How To Play Street Hockey

Street Hockey


Street hockey, also known as dek hockey or ball hockey, is a variation of ice hockey played on a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete. It’s accessible to players of all ages and skill levels, requiring minimal equipment compared to traditional ice hockey. The game typically involves two teams competing to score goals by shooting a ball (or puck) into the opposing team’s net, using hockey sticks to maneuver and control the ball.

Equipment Needed

Street Hockey

One of the appealing aspects of street hockey is its relatively low barrier to entry in terms of equipment. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Hockey Stick: Choose a stick that’s appropriate for your height and playing style. Street hockey sticks are typically shorter and lighter than ice hockey sticks, with durable blades designed for outdoor surfaces.

Ball or Puck: Depending on your preference and playing surface, you’ll need either a hockey ball (often orange for visibility) or a street hockey puck. Balls are lighter and bounce more, while pucks are heavier and glide better on smooth surfaces.

Protective Gear: While street hockey is generally less physical than ice hockey, it’s still important to wear protective gear. This includes a helmet with a face mask, gloves, shin guards, and elbow pads. Goalkeepers will need additional protective gear such as leg pads, a blocker, and a catcher.

Footwear: Wear comfortable athletic shoes with good traction to navigate the playing surface effectively. Cleats designed for turf or outdoor sports can provide extra grip.

Goals: Portable goals or nets are essential for scoring. These can be purchased or improvised using items like cones or markers to define the goal area.

Setting Up the Game

Before diving into gameplay, it’s essential to set up the playing area and establish basic rules:

Court Dimensions: Determine the boundaries of the playing area, typically using chalk or markers to outline the rink on the pavement. A standard street hockey rink is approximately 50 feet wide and 100 feet long, but this can vary based on available space.

Goal Placement: Position the goals at opposite ends of the rink, ensuring they’re securely anchored and clearly marked.

Teams: Divide players into two teams, usually consisting of 4 to 6 players per side, depending on the size of the playing area. Assign positions such as forwards, defensemen, and a goalkeeper for each team.

Face-Off: Start the game with a face-off at center rink. This involves the referee dropping the ball or puck between two opposing players, who then try to gain possession and control.

Basic Rules of Street Hockey

Understanding the rules ensures fair play and enhances the enjoyment of the game:

Offsides: Players cannot enter the offensive zone (opponent’s side) before the ball or puck crosses the blue line. This prevents cherry-picking and encourages strategic play.

Icing: Similar to ice hockey, icing occurs when a player shoots the ball or puck from their defensive zone across the opponent’s goal line without it being touched by another player. Play is stopped, and the face-off returns to the defending team’s zone.

Penalties: Minor penalties such as tripping or slashing result in the penalized player serving time in the penalty box, leaving their team shorthanded. Major penalties may result in ejection from the game.

Scoring: Goals are scored when the ball or puck crosses the goal line into the net. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.

Essential Skills and Techniques

To excel in street hockey, focus on developing these fundamental skills:

Stickhandling: Mastering control of the ball or puck is crucial. Practice dribbling, maneuvering around obstacles, and maintaining possession under pressure.

Shooting: Work on different types of shots—wrist shots, slap shots, and snap shots—to improve accuracy and power. Practice shooting on the move and from various angles.

Passing: Effective passing enhances teamwork and offensive flow. Practice crisp, accurate passes to teammates, using both forehand and backhand techniques.

Goalkeeping: Goalkeepers play a pivotal role in street hockey. Develop agility, positioning, and quick reflexes to make saves and protect the net effectively.

Defense: Focus on positioning, anticipating plays, and using body positioning to disrupt opponents and regain possession of the ball or puck.

Strategy and Tactics

Street Hockey

Successful teams in street hockey employ strategic tactics to control the game and create scoring opportunities:

Forechecking: Apply pressure on opponents in their defensive zone to force turnovers and regain possession.

Backchecking: Hustle back defensively to support the defense and prevent opponents from scoring on counterattacks.

Power Plays: Capitalize on numerical advantages during penalties to maintain possession, create scoring chances, and pressure the opposing defense.

Line Changes: Manage substitutions effectively to maintain energy levels and keep players fresh throughout the game.

Advanced Techniques and Drills

For players looking to elevate their game, advanced techniques and drills can help hone skills and improve performance:

One-Timers: Practice receiving and shooting the ball or puck in one fluid motion, often off a pass from a teammate.

Deception Moves: Develop fakes, dekes, and changes of direction to evade defenders and create scoring opportunities.

Conditioning: Improve endurance and stamina through interval training, sprints, and agility drills to maintain peak performance during games.

Game Situations: Simulate game scenarios during practice to enhance decision-making, spatial awareness, and situational awareness.

Safety and Sportsmanship

As with any sport, safety and sportsmanship are paramount in street hockey:

Respect Rules and Officials: Adhere to the rules of the game and respect the decisions of referees and officials.

Avoid Dangerous Play: Refrain from dangerous actions such as high-sticking, checking, or aggressive behavior that can lead to injuries.

Communicate: Maintain open communication with teammates to coordinate plays and avoid collisions on the rink.

Equipment Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain equipment to ensure it’s in good condition and provides adequate protection.

Strategic Team Play

High-Pressure Forecheck: Implement aggressive forechecking strategies to disrupt opponents’ breakout attempts. Coordinate with teammates to apply relentless pressure on defensemen and force turnovers in the offensive zone.

Defensive Positioning and Coverage: Enhance defensive awareness and communication to minimize scoring chances against your team. Practice maintaining defensive structure, covering passing lanes, and supporting teammates to defend against fast breaks.

Transition Game: Master quick transitions from defense to offense to capitalize on turnovers. Practice breakout passes and speedy puck or ball movement to catch opponents off guard and create scoring opportunities in transition.

Special Teams Efficiency: Optimize power play and penalty kill units to gain a competitive edge. Develop set plays and strategies for power play opportunities, and practice disciplined defensive play to thwart opponents during penalty kills.

Street Hockey


Street hockey offers a dynamic blend of athleticism, strategy, and teamwork that appeals to players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re playing casually with friends or competing in organized leagues, mastering the fundamentals, developing key skills, and employing strategic tactics will enhance your enjoyment and success on the rink. By embracing the spirit of sportsmanship, respecting the rules, and continuously improving your game through practice and training, you’ll not only become a better street hockey player but also contribute to a thriving and inclusive community of urban sports enthusiasts.