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Street hockey is a simple alternative when ice hockey isn't an option.
If you want to play hockey in a warm climate you'll be stuck inside a climate-controlled arena. But street hockey is a warm weather alternative if you want to take the game outside. It can provide all the competitive fun of playing a real hockey game without the need for ice. Whether you are serious enough to join an organized street hockey league or just playing a pick-up game, know the basic rules of the game before you hit the streets.
The International Street and Ball Hockey Federation and NHL Street state that street hockey should take place on a concrete floor or asphalt surface. Large driveways, tennis courts with the net removed and outdoor basketball courts are all ideal locations. These surfaces allow for the specially-made plastic ball used for street hockey to move in a manner similar to a puck on the ice.
According to the NHL Street rule book, street hockey requires 12 players in the game at any given time with six players on each side, though you can adjust the team sizes to accommodate the group you are playing with. There are three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. Since there is such a high level of activity, you'll want to have enough people to sub in and out to keep players fresh and the game moving. Having enough bodies for three lines of forwards and defensemen is ideal, though you can get by with less.
According to the NHL Street and PlayOn! websites, street hockey games should start with a face-off. If there is a referee in your game, he can do a standard face-off where opposing centers face each other with their sticks one foot apart on the ground. When he drops the puck, the centers jockey for possession and play begins. If there is no referee or the referee does not want to get caught in the middle of play, you can perform a stick-to-stick face-off. In this face-off, opposing centers face each other, sticks on the ground with the puck already between them. Then, the centers tap the ground and then the opponents' stick three times. Once the sticks touch the third time, the puck is live and play begins.
Since street hockey takes place on a much more unforgiving surface than ice hockey, penalties are dealt with more severely. NHL Street recommends that any player whose intentional actions result in a penalty be pulled from the game and not allowed to return. This includes high sticking, checking, interference, charging, elbowing, slashing, fighting, tripping, holding, hooking and cross-checking. If the penalty in unintentional, the offending player should sit out for two minutes.