What Is Dek Hockey?

playing dek hockey
13 Apr, 24

Earlier in 2022, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Toyota SportsPlex introduced the sport of Dek Hockey to NEPA. The first outdoor rink in the area was completed in October of 2022, and a full menu of activities is being planned for the spring of 2023.

What is Dek Hockey?

Dek Hockey – often used interchangeably with street hockey, gym hockey, or ball hockey – is a variation of ice hockey. Although these terms refer to hockey played on foot with a ball, they have a different level of organization, rink dimensions, and surfaces. The game’s concept uses a ball and plastic hockey sticks in an enclosed area on dry land, and players run in shoes instead of skates. Here is the complete breakdown of what dek hockey is, the history, equipment, and more.

The tiles of the rink on which dek hockey is played are called ‘dek’ surfaces, named after the material of the boards. The sport grew from street hockey to playing on these tiles or deks, made for indoor and outdoor rinks. The players began referring to the sports court as ‘the dek’ and the sport as playing dek hockey.

When Did Dek Hockey Begin?

In the 1970s, Raymond W. Leclerc built the first three outdoor dek hockey rinks in Leominster, which came to be known as the Leominster DekHockey Center. Leclerc also created the ‘No-Bounce Orange Ball,’ used for ball hockey and dek hockey leagues. Therefore, he is the founder and father of street hockey and dek hockey in North America.

Where Was The First Rink Built?

Leominster, Massachusetts, is home to the first dek hockey rink, made in the 1970s. Today, the rink is now known as the Leominster DeckHockey Center. The official address is 56 Mead Street, Leominster, MA, 01453.

What Are The Dimensions For A Dek Hockey Rink?

The dek hockey rink is typically smaller than the ball hockey rink and accommodates 3v3 or 4v4, excluding the goalie. Back in the 1970s, when Raymond built the dek surface, leagues offered 5v5 gameplays. The rink dimensions were 160x80ft in size.

Today, however, rinks are smaller. Below are the sizes for the different numbers of players playing a game. You can also find hybrid-sized rinks, such as 105 x 55 ft and 140 x 60 ft.

  • 100 x 50 ft for 3 × 3 play
  • 120 x 60 ft for 4 × 4 play
  • 155 x 80 ft for 5 × 5 play

What is the Difference Between Dek Hockey and Ball Hockey?

The terms dek hockey and ball hockey are interchangeable. These terms all describe hockey games on foot, using a ball instead of a puck. However, each of them has characteristics that separate them. For example, ball hockey is played on a concrete rink, while dek hockey is played on a boarded rink called a sports court with blue tiles.

Ball hockey is a competitive, fast-paced sport similar to ice hockey, and the rink typically has larger dimensions than the one used in dek hockey. In dek hockey, 160×80 ft or larger rinks include both the center line and blue lines, while the smaller rinks for 3v3 and 4v4 playoffs only have a centerline. In contrast, the blue line determines offsides in ball hockey primarily.

What Equipment Do You Need to Play?

The necessary equipment is minimal. The gear consists of protective gear, running shoes, gloves, shin guards, a helmet, and a hockey stick. Also, the two opposing teams must wear different color jerseys during a game. The different color helps distinguish between one group and the other.

What is the Official Ball & Net?

The standard ball for dek hockey is the Mylec and D-gel brand ball. This ball is for dek hockey because it has a hard outer layer for better stickhandling and is liquid on the inside to mitigate the bounce. The net is 6x4ft with a 27-inch depth at the base and an 18-inch depth at the crossbar level.

What Sticks Do You Use?

Plastic hockey sticks work best. You can use regular ice hockey sticks for dek hockey, but you should tape up the stick blade so it won’t get caught on the playing surface.

Is There Checking In Dek Hockey?

Unlike in regular ice hockey, where checking occurs, you can’t check in dek hockey. Checking, or cross-checking in hockey, is the act of a player forcefully crashing or colliding with an opponent. Checking of any kind is strictly prohibited in street hockey and dek hockey as they are noncontact sports. Since the players don’t where protective gear, someone can be seriously injured by checking. Any player who uses checking of any type during the game is liable to a minor or major penalty at the referee’s discretion.

How Many Periods Are In Dek Hockey?

Each game has three 15-minute periods of play, with a 3-minute intermission between periods. If the two teams are tied at the end of the three periods, a 5-minute sudden death round occurs, and the last-minute use of a stopwatch.

Each team will receive one timeout, which can only occur when play is at a stoppage.

Is There A Hall Of Fame For Dek Hockey?

The Hall of Fame ceremony occurs at Lemonister Dekhockey Center. As of January 2022, twenty members are part of the hall of fame. Each of these twenty members played an integral role in growing the game of dek hockey. Check out the U.S. Dek Hockey Federation website to learn about each member.

Dek Hockey in Northeast PA

If you would like more info on future programs at the new Dek Hockey Rink, learn more here. In the meantime, there are plenty of individual tickets available for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins games. Get your tickets today!

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