Hockey

Hey there-I’ve got a few questions that I hope some one might be able to offer an opinion on. We’ve just started to play unicycle hockey at the local juggling club evening and are getting to grips with everything it involves, this has led to a few questions:

  1. What actually is a suitable stick? - a variety of street hockey and ice hockey one and two piece sticks have been either purchased or produced from the bottom of garages but if we were to get good enough to play a proper match are there any stick rules - I’ve done a bit of googling but can’t really find anything too detailed?

  2. Balls… we’ve been using a plastic street hockey ball which seems to do the job but it comes quiet keen if it gets whacked at you… whats everyone else using?

If anyone has any hints for improving (lots of practise is already on the agenda) they would be most welcome.

Cheers

Roland

I play hockey at lunis which is the london unicycle hockey club. We use a tennis ball at the moment. Ideally you want a slightly flat tennis ball so it doesn’t bounce too much. We used to use a street hockey ball, but started using tennis balls because that’s what the european tournaments use.

For sticks, we use street hockey sticks, one or two piece. Two piece ones might cost a bit less in the long run because you only have to replace the head if you break it.

If you’re playing on a surface that wears down sticks quickly, you might want to wrap the head in hockey stick tape, this makes it last longer.

Joe

http://dionysos.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/rules.html

is where you will find the international unicycle hckey rules. These are the rules used at competition level. Its advisable to use these rules at practise level too as they are well thought out and you will get used to playing to them.BUt for local club nights feel free to vary the size and shape of the playing area and number in a team to suit yourself. Some clubs have local rules about high balls or stick blade construction too to avoid damage to the hall they play in.

Which country are you in Roland? You don’t say in your post.

Sarah

Joe and Sarah have more or less covered everything. Follow sarahs link - thats how I first got into hockey!

I would recommend that you use an ice hockey stick (not goal tenders). Sticks with plastic blades arnt as good, as the plastic bends, and you cannot support yourself when turning sharply etc (my opinion)

Joe,

Excellent - that sounds about how we were going about it and I don’t need to replace my two peice stick just yet - haven’t managed to permanently bend it so far.

The hall we currently play in is fairly small so I’m not too handicapped by riding a 20" however I guess as it gets bigger then the 24" machines will start to have an advantage - at the moment I value the manouverability more so I shall be sticking with the 20".

In answer to one of the questions, I live in the UK and have been playing hockey with the Derby juggling club (I’m looking forward to seeing some of the better players at the BJC to pick up a few tips) But during the week I work in Aylesbury so I might have to look and see if there are any options for some midweek practise down there - So thanks for the advice - if theres anything else that might help - then shout it out

Cheers

Roland

I expect you’ll see (and be able to play) more hockey at BUC or at one of the unimeets. We normally get a few good games in at these events.

Most people play on a 20". The abiltity to stop and turn quickly is more useful than out and out speed.

If only life was that simple… the Derby Juggling club are organising the BJC this year so I’m definitely going to that and the BUC is the following weekend - throw into the mix going to see Calexico in the week in between and I’m not sure whether the body can take the BUC as well - Am thinking about it so we’ll have to see.
One of the uni meets sounds like a good idea to get some more practise and tips - couldn’t do the recent Kidderminster one due to prior commitments - are there any dates for the next one?

Cheers

Roland

If you caught the train into London on a Thursday night, you could come to lunis. A decent number of players and a good game pretty much every week. It’s well worth travelling a little bit for.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/unicycle/LUNIs.html

Joe

Details of any unicycle related events are posted here:

http://www.unicycle.uk.com/calendar.asp

There will be more unimeets coming up. IIRC Steve, Roger et al were sorting out dates while at kiddy last weekend.

Nick

I’ve played roller hockey for about 9 years. I definately want a wooden blade and not a plastic blade. Plastic blades are xmas presents for 6 yr olds. You dont’ have any control with such a flimsy blade. Get a real outdoor stick. One piece wood with a plastic laminate blade.

El cheapo plastic

DO NOT get one of those.

Real stick

I think this is what I’m looking for. One piece and the blade is stiff. The blade is made of some composite material that resists wear.

Now I have a question. Do you use shorter or longer sticks for unicycle hockey? Standard length is up to your nose without skates on If I remember correctly.

Most people use full length sticks. You need the length if you play two handed and the extra reach is pretty useful too.

What about the curve of the blade?

For a right handed person, which way should the blade curve?

How much should it curve? Some blades have more curve than others. What’s the advantage to having more curve than less curve? What’s the advantage to having less curve?

Most people use full length sticks.

Some good people use shorter ones because it lets you get better control when the ball is close to you. You have to be a bit better at getting to the ball though and I’m not convinced it’s that much of an advantage.

It’s best to buy a long stick if you don’t know what you want, because to a certain extent a long stick can become a shorter one with the help of a saw if you really need it shorter.

Joe

If you are right handed then you left hand is at the top of the stick and your right hand is in the middle. The blade sits to your right and curves forwards. Does that make sense.

A bit of curve is nice as it help you trap the ball if it is whizzing around. You can also use the curve to get more power into your shot. The only real disadvantage of the curve is that it makes back hands a lttle trickier This isn’t a common shot so it isn’t a big issue.

HTH
Nick

It may be worth noting that Richmond School who are quite near to us and we play reletively regularaly play with very short sticks… and they beat Stockton club! (it is is also worth nothing that Stockton won at the last BUC)

A new good team that are definately coming to BUC this year… with short sticks.

Roger

Thanks. I don’t play hockey so this is all new knowledge for me. I’ve played unicycle hockey twice and both times have been at a convention. I think it’s time for me to buy a stick and do some minimal practice before the next convention.

thanks for all of the input - In the limited number of times I’ve played I’ve tried both long and short sticks so I guess that I should keep on trying both until I get to a reasonable skill level… and can decide which suits my style (such that it is )and as thursday night is hockey night I’ll be able to have a go with a few stick lengths tonight :slight_smile:

Which way should it curve for a right handed player? It’s not such an easy answer. In canada right handed players use a stick that curves to the right. So your left hand is on the bottom. The left hand is a pivot and all the movement is with your upper right hand.

I live in Southern California where everyone plays baseball so its more natural to put your dominant hand on the bottom. That is how I play. So you can do both.

More curve is better for wrist shots. Shooting it up into the air. Not so good for slapshots, but I sorta doubt you use those in unicycle hockey.
Forwards use shorter sticks because of more control and faster control. Defense use longer sticks. Not sure if this would apply to unicycle hockey or not.

WHY ON EARTH DO YOU USE A TENNIS BALL?! Tennis balls are awful. They would stick to your blade and not roll. Get a real outdoor hockey ball. Hard non bounce plastic.
Cold weather non bounce ball

Does anyone use a roller hockey puck?
Roller hockey puck

Some people do use something similar to slap-shots, for shooting from the line but they’re limited a bit by the rule about not having a high stick and by the fact it’s usually played in a relatively small area.

You can use a street hockey ball, they are okay too. The reason people use tennis balls is because they bounce better. There’s a lot more playing the ball in the air when you play with a tennis ball. They roll just fine on a good surface.

I think unicycle hockey is a surprisingly different game to roller hockey and definately to ice hockey, it’s much more fluid, no-one has a fixed position. Also some moves are much more suited to skating than unicycling and vice versa. I think being that little bit higher up, playing the ball in the air is a bit easier too.

Joe
who is ill so missing hockey grrrr.

I just don’t see why you would want it to bounce. Bouncing is bad.

Roller hockey is very very fluid. You have positions but a good team is always rotating around.

Do people ridebackwards very much? In hockey on defense you skate backwards a lot. More difficult to do on a unicycle I think.