What is Floor Hockey?

floor hockey

Floor hockey has become a great alternative to traditional winter hockey since it can be played any time of the year. This team sport offers opportunities for players to engage in a wide variety of hand-coordination skills while getting a cardio workout in as well. In order to succeed in floor hockey, players need to outscore their opponents while playing exceptional defense. Supporters of ice hockey will definitely enjoy this sport.


Floor Hockey History

This sport was created as an extension of ice hockey, with players being able to participate on a wider variety of playing surfaces. Canadian inventor Sam Jacks was credited with inventing the modern form of floor hockey in 1936. Floor hockey was originally seen as a sport played on city streets. Later in 1962, Tom Harter introduced a version of floor hockey to the United States. Harter developed an adapted version where checking was not allowed, which encouraged more focus on playing the puck. 

Playing Surface

Floor Hockey Playing Surface

This sport can be played on a few different hard and flat surfaces. Games are primarily played on wooden basketball courts where participants can move around without interruption from sharp bumps. The wooden basketball courts are often coated by polyurethane to improve resiliency from scratches. However, floor hockey has also been played on tougher surfaces such as cement or asphalt streets. It is rare to find playing surfaces that are dedicated solely to the competition of floor hockey.  

Floor Hockey Equipment

Floor Hockey Equipment

In order to participate in a game of floor hockey, players need to have equipment such as eye goggles, goals, goalie gloves, a plastic goalie stick, a plastic hockey stick, and a plastic puck. Eye goggles and goalie gloves are used to protect players from contact with the puck or other players. The goals are often made out of a hard plastic or metal.The various sticks are used to pass and shoot the puck.  

Here is the essential Floor Hockey equipment you should have:

  • Eye Goggles
  • Goals
  • Goalie Gloves
  • Plastic Goalie Stick
  • Plastic Hockey Stick
  • Plastic Puck


The main objective of floor hockey is to hit a puck into the opponent’s goal using a plastic stick. As a result, participants are able to score goals and contribute points for their team. Another objective to floor hockey is demonstrating skills of endurance, precision, power, and teamwork. Participants need to display physical talents and mental aptitude to be successful. Competing in a team sport requires participants to communicate effectively.  

Rules and Regulations

Floor Hockey Rules and Regulations

In order to play a game of floor hockey, there are 5 players and a goalie for each team on the playing field. The length of floor hockey games vary but are normally broken up into three 15-minute periods. Play begins with a faceoff at the center court where a puck is dropped between two opposing players. Players are not allowed to lift their sticks above their waists, which includes shooting and passing. 

Here are the most important Floor Hockey rules you should know:

  • Games consist of 5 players and a goalie on each team
  • Players can only pass and shoot the puck using their stick
  • The stick can never be above the waist for any movement, including slapshots
  • A player must be outside of the goalie area when shooting the puck
  • No form of checking or tackling is allowed


The strategy behind floor hockey is focused on finding openings for good shots at the goal while maintaining a strong defense. It is essential to communicate to avoid easy mistakes such as holes in the defense. A lot of strategies can be involved since floor hockey is a team sport where players have different abilities and strengths. Players need to have the ability to handle and dribble the puck to execute most strategies.  

Here are the most important Floor Hockey strategies you should know:

  • Don’t pass in front of your goal when playing on defense
  • When attempting to escape from defenders, use stick handling skills rather than passing the puck away
  • Incorporate constant movement into your offensive attack to create open passing lanes near the goal
  • In any situation, look for open players to pass to before shooting the puck


Floor Hockey Lingo

Lingo from ice hockey can be applied to floor hockey since there are many similarities between them.

Here is the common lingo and slang in Floor Hockey:

  • Bar Down: this occurs when the puck ricochets off of the top of the goal post and ends up going into the goal
  • Biscuit: the puck
  • Coast to Coast: when a player starts near their goal, travels the full length of the playing field, and ends up scoring
  • Playmaker: a player who excels at handling the puck and passing but doesn’t score often


Canadian Samuel Perry Jacks is credited with inventing the sport of floor hockey. Originally from Scotland, Jacks emigrated to Canada and went on to invent floor hockey while residing in Toronto, Canada. He invented the sport in 1936 while working as the Assistant Physical Director at the West End YMCA in Toronto. Jacks would later go on to develop another sport called ringette in 1963. Unfortunately, Jacks passed away in 1975 before the wide popularity in both sports he invented.   

Special Olympics Floor Hockey Event

Floor hockey isn’t played at the Olympic level but has existed in the Special Olympics since 1970. Players of all skill levels compete with the same rules in Special Olympics floor hockey. In addition, all players must have an equal amount of playing time. This has been a great addition to the lineup of sports that the Special Olympics athletes can compete in. The floor hockey played in the Special Olympics is very similar to the accepted versions used in physical education programs.  


What are the penalties in floor hockey?

There are a wide variety of penalties that players can get while on offense or defense. Some examples of penalties include slashing, holding, body checking, high sticking, catching the puck, and having too many players on the floor. If penalized, players have to sit out for two or five minutes. 

Are there specific positions in floor hockey?

The positions in floor hockey are very similar to the ones used in ice hockey. Each team consists of a left winger, right winger, center, left defensemen, right defensemen, and a goalie. There are players that have a focus on offense while others stay near the goalie and play defense.

Is there a professional league for floor hockey?

Currently, there is no professional floor hockey league for people to compete in. However, the sport exists on the national level through the Special Olympics. Floor hockey is often available through middle schools, high schools, colleges, and adult recreational leagues.

Do players wear protective gear?

Players will wear eye goggles to protect themselves from errant pucks coming at their face. In addition, some players will use padded gloves or knee pads for extra protection. Despite being a contactless sport, players can still get injured by scraping themselves against the ground.