On ice the game is played on ice skates; on pavement it may be played in shoes or in inline skates. The goals often are marked by whatever objects are handy (for example, using two soda cans or water bottles as goal posts), although goal nets either designed for street hockey or ice hockey could also be used. Trash cans are also commonly used objects when there is no goal present for street hockey games.
Due to the general prohibition of body checks, most of the pads and other safety equipment used for ice or roller hockey are not worn or required to be worn in street hockey games. However, most "skaters" tend to play with a minimum of hockey gloves and shin guards. Shin guard are often of the soccer type when the game is played on foot. Goalies typically wear equipment similar in appearance to their ice hockey counterparts so as to help block more of the goal area. However, such goalie equipment used in street hockey is generally lighter than that used in ice hockey due to the reduced weight and density of the ball that is typically used in street hockey as compared to the rubber puck used in ice hockey.
A street hockey stick is a special kind of stick. It has two main parts,the shaft,or stick,and the blade. The shaft is often made of aluminum or wood. The blade is usually made of polyurethane. The blade attaches to the shaft by a screw. Some street hockey sticks are made in one-piece form and are made out of plastic. Ice hockey and inline hockey sticks can also be used. However, street hockey sticks are usually cheaper and are more common for this reason.
The word 'CAR!' is a common one to hear on busier streets which generally means 'stop the game and move the goal nets'. This is often followed by the phrase "game on" once the car has passed. The game often begins with a so called 'NHL faceoff', in which the two opposing centers hit their sticks against each other three times saying "N", "H", "L". Immediately following the "L" the two players fight to see who claims possession of the ball or puck.
Although Street hockey is popular throughout Canada and the United States, some residents have raised concerns about how street hockey disturbs suburban neighbourhoods with the noise that the game creates and balls being accidentally shot into the residents' yards. In big cities, however, there are concerns such as cars and pedestrians. In Toronto, a ban was recently imposed on playing street hockey on city streets, but was turned down due to public outcry against this controversial idea.
A popular alternative to playing hockey on the street in Canada is to play in outdoor lacrosse boxes. The lacrosse boxes contain the same asphalt surface as the streets, but offers a more realistic feeling of hockey since the playing area is larger than the average street, plus there are boards that surround the lacrosse box. The only downside to this is the smaller size of the lacrosse nets that are already in place.
Similarly to lacrosse boxes, outdoor roller hockey rinks are becoming quite popular in public areas around the United States which allow for a place to play off the sometimes dangerous streets. Outdoor roller hockey rinks are usually covered in a sport court surface so equipment does not wear down as quickly as on asphalt. Many can also be covered to allow play during wet weather, and lighted for nighttime hockey.
Street hockey is most popular in Canada, and parts of the northern United States. It is also quite popular on outdoor roller rinks, city parks, and playgrounds of New York City, Toronto, and Montreal.
In the United States the term "street hockey" is a generic one and usually refers to an ice hockey based game that is played without inline skates (when inline skates are worn the game is usually called roller hockey) and is rarely played on public streets. In the United States "street hockey" is most often played on outdoor basketball or tennis courts as well as indoor basketball courts and/or gymnasiums. The walls or fencing of these "rinks" serve to keep the ball (or the less often used puck) in play similarly to the boards of an ice rink. The United States definition of "street hockey" is more closely related to that of the Canadian terms "dek hockey" or "ball hockey."
In 1970 Raymond W Leclerc regarded as the Founder and Father of organized Street Hockey/Dekhockey in the USA and Canada. Ray Leclerc created the NO BOUNCE ORANGE BALL.
With the success of the widely-used orange ball for street hockey, many different color varieties have been introduced, such as yellow, red, pink, and even a glow in the dark ball.
Mr Leclerc then established the basics of the game an Official Rink 160 ft long by 80 ft wide, special lightweight protective equipment and a game that featured NO CHECKING and that all players ages 4 to over 50 could play. He then established an organization ASHI/IDTA with a special Street Hockey Rule Book to control the game.
Mr Leclerc built a model site to play and advance the game known as "Home of Street Hockey" in Leominster Ma., 3 Outdoor rinks, with the Headquarters and governing body of Street Hockey/Dekhockey.
The next evolution took place with the first sanctioned Official US Nationals played in Leominster Ma in 1974.
Today the US Nationals are an annual event and the game has advanced with Indoor and Outdoor rinks playing on special plastic modular Sports Surface. Tournaments continue are all over the world and most recently in 2006 Disney World, Orlando, Florida hosted the first USA CUP . The Leominster Rams have won 16 National titles, including four of the last five. The Rams have travelled all over Canada since being established in 1975 by Dave Kornik and Chris Housser. To date the Rams have won over 90 Street Hockey titles and are to their sport what the Montreal Canadiens are to Ice Hockey. The Rams won the 2008 title with a 3-2 overtime win over Pittsburgh, Pa. Bobby Housser was named the MVP for assisting Steve Kendall to tie the game with 8 seconds left and then his Overtime game-winning goal.
There are now a number of organized street hockey/dek hockey/ball hockey leagues throughout the United States and the world, in a number of cities, and for a variety of age groups. These leagues are played both indoors and outdoors, usually on rinks used by roller hockey leagues. Street/dek/ball hockey has a national organization and world championships. One non-professional Canadian league is the Canadian Ball Hockey League in which teams from across Canada play in the U.S. under rules variant to standard Dek Hockey. There are also many regional hockey leagues throughout Canada including the York Central Ball Hockey League. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada it administers leagues and tournaments for all levels of play from beginner to advanced.
Atlantic Canada, is an example of where the sport is often referred to as "street hockey"
In Wayne's World, the main characters play road hockey, and the custom of yelling "CAR!" and "GAME ON!" was illustrated by them.
In Road Hockey Rumble two hosts spend each episode searching out the best teams they can to compete against each other at street hockey.
In Clerks., the main characters close the store to play street hockey on the roof.