unicycle hockey faq


/| O UNICYCLE HOCKEY / | /M\ O frequently asked questions (faq)

| | >>\ /X
| == / << Rolf Sander o=/ 0 last updated 4 Nov 1997


This file is occasionally posted to rec.sport.unicycling. The latest version is
always available at: http://www.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/faq.html

I am always looking for more information to include in this file. If you have
any information, pictures, logos, and/or newspaper articles about unicycle
hockey, please let me know!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. What is Unicycle Hockey?
    1. The History of Unicycle Hockey
    1. The Rules of Unicycle Hockey o 3.1) The IUF rules o 3.2) Other rules
    1. List of Teams
    1. National Leagues o 5.1) Great Britain o 5.2) Germany
    1. Championships o 6.1) World Championships o 6.2) European Championships o
      6.3) National Championships
    1. Unicycle-Hockey in the Media o 7.1) TV o 7.2) Radio o 7.3) Newspapers o
      7.4) Miscellaneous
    1. Unicycle-Hockey on the internet (summary) o 8.1) ftp o 8.2) Web pages o
      8.3) usenet newsgroup o 8.4) mailing list
    1. About the Author
    1. Acknowledgements
  1. What is Unicycle Hockey?

As the name already says, it is hockey played on unicycles. If you would
exchange the unicycles for skates, it looks a lot like ice-hockey.

  1. The History of Unicycle Hockey

The German silent movie “Variete” from 1925 (!) shows a short scene with two
unicyclists performing on stage. One has a hockey stick, the other a walking
stick. They have tiny goals and they use something like a crumpled towel as a
“ball”. Although this is quite different from unicycle hockey as we know it
today, this is by far the oldest references I’ve found!

According to an article in “The Bicycle Journal” (Aug 1960), the Albuquerque
Unicycle Club (New Mexico, USA) played hockey, amongst other activities on the
unicycle. Around 1962 Columbia unicycles came with a little pamphlet suggesting
what you can do on a unicycle. One of their drawings shows people playing
unicycle hockey.

I have seen a newspaper article from Japan that seems to be about 30 years old.
It shows the globetrotter Takafumi Ogasawara and some of his friends playing
hockey with strange looking sticks.

>From 1976 till the mid-eighties there was a unicycle-hockey club 'Wheel
People’ in California, USA. They have now stopped playing as many players have
moved away.

In Germany the first unicycle-hockey team was LAHIMO. They started playing in
1985 some time after Takafumi Ogasawara had become tired of traveling around the
world with his unicycle and had settled down in Monheim. He simply gave
Christoph Verholt and Jochen Loeffelmann unicycles and told them to learn how to
ride. Two months later they had a demo-game at a local event. Since then
Christoph has basically run the club. Until 1990, LAHIMO was the only German
team. Then Jens Stemminger saw unicycle hockey at the European juggling
convention 1990 in Oldenburg. He founded the Uniwheelers in Bremen. In 1991 Jojo
Muehlmeyer and Rolf Sander from LAHIMO moved to the vicinity of Frankfurt. There
they met Robert Mager, Martin Simeth and other enthusiastic unicyclists. They
founded RADLOS in Frankfurt on 27 May 1991. Since then many other clubs have
formed. A group of friends in Bochum saw unicycle-hockey on television. None of
them could really ride a unicycle but they decided they wanted to play hockey.
Meanwhile Bochum is one of the strongest teams in the German league.

John Dash started playing unicycle hockey when he stayed in Germany around
1987-1988. After returning back to England he and Lee Rickler have promoted
unicycle hockey a lot in Great Britain.

The following information has been provided by Tim Sheppard: “The first national
unicycling hockey competition in the UK was in 1988, at Covent Garden, London.
It was linked in some way with Telethon '88, which was some kind of national
charity week. Fooltime, the circus school in Bristol, provided T-shirts to
identify the teams. There were around a dozen teams if I remember rightly. I was
in the Fooltime team - I use the word ‘team’ advisedly. I think it was the
Birmingham team that turned up in their own t-shirts, and the London team that
had proper ice-hockey sticks, thus impressing all those who had turned up
unpracticed for a laugh. The London team (although I think there was more than
one) easily won. I remember watching Pedro practicing afterwards, bowling an
ultimate wheel along the ground, running after it, and mounting. What chance did
the rest of us have?”

  1. The Rules of Unicycle Hockey

3.1) The IUF rules

The IUF (International Unicycling Federation) has published an official set of
unicycle-hockey rules. For further information look at
http://www.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/rules.html

I am currently collecting ideas for improvements of the rules.

Here is a short summary of the basic rules:

  • Unicycle hockey is for everyone, no matter what age or sex. Fair play is
    crucial for all players.
  • Ice hockey sticks are used to place a tennis or street-hockey ball into an
    ice-hockey goal.
  • At the beginning and after each goal all players have to go to their own
    half. Then the game starts as soon as a player of the team in possession
    crosses the center line.
  • A player may only take part in a game when riding the unicycle. After
    falling off he or she has to mount at the same spot, but if necessary move
    out of the way of play first.
  • The player may touch the ball once with the flat hand (but not to score a
    goal directly).
  • Throwing sticks is strictly forbidden.
  • The upper end of the stick must always be covered with one hand to avoid
    injuries of other players. The lower end of the stick must always be below
    the players hips. Each player has to take care not to hit an opponent with
    his stick, especially after a shot.
  • A player who holds his stick in a way that someone else rides over it is
    committing a foul, regardless of intention.
  • A goal is disallowed if the ball was in one’s own half when shot and wasn’t
    touched by anyone afterwards (long shot).
  • The free shot is indirect, i. e. after the shot another player has to
    touch the ball.

3.2) Other rules

Some hockey clubs are using slightly different rules. For example, in Toronto
the game is played outside on a field without boundaries. A leather cube is used
because a ball would roll away too far.

  1. List of Teams

By far the most teams that I know of are either from Germany or Great Britain.
There are only a few teams in the rest of the world (Australia, Canada, France,
Japan, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, USA). You can get a list of
teams at http://www.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/teamlist.html

  1. National Leagues

Two countries have national leagues: Germany and Great Britain.

5.1) Great Britain

The British unicycle-hockey association (BUHA) organizes hockey tournaments.
They have a home page on the web where you can get more information:
http://www.urbanmediadesigns.com/buha/

5.2) Germany

The German unicycle-hockey league EDEL (Erste Deutsche Einradhockey-Liga) was
founded in 1995. There are 13 teams playing each other at different tournaments
during the year. The 1995 season was won by the Hurricanes. Look at
http://www.dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~lauteman/unicycling/index_e.html
for more information.

  1. Championships

6.1) World Championships

In 1994 the World unicycling championships (UNICON) were in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA. For the first time a hockey tournament was included. Eight
teams participated: Bochum (Germany), Canada, Germany, LAHIMO (Germany), Puerto
Rico, TCUC (USA), USA, and a mixed team. Germany beat LAHIMO 10:9 in a very
exciting final.

The 1996 UNICON was in Guildford (near London), Great Britain. Bochum I beat
Bochum II in the (slightly less exciting) final. For further details see:
http://www.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/unicon.html

6.2) European Championships

The first European championship was held at the European juggling convention at
Leeds, Great Britain in 1993. It was organized by Lee Rickler. Both LAHIMO and
Tous en piste didn’t have enough players there, so the made a joined team which
called itself LAHIMO on piste. They beat the London Lunis in the final 5:2.

In 1994 the European championship was moved from the juggling convention to
Eurocycle, the annual European unicycle convention. Eurocycle 1994 was in
Koenigstein, Germany. There were two LAHIMO teams in the final, one of which
won the game.

In July 1995 Eurocycle was in Nice, France. In the final LAHIMO beat Tous en
Piste 7:6.

There was no Eurocycle in 1996 since in this year UNICON was in Europe.

Eurocycle 1997 was in Nyon, near Geneva in Switzerland.

6.3) National Championships

The first national unicycling hockey competition in the UK was in 1988, at
Covent Garden, London (see also section about the history of unicycle hockey).

The British Open Unicycle-Hockey Championships were held 21-22 May 1994 in
Hastings: The Lunis were beat by LAHIMO in an exciting final 13 : 14 a.e.t.

  1. Unicycle-Hockey in the Media

7.1) TV

The first time unicycle hockey was mentioned on German tv was in the ‘WWF club’.
There was hardly enough space to ride a uni, forget about playing hockey in the
studio. In ‘Gesucht-Gefunden’ some strange looking unicycles made by Takafumi
Ogasawara were shown and we also had a chance to announce that we are still
looking for more players. The moderator was pretty stupid. She was probably
thinking about cars when she mentioned that Takafumi Ogasawara had made a trip
around the world IN a unicycle. ‘Geld oder Liebe’ is a game show where the
candidates have to have an extraordinary hobby. Unicycle-hockey players were
asked twice already to become candidates. The first live game on tv ever was
shown in 1991 in ‘Fernsehgarten’. It was moderated by the former world champion
on the horizontal bar, Eberhard Ginger. After trying one day he even managed to
ride a few meters. In ‘aktuelle Stunde’ two players gave interviews about the
sport. The Frankfurt team RADLOS was presented in ‘Hessen Report’. The companion
video to the 1996 edition of the Encyclopedia of the Bike Culture Quarterly
magazine shows a short clip of a unicycle hockey game, right after a clip of
someone riding a swing bike, which is a sort of unicycle with a front wheel.

7.2) Radio

Yes, unicycle-hockey has been on the radio. Some of us from LAHIMO gave
interviews to ‘Radio Bergisch Land’ while the others were playing hockey, which
gave a nice sound in the background.

In Claremont, California, KSPC (a college radio station servicing the Claremont
Colleges) broadcast several minutes of a Uni hockey game. They cut to the
broadcaster at the game several times throughout another radio program. It was a
successful experiment, and more broadcasts are being planned. For more
information look at: http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~jallen/uni/uni-hockey

7.3) Newspapers

There have been numerous articles about unicycle-hockey in the newspapers. I am
collecting them all. If you have any, please send me a copy!

7.4) Miscellaneous

Stephan Schumacher (LAHIMO) currently writes his thesis at the Sporthochschule
in Cologne, Germany about unicycle-hockey.

  1. Unicycle-Hockey on the internet (summary)

8.1) ftp

8.2) Web pages

http://www.mpch-mainz.mpg.de/~sander/uni/
http://www.dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~lauteman/unicycling/index_e.html
http://www.urbanmediadesigns.com/buha/

8.3) usenet newsgroup

rec.sport.unicycling

Here unicycling in general is discussed but letters about unicycle hockey can
also be posted.

8.4) mailing list

The email discussion list edel@dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de is about
the German unicycle-hockey league (in German!). To subscribe to the list,
ask Sven-Eric Lautemann ( lautemann@informatik.uni-frankfurt.de) to put
you on there.

  1. About the Author

I was born in 1964 and I spent more than 20 years of my life without being able
to ride a unicycle. This rather unfortunate situation changed in 1985. I played
hockey with the LAHIMO team until 1991. Then I moved to Mainz and became also a
member of the RADLOS team from Frankfurt. From 1995-1997 I played hockey with
the Toronto Unicyclists. Since October 1997 I’m back in Mainz.

I can best be reached via email at: sander@mpch-mainz.mpg.de. With some delay I
get slowmail sent to: Rolf Sander
E.-Klausener Str. 6 40789 Monheim Germany

  1. Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the following unicyclists for contributing to this faq:
Jeff Allen, Dennis Kathrens, Jochen Loeffelmann, Tom Miller, Tim Sheppard. If
you help to improve this file, your name will also appear here!