As in the gear requirements, street hockey mimics ice hockey in its surroundings and personnel. Basically, you replace the ice with concrete and pare down the number of positions, and you've got yourself a regulation street-hockey game. To be more specific:
The "rink" is any smooth, flat, wide-open area, typically concrete or asphalt. Ideally, minimum dimensions will be about 80 feet wide by 160 feet long (24 by 48 meters). Smaller or larger is fine, though, based on available space. The game can be played on tennis courts, low-traffic streets, basketball courts, indoor gyms, and anywhere else that proves conducive to sliding a ball along the ground into a goal.
The positions: You want six players on each side (with an additional six each for substitutions, especially when using sneakers instead of skates -- that game is all running). Positions are:
- Forwards (3): Right, Center and Left: The forwards, who play offense, are usually led by center (this position takes most of the face-offs), and they try to score. Each begins in his or her own area of the forward line, but can take each other's places as the ball moves around so the full forward court is always covered.
- Defenders (2): Right and Left: Defenders play, you guessed it, defense. They remain behind the forwards, and their job is to prevent the ball from entering their own goal. Like the forwards, the defenders will switch positions to make sure both sides of the court in front of the goal are always covered.
- Goal tender (1): The goalie's job is to defend the actual goal. If the ball makes it past the defenders, the goalie will need to prevent it from entering the goal. He or she can accomplish this in any way, including blocking it, catching it, kicking it or deflecting it. Since the goalie doesn't run (or skate) much, there's usually just one who plays the whole game.
The referee watches the action to make sure rules are followed and, when play is stopped due to penalty, goal or out-of-bounds, conducts the face-off to resume play. The ref has the final word in all game-play decisions.
While not absolutely essential in casual play, a ref is a valuable asset and will be making calls. Street hockey, at least in true "street" form, might be less formal than ice hockey (or not), but that doesn't mean there are no rules to follow…