View Full Version : Sociology of Roller Hockey
01-25-2005, 12:53 PM
I'm writing a paper right now that is about the sociological subculture of roller hockey, ice hockey being the main culture. I'm wondering if anyone out there could offer insight to what makes roller hockey a distinctive subculture of ice hockey. For instance, there is no offsides, no icing, smaller rinks(sometimes). Is there a different language? Are there different "Norms" between the two sports? Any thoughts or ideas would be great.
North Central College Roller Hockey
01-25-2005, 01:06 PM
I have a hard time thinking of inline hockey not being it's own culture, sorry.The XIHL does play with offsides and an icing rule. How about girls don't have to wear coats over their halter tops to watch inline hockey. Big difference(s) perhaps.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by NLane on 01/25/05 12:07 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
01-25-2005, 01:29 PM
I will be Captain Obvious for a moment. It is played on Sport Court Not Ice.
01-25-2005, 01:39 PM
Which games are you checkin out?!?! You guys have halter tops in the stands... somedays we'll just settle for a female on the bleachers. I gotta move down there to VA or something. : )
01-25-2005, 01:54 PM
I'm not a guy, Frank. And I've heard enough discussions of the tops by Ian and his buddies to last a lifetime!
01-25-2005, 02:38 PM
ha ha ha... Too true, too true.
01-25-2005, 05:54 PM
We have girls in the stand all the time in Vegas. I am not sure if there is different language used in roller hockey then ice. The only thing i hear is from some ice players is that roller hockey is not real hockey. That is all i have on this subject.
01-25-2005, 06:47 PM
There is a decided, marked pathology by a large segment of those players who have been involved in ice hockey for some time, and have not been exposed to roller hockey, to view roller hockey with a perjorative, denegrative, lack of prestige.
Many parents feel that what they perceive as a lack of collegiate or professional opportunities makes roller hockey of less value for their child to participate in.
Very few players, perhaps 3% or less, who have played both extensively, feel anything negative about either, although that might be more the effect than the cause.
There is some different vocabulary, especially in terminology between players in the game. The larger group of terms occurs in ice, roller has just borrowed the smaller group of terms that fit the actions common to the two. I can't think of a single term that applies to roller that doesn't also apply to ice, at least in a variation ("icing" vs. "clearing" for example).
Tactically, the games can be played the same, or they can be played dramatically different. Tactical systems specific to roller are being developed all the time.
You might note that the IIHF USA national team (from USA Hockey Inline) for the first time this past year, used more and more younger players, 16-25 years old, who are primary roller players, in contrast to the guys 25-29, who are primary ice players who play roller as a second version of the sport. This make-up of player had great success, with the team winning the gold medal. There might be a prestige thing going with roller players who don't play ice, at least psychologically.
In terms of linguistic "markedness," all of ice is the more general...even the term "hockey" itself, usually refers to ice, while the more marked term "roller hockey," is necessary to designate roller, if you mean roller.
That's about all I can think of at the moment, not sure if any of it helps. Lemme know if you want more on any point...I can go for hours on this stuff, like most readers of this board know...
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>
01-25-2005, 06:49 PM
It's usually talked down by players who can't play it. Some can play both, others can't.
01-25-2005, 09:27 PM
i play both and have since i was a kid. i was playing ice the other day and my friend asked me how much i play lately. i said i play alot of roller, ice hockey here and there. he said it's all the same thing. coming from an ice only player i kinda liked the sound of that. but then i thought. i don't want it to be viewed as the same. but at least he didn't say that's not real hockey. i think there's more respect between players in roller then in ice. but that's just my opinion.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by 89jettawolfs on 01/25/05 08:30 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
01-28-2005, 11:22 PM
I grew up playing both ice and inline in Norcal. I've lived and played in WI, OH, MA and PA and it still amazes me the number of ice hockey players who know litterly nothing about roller hockey and how organized it has become (relatively speaking). Many don't know if there are boards, what kind of surface there is, or if we use a puck or a ball. Some are even surprised when I tell them there are referees. Many of these players I played Jr.s or college with...This also is aproblem when looking for substantial sponsors I find.
It's true ....the legacy of inline hockey is that it was basically street hockey moved indoors.....So many who have not played it at an organized level have the impression that it is to be looked at as a simple extension of ball street hockey...which of course it is....but it's a very lengthy extension lol.
02-07-2005, 12:35 PM
*** WARNING - SHORT NOVEL LENGTH HERE ***
There are an EXTREME amount of differences between the ice and roller hockey. Unfortunately for the information you requested, us "players" over look many of them because we get caught up in a routine and we tend to over simplify things.
First, looking at the players themselves there are differences in preferred equipment due to the rule system. Ice hockey players are allowed to intentionally "check" one another (make intentional body contact for the purpose of gaining possession of the puck). These hits are usually frequent in the game and can be rather rattling. Players choose to wear shoulder pads to help diminish the frequency of shoulder/spinal injuries. Roller players are not allowed to intentionally check even though it does happen from time to time but not nearly as frequently or violently as in ice hockey. Most players in roller hockey decide against shoulder pads usually due to peer pressure (looking stupid) or frankly, ego. The equipment itself (when worn) is exactly the same as ice hockey and proper equipment certifications must be made for both sports. Jerseys seem to be made of a lighter material in roller hockey to help offset the lack of continuous cold air a player gets from the ice.
Second and geared more toward the subject, is the sociology of the two sports. Ice hockey has been around a lot longer so the natural mental learning curve of ice only players exceeds the mental capacity of a roller only player. The social structure of inline is rather primitive to the structure and consistency of knowledge in ice hockey. Roller hockey is continuously advancing physically and structurally but the injection of "new" (usually copied or modified from ice hockey) ideas within individuals (players, coaches, parents, leagues) is awfully inconsistant. It's here where roller hockey gets it's bad image and things start from the top.
Most people in charge in ice hockey have been around for a long time and usually aren't the first generation hockey players. Don't look over that last sentence too quickly. We are talking generations playing the same sport... HUNDREDS of years. You mirror that with roller hockey and there is a rather faint image looking back. The sociology of the sport is what makes it advance or drop off the radar. The ability to get a group of people to learn the skills necessary to play, then adopt rules that the majority can agree on, then continuously train individuals to become better coaches, players, officials, league administrators and so on, is absolutely astonishing. It's like creating a business from scratch but you don't get all of the employees you need in one building. They are scattered all over the country and working in rather small groups. The only way your business survives is after MANY YEARS of communication, testing and advancing your employees to a point where you can hopefully (remember that everyone has to agree to join up) make successful management on a national level. The problem is that "employees" basically refers to rinks/facilities/leagues and we all know that isn't just one person. So first you have to get your building in order and somehow hope that when the time comes that you merge with other buildings to form some sort of alliance. Hopefully not only yours but the other rinks have taught their employees the "right" things close to the same way so your new alliance works out down the road. It's kind of like telling Jack In the Box, McDonald's and Wendy's to make a burger, which they all can do. Now let's say tomorrow all three companies join forces.... which burger are they going to make next and is there a market for that new burger? OR did they just make the mistake of their lives because they just put all their eggs in one basket and now they lose it all? That's the mentality of the rink owners... you have to be able to take HUGE risks and back it up financially if you make the wrong move.
Inline hockey has way too many rule systems at the learning levels opposed to ice hockey. Most ice hockey leagues are primarily sanctioned by USA Hockey where inline hockey is just now slowly getting over the "it's my rink so I make up the rules" mentality of the owners. Obviously there will be many rule inconsitencies with that mentality and there is no way that a rink/league like that can merge together down the road. One of the hardest things to do is train people and once they get used to a certain way they definately don't want to have to learn a whole new system when they could just learn a few new things that polish off the one they currently use. So there goes your customer base and that poor rink owner never had a chance from the beginning.
Base the game on set rules that are enforced like the constitution. There will be problems but make amendments at set times of the year (imagine that, like ice hockey) and things will work themselves out. Do nothing and nothing will change. In my opinion, the rinks need to become more of a democracy, internally and externally, and get rid of the dictatorships.
I have been involved in inline hockey for going on 13 years now and have been a major policy shifter and designer for the latter half of those years within the entire sport. I have worked for every major inline hockey company out there at one time or another and I make sure that I give back something for what I took.
The best thing for either sport is to relax, don't rush things. Keep an open mind towards the future, remember what made you upset, and let someone know. Be careful though because in a learning environment, you might have brought it on yourself and YOU might have to change.
Sorry to get off topic a bit but it's sociology that we are talking about - everything matters.
02-08-2005, 09:46 AM
Great Posts everyone! I'll incorporate your ideas into my paper.
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