An old name for bandy is hockey on the ice or hockey on ice, due to the sport essentially being "field hockey played on ice" or simply hockey, but since the mid-20th Century the term bandy is usually preferred, so as not to confuse the sport with ice hockey.
In English as in many other languages in most parts of the world, the term bandy is used. Notable exceptions are Russian, where bandy is still called hockey with ball (xоккей с мячом), and ice hockey is called hockey with puck (xоккей с шайбой) and Finnish, where bandy is ice ball (jääpallo) and ice hockey is ice puck (jääkiekko).
Bandy is played on ice, using a single round ball. Two teams of eleven players each compete to get the ball into the other team's goal using sticks, thereby scoring a goal. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals, then the game is a draw. There are exceptions to this rule, however.
The primary rule is that the players (other than the goalkeepers) may not intentionally touch the ball with their hands or arms during play. Although players usually use their sticks to move the ball around, they may use any part of their bodies other than their hands or arms and may use their skates in a limited manner. Heading the ball will result in five minutes in the sin-bin.
In typical game play, players attempt to propel the ball toward their opponents' goal through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling, passing the ball to a team-mate, and by taking shots at the goal, which is guarded by the opposing goalkeeper. Opposing players may try to regain control of the ball by intercepting a pass or through tackling the opponent who controls the ball; however, physical contact between opponents is limited. Bandy is generally a free-flowing game, with play stopping only when the ball has left the field of play, or when play is stopped by the referee. After a stoppage, play can recommence with a free stroke, a penalty shot or a corner stroke. If the ball has left the field along the sidelines, the referee must decide which team touched the ball last, and award a restert stroke to the opposing team, just like football's throw-in.
The rules do not specify any player positions other than goalkeeper, but a number of player specialisations have evolved. Broadly, these include three main categories: forwards, whose main task is to score goals; defenders, who specialise in preventing their opponents from scoring; and midfielders, who dispossess the opposition and keep possession of the ball in order to pass it to the forwards; players in these positions are referred to as outfield players, in order to discern them from the single goalkeeper. These positions are further differentiated by which side of the field the player spends most time in. For example, there are central defenders, and left and right midfielders. The ten outfield players may be arranged in these positions in any combination (for example, there may be three defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards), and the number of players in each position determines the style of the team's play; more forwards and fewer defenders would create a more aggressive and offensive-minded game, while the reverse would create a slower, more defensive style of play. While players may spend most of the game in a specific position, there are few restrictions on player movement, and players can switch positions at any time. The layout of the players on the pitch is called the team's formation, and defining the team's formation and tactics is usually the prerogative of the team's manager(s).
There are eighteen rules in the official bandy rules. The same rules are designed to apply to all levels of bandy, although certain modifications for groups such as juniors, seniors or women are permitted. The rules are often framed in broad terms, which allow flexibility in their application depending on the nature of the game. The rules can be found on the official website of the Federation of International Bandy website.
Each team consists of a maximum of eleven players (excluding substitutes), one of whom must be the goalkeeper. A team of fewer than eight players may not start a game. Goalkeepers are the only players allowed to play the ball with their hands or arms, but they are only allowed to do so within the penalty area in front of their own goal. Though there are a variety of positions in which the outfield (non-goalkeeper) players are strategically placed by a coach, these positions are not defined or required by the rules of the game.
The basic equipment players are required to wear includes a pair of skates, a helmet, a mouth guard and, in the case of the goalkeeper, a face guard. The teams must wear uniforms that make it easy to distinguish the two teams. The skates, sticks and any tape on the stick must be of another colour than the ball. In addition to the aforementioned equipment, various protections are used to protect knees, elbows, genitals and throat and the pants and gloves may contain padding.
Any number of players may be replaced by substitutes during the course of the game. Substitutions can be performed without notifying the referee and can be performed while the ball is in play. However, if the substitute enters the ice before his teammate has left it, this will result in a 5 minute ban. A team can bring at the most four substitutes to the game and one of these is likely to be an extra goalkeeper.
A game is officiated by a referee, the authority to enforce the rules, and whose decisions are final. The referee may be assisted by one or two assistant referees.
The size of a bandy field is in the range 4,050 - 7,150 square metres (45-65 by 90-110 metres), about the same size as a football pitch and considerably larger than an ice hockey rink. Along the sidelines a 15 cm high border (vant, sarg, wand, wall) is placed to prevent the ball from leaving the ice. It should not be attached to the ice, in order to glide upon collisions, and should end 1-3 metres away from the corners.
Centered at each shortline is a 3.5 m wide and 2.1 m high goal cage and in front of the cage is a half-circular penalty area with a 17 m radius. A penalty spot is located 12 metres in front of the goal and there are two free-stroke spots at the penalty area line, each surrounded by a 5 m circle.
A centre spot denotes the center of the field and a circle of radius 5 m is centered at it. A centre-line is drawn through the centre spot and parallel with the shortlines.
At each of the corners, a 1 m radius quarter-circle is drawn, and a dotted line is painted parallel to the shortline and five metres away from it without extending into the penalty area. The dotted line can be replaced with a half-metre long line starting at the edge of the penalty area and extending towards the sideline, five metres from the shortline.
A standard adult bandy match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play; the referee can, however, make allowance for time lost through significant stoppages as described below. There is usually a 15-minute "half-time" break between halves. The end of the match is known as full-time.
The referee is the official timekeeper for the match, and may make an allowance for time lost through substitutions, injured players requiring attention, or other stoppages. This added time is commonly referred to as stoppage time or injury time, and must be reported to the match secretary and the two captains. The referee alone signals the end of the match.
In league competitions games may end in a draw, but in some knockout competitions if a game is tied at the end of regulation time it may go into extra time, which consists of two further 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, the game will be replayed. As an alternative, the extra two times 15-minutes may be played as "Golden goal" which means that the first team that scores during the extra-time wins the game. If both extra periods are played without a scored goal, a penalty shootout will settle the game. The teams shoot five penalties each and if this doesn't settle the game, the teams shoot one more penalty each until one of them misses and the other scores.
Under the rules, the two basic states of play during a game are ball in play and ball out of play. From the beginning of each playing period with a stroke-off (a set strike from the centre-spot by one team) until the end of the playing period, the ball is in play at all times, except when either the ball leaves the field of play, or play is stopped by the referee. When the ball becomes out of play, play is restarted by one of eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play:
If the time runs out while a team is preparing for a free-stroke or penalty, the strike should still be made but it must go into the goal by one shot to count as a goal. Similarly, with a corner stroke, the corner should be allowed, but it must be executed using only one shot in addition to the strike needed to put the ball in play.
Free-strokes can be awarded to a team if a player of the opposite team offends any rule, e.g. by hitting with the stick against the opponent's stick or skates. Free-strokes can also be awarded upon incorrect execution of corner-strikes, free-strikes, goal-throws, etc. or the use of incorrect equipment, such as a broken stick.
Rather than stopping play, the referee may allow play to continue when its continuation will benefit the team against which an offence has been committed. This is known as "playing an advantage". The referee may "call back" play and penalise the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue within a short period of time, typically taken to be four to five seconds. Even if an offence is not penalised because the referee plays an advantage, the offender may still be sanctioned (see below) for any associated misconduct at the next stoppage of play.
If a defender violently attacks an opponent within the penalty area, a penalty shot is awarded. Certain other offences, when carried out within the penalty area, result in a penalty shot provided there is a goal situation. These offences include a defender holding or hooking an attacker, or blocking a goal situation with a lifted skate, thrown stick or glove etc. Also, the defenders (with the exception of the goal-keeper) are not allowed to kneel or lay on the ice. The final offences that might mandate a penalty shot are those of hittick or blocking an opponent's stick or touching the ball with the hands, arms, stick or head above the shoulders. If any of these actions is carried out in a non-goal situation, they shall be awarded with a free-stroke from one of the free-stroke spots at the penalty area line. A penalty shot should always be accompanied by a 5 or 10 minutes penalty (see below). If the penalty results in a goal, the penalty should be considered personal meaning that a substitute can be sent in for the penalised player. This does not apply in the event of a red card (see below).
By displaying a white card to a player, the referee indicates a five minutes penalty. Offences that can warrant such a penalty include, but are not limited to, trying to hinder the opponents from executing a free-stroke, playing without a stick or repeated illegal but non-violent attacks on an opponent.
A ten minutes penalty is indicated through the use of a blue card and can be caused by protesting or behaving incorrectly, attacking an opponent violently or stopping the ball incorrectly in order to get an advantage. The yellow and white card is no longer in use.
The third time a player receives a penalty, it will be a personal penalty meaning he or she will miss the remainder of the match. A substitute can enter the field after five or ten minutes. A full game penalty can be received upon using abusive language or directly attacking an opponent and means that the player can neither play nor be substituted for the remainder of the game. A match penalty is indicated through the use of a red card.
The offside rule effectively limits the ability of attacking players to remain forward (i.e. closer to the opponent's goal-line) of the ball, the second-to-last defending player (which can include the goalkeeper), and the half-way line. This rule is in effect just like that of football.
The Bandy World Championships for men were first held in 1957 and then every two years starting in 1961, and every year since 2003. Currently there are 13 (WCS 2008) countries participating in the world championships. The participating countries vary from year to year. Finland won the 2004 world championship. All other championships have been won by the Soviet Union, Russia, or Sweden.
In February 2004, Sweden won the first World Championship for women, hosted in Finland. The second women's World Championships were held in Roseville, Minnesota at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in the USA in 2006 and once again Sweden won, defeating Russia in the final (3-1).
For all the tournaments since 1957, see Bandy World Championships.
The World Championships should not be confused with the annual World Cup in Ljusdal, Sweden, which is the biggest bandy tournament for club teams on elite level. With matches played day and night, the tournament is played in four days in late October. The winner in 2006 and 2007 was Dynamo Moscow.
The Federation of International Bandy (FIB), has 27 members (2008). Formed in 1955, the name was changed from International Bandy Federation in 2001 after the International Olympic Committee approved it as a "recognized sport".
Only three teams played bandy at the 1952 Winter Olympics: Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Bandy, also known as banty, probably originated as a form of field hockey on ice and developed in a similar fashion to modern ice hockey. Rather than develop its own rules or codes (as ice hockey did), Bandy adopted rules similar to association football. The verb bandy means to toss things back and forth, though the things are usually words or ideas rather than balls.
Games that are accepted as direct predecessors to bandy have been recorded in Russian monastery records dating back to the X-XI centuries. A game that could be recognized as essentially modern bandy was played in Russia by the early 1700s, although the rules used differed from those that were invented in England at a much later date. All the way through modern times, Russia has kept a top position in the Bandy area, being one of the founding nations of the International Federation, as well as the most successful team in the World Championships. Russians rightfully see themselves as the creators of the sport, which is reflected by the unofficial title for bandy, "Russian hockey," or "русский хоккей."
In the western world, Britain has played an important role in the development of bandy. A game similar to bandy was known in Wales as Bando. It was played throughout the country in varying forms and is still to be found in some areas. The earliest example of the Welsh language term bando occurs in a dictionary by John Walters published in 1770–94. It was particularly popular in the Cynfdg-Margam district of the Vale of Glamorgan where wide stretches of sandy beaches afforded ample room for play. As a winter sport, British bandy originated in the Fens of East Anglia where large expanses of ice formed on flooded meadows or shallow washes in cold winters, and skating was a tradition. Members of the Bury Fen bandy club published rules of the game in 1882, and introduced it into other countries.
Bandy and hockey were used in parallel for the same sport, but today bandy is played on a frozen football pitch, and hockey on a smaller rink. Bandy/Hockey was divided by the North Americans in the 1800s by shrinking the pitch, goals and reducing the number of players.
England won the European Bandy Championships in 1913, but that turned out to be the grand finale, and bandy is now virtually unknown in England. In March 2004, Norwegian ex-player Edgar Malman invited two big clubs to play an exhibition game in Streatham, London. Russian Champions and World Cup Winner Vodnik met Swedish Champions Edsbyn in a match that ended 5-5.
When the Federation of International Bandy was formed in 1955, with the Soviet Union as one of its founding members, the Russians adopted the international rules of the game developed in England in the 19th century.
Russia is the current world champion in 2007 and the next World Championships will take place in 2008 in Moscow.
Bandy in Sweden is famous for its "culture" - both playing bandy and being a spectator requires great fortitude and dedication. A "bandy briefcase" is the classic accessory for spectating - it is typically made of brown leather, well worn and contain a warm drink in a thermos and/or a flask of liquor.
Bandy is most often played at outdoor arenas during winter time, so the need for spectators to carry flask or thermoses of 'warming' liquid is a natural effect.
The play-off match for the Swedish Championship is played every year on the third Sunday of March at Studenternas Idrottsplats in Uppsala, drawing crowds in excess of 20,000.
After WWII the number of teams rose, but mild winters in the 1970s and 80s shrunk the league, and in 2003 only 5 clubs (teams) fought out the 1st division. Later, the number of artificially frozen pitches has risen, and the number of clubs has started a slight increase.
From 1912 to 1928 the game was played 7-a-side and Ready (Oslo) won 13 titles. Since 1928 the sport has been played 11-a-side, and Drafn (Drammen) have won 18 titles (including one from the 7-man game).
During the 1960s crowd attendance could be anything from 200 to 4000, but these days only a handful visitors cheer their side. Big games though, can still attract 2000 people.