball, or kick down the court to one of their players. This sport is often played on asphalt or grass .


As in ice hockey, the goaltender is an individual who guards the net, in this case a makeshift area whose width is demarcated with available markers on the ground, such as the player's coats or snow piles.[17] The net's dimensions vary but are generally 4 to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide and approximately 2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) high. The goaltender may use a jacket or hat in order to stop the ball.[18] A variation played outdoors is boot hockey, played in the winter when most players are likely to be wearing boots,[19] and is a form of shinny;[20] the term boot hockey also refers to a variant of street hockey.

The rules are a mixture of those for ice hockey or floor hockey[21] and soccer. The primary equipment is a ball, usually a tennis ball,[22][23] though any suitable object may be used;[24] sticks are not used.[25] Each player may kick the ball, either in an attempt to score a goal by sending the ball past the goaltender into the net, by passing the ball to a teammate, or by advancing the ball into the opponents territory and chasing it. Some variants will forgo a goaltender.[26]

Players are allowed to use their hands to catch the ball, in the event that it is in the air, but are not allowed to pick it up off the ground. If a player does catch a ball, he or she is able to throw or place it on the ground, but only to themselves. In other words, the ball cannot be hand passed to another player, or thrown into the net.

In organised events, helmets may be required,[27] and is recommended by some.[28] The game is considered to be a safe sport.[29]

One of the important rules is interference. If the goalie is kicked or pushed it is an interference and the team which was interfered is granted the ball and is no goal if it enters the net. There are also interferences during out of net play. The common playground interference is when people that aren't playing run into the way of the ball. The consequences differ for this sort of affair from a penalty shot to the interfered teams position. Arguing can be a big matter too. The majority of goaltenders tend to argue about disallowing goals, if it is interference, or them just claiming the ball never hit the net. In this case some will argue so much that the players will use an alternate method and give them a penalty shot. During a penalty shot players can call rebounds or no rebounds. Without rebounds it is an advantage for the defending team. They may also call slides or no slides. A slide is when the goalie charges towards the player taking the penalty shot and blocking the ball with their body.

Training use by sports professionals[edit]

For Christmas 2001, Danièle Sauvageau, head coach of the Canada women's national ice hockey team from 2000 to 2002, and video editor Ryan Jankowski prepared a video named Just Smile given as part of a Christmas package to each of the players. Among other events, it documented a game of foot hockey between the players, which was described by Sally Manning in her book A golden tear: Danièle Sauvageau's journey to Olympic gold as a favourite warm-up for the team.[30]

Jim Kelly, a quarterback in the National Football League in the 1980s and 1990s, played foot hockey with neighbourhood children as a child.[31] US politician Tim Pawlenty played a variant of boot hockey as a child.[32]


  • The Playground: The World at Play. 9. New York City: Playground Association of America. April 1915. LCCN 99104272. OCLC 1762485. OL 7168031M.
  • Adair, Alex (26 June 2003). "Foot hockey?!?". Toronto Star.
  • Blake, Jason (2010). Canadian hockey literature: a thematic study. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9713-2.
  • Byl, John (2002). Intramural recreation: a step-by-step guide to creating an effective program. Human Kinetics. ISBN 978-0-7360-3454-8.
  • Coffey, Wayne R. (2005). The boys of winter: the untold story of a coach, a dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4000-4765-9.
  • Harris, Cecil (2005). Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey. Insomniac Press. ISBN 978-1-894663-80-9.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1984). Brian Mcfarlane's NHL Hockey 1984. McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-5431-0.
  • Manning, Sally (2002). A golden tear: Danièle Sauvageau's journey to Olympic gold. General Store Publishing House. ISBN 978-1-894263-69-6.
  • Pawlenty, Tim (2011). Courage to Stand: An American Story. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4143-4572-7.
  • Roth, Leo F. (1994). Jim Kelly, star quarterback. Enslow. ISBN 978-0-89490-446-2.
  • Tator, Charles H. (2008). Catastrophic injuries in sports and recreation: causes and prevention : a Canadian study. University of Toronto Press. p. 761. ISBN 978-0-8020-8967-0.
  • Thorkelson, Berit (2006). You Know You're in Minnesota When...: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the North Star ThorkelsonState. Globe Pequot. ISBN 978-0-7627-3895-3.
  • "Boot Hockey rules". Timberland Boot Hockey. U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Retrieved 2012-03-16.


  1. ^ Adair: 2003, page P13. Foot hockey is sort of a combination of hockey, soccer and handball. Its end-to-end action just like in hockey.
  2. ^ Harris: 2005, pg 97. ...more like a form of soccer with a tennis ball, on streets and in parks.
  3. ^ Pawlenty: , page 20. A few different rules applied, but the full-contact nature of the sport was fully intact. Even without pads. Even when your sisters were playing. It was a tough game, and you got to know it fast because everyone got in on the action.
  4. ^ Tator: 2008, page 363. Sports such as snowboarding and ice hockey produced a large number of injuries, whereas other winter sports, such as ringette, broomball, boot hockey, and curling, produced fewer injuries.
  5. ^ Bryan, Tanis H.; Wong, Bernice Y. L.; Donahue, Mavis (2002). The social dimensions of learning disabilities: essays in honor of Tanis Bryan. Psychology Press. p. 196. ISBN 0-8058-3918-6.
  6. ^ Kerz, Anna (2009). The Mealworm Diaries. Orca. p. 19. ISBN 1-55143-982-4.
  7. ^ Walters, Eric (1999). Three on Three. Orca. p. 19. ISBN 1-55143-170-X.
  8. ^ Walters, Eric (2001). Full Court Press. Orca. p. 5. ISBN 1-55143-169-6.
  9. ^ Squizzato, Daniel. "Reserve Squad Classic: Canadian officials rebrand soccer as "foot hockey"". Canadian Soccer News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Blake: 2010, page 56. The Canadian identification with shinny is more comprehensive than with organized hockey because games like 'street hockey' or 'boot hockey' are open to all and do not cut off those who cannot afford team registration.
  11. ^ Playground Association of America: 1915, pages 340—341. Other games to be played are: Volley ball, caddy, day and night, dodge ball, hang baseball, captain ball, long baseball, goal throwing, baseball, throw for distance, basket ball, battle ball, scrimmage, duck on rock, circle wrestling, tender green, three deep, marbles (ring), prisoners' base, hustle ball, foot and a half, mounted combat, foot hockey, fly ball catching. Athletic events can also be conducted by following the group or team idea.
  12. ^ McFarlane: 1984. Often the boys would play "foot hockey" in the arena stairwell, using crushed paper cups as pucks.
  13. ^ Harris: 2005, page 193. Carter, the New York Rangers forward, grew up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough where "foot hockey" was his introduction to the sport.
  14. ^ Coffey: 2005, page 146. Hockey was a way of life for Neal Broten almost from the start. Games would break out on the kitchen floor, three brothers battling around a rolled-up pair of socks. Out front on the street they'd play boot hockey...
  15. ^[dead link]
  16. ^ Sanajaoba, Naorem (2003). Manipur, past and present. Mittal. p. 198. ISBN 81-7099-853-0.
  17. ^ Coffey: 2005, page 146. Out front on the street they'd play boot hockey, using two snow chunks for goalposts and walls of plowed snow as sideboards, the same as kids would on the Range and all over northern Minnesota.
  18. ^ Adair: 2003, page P13. You have to kick the tennis ball past the goaltender, who has a jacket or a hat to try to stop the ball.
  19. ^ Thorkelson: 2006. This is also the time when street hockey morphs into boot hockey—street hockey in boots. Play still happens in alleys and driveways, but frozen ponds, lakes, and rinks are better options.
  20. ^ Blake: 2010, page 56. Everyone who ever played hockey has memories of shinny called pond hockey, street hockey, or boot hockey, depending on what part of the country you grew up in.
  21. ^ Byl:2002 , page 88.
  22. ^ Byl: 2002, pages 86—87. Nontraditional events are also a great opportunity equalizer. Some schools have had success with activities such as boot hockey (floor hockey without the sticks, and using a tennis ball that is advanced toward the goal by players kicking it), ...
  23. ^ "Hockey History and Rules". Scommesse Sportive Mania. Archived from the original on 2012-06-10. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  24. ^ Blake: 2010, page 57. In fact, anything that is handy can substitute for a puck. Tennis balls are highly recommended, but everything from lumps of coal to small rocks to temperature-sensitive 'road apples' will do.
  25. ^ Byl:2002 , page 87.
  26. ^ U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, rule 1
  27. ^ U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, rule 7
  28. ^ Tator: 2008, page 366. Always wear a helmet, faceguard, and the appropriate padding and footwear in ringette, broom ball, and boot hockey.
  29. ^ Tator: 2008, page 365. When these risks are avoided, broomball, curling, boot hockey, and ringette are considered to be safe, low-risk activities.
  30. ^ Manning: 2002. After Newfoundland, the players were given a week-long hiatus from hockey to return home for the Christmas break. Danièle and Ryan Jankowski, the video expert, had put together a Christmas package for each to open under the tree. It was a video entitled Just Smile. The footage documented good times the team had shared together over the 2001 season: the obstacle course at Val Cartier; an aerobic session in the gym; a Finnish sauna experience; a game of foot hockey, a favourite warm-up; gift-giving at the end-of-the-year Christmas party.
  31. ^ Roth:1994, page 19. In the winter boys played foot hockey on the frozen river. In the summer they would dive into the Allegheny River off a giant steel bridge near town.
  32. ^ Pawlenty: , page 20. For years my dad set up a little ice rink in the backyard so the neighbourhood kids could come over for games of hockey. sometimes the game was boot hockey, sort of like ice hockey but without the skates, usually played with a tennis ball instead of a puck.

Further reading[edit]