- Not to be confused with Rink hockey, which is another name for Roller hockey on quad skates.
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Rink bandy and rinkball are two very similar team sports, both developed from bandy but played on a significantly smaller ice rink. While a bandy rink is about the same size as a football pitch, rink bandy and rinkball are played on ice hockey rinks.
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; as bandy fields are larger, they were still only made outdoors in the wintertime when artificial freezing was not necessary. Gradually rinkball developed as a sport of its own after being introduced to Finland later that decade.
Both games use a bandy ball, but in rinkball it is blue instead of cerise. Rink bandy uses bandy sticks and rinkball uses ice hockey sticks. The rink bandy goalkeeper has no stick, whereas the rinkball counterpart has. Similar to hockey, a game lasts 60 minutes, but 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. Normally it's six a side. In the USA Rink Bandy League, five players are used because of the smaller ice hockey rinks there.
As artficially frozen and indoor bandy arenas has become more prevalent, the interest for rink bandy has dwindled in the main bandy countries (Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway). In many countries where bandy is still new and the infrastructure for large ices is not in place, rink bandy is the main form of bandy.
Rink bandy is governed by the 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 bandy to the programme of the Winter Olympics, rink bandy is an important way for the 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 but still participate in the Bandy World Championship.
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, in 1998.
The Rinkball League in Finland published a magazine called Liiga Extra, which offers international coverage of tournaments, equipment, and tips.
- Official rink bandy rules
- Video of the 2nd half between Lokomotiv from Orenburg and TsSK VVS from Samara in Russian Rink Bandy Cup
- "Information about the second international rink bandy tournament". Federation of International Bandy. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Rinkball history
- Finnish Rinkball and Ringette Federation