Though roller skates were created in 1760 by John Joseph Merlin, the first roller hockey was probably played in England in 1878 at the Denmark Roller Rink in London. Some sources state that “roller skate hockey” was first played in Kent, England. It didn’t any time for roller hockey to catch on and grow.
By the 1880s, leagues, and rules of play expanded in cities throughout America’s Midwest. The initial games were played on quad skates and the players utilized curved sticks called “canes,” like today’s field hockey sticks. Team play was made up of players attempting to shoot a roller hockey puck or hockey ball into the goal. The team with the highest number of goals won the game.
Roller Hockey’s Future
In 1924, the Roller Sports Federation was created, and its aim was to standardize and rule international play, with yearly world championships beginning in 1936. Since then, roller hockey has achieved popularity all around the globe. But roller hockey history in America hasn’t been one long breakaway. In fact, roller hockey’s attractiveness has fallen and risen. In 1991, roller hockey turned pro with the establishment of Roller Hockey International, which consists of teams around the U.S. complete with talented local amateurs and retired ice hockey professionals.
Different high-profile exhibition games at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, particularly though it was called “rink hockey,” gave the sport real exposure. By 1994, the RHI league had 24 teams. Since then, sadly, leagues have dropped teams faster than pre-fight gloves. Presently, roller hockey is still vastly played on both inline and quad skates and has popularity from Africa to Europe to the Americas.
Roller hockey, as stated, has been an exhibition sport at the Olympics and enjoys global participation in the Roller Hockey World Cup, luring competitive teams from Italy, England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina. Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina are the major powers.