Bandy is a team winter sport that’s played on ice. Skaters use a stick to direct a ball towards the opponent’s goal, similar to ice and field hockey. Additionally, the sport was influenced by the rules of Association Football. The game is played on ice but players use bowed sticks and a ball. Basically, Bandy is somewhere in the middle of ice hockey and field hockey. There are two versions of this sport and both are recognized by the Olympic Committee. There are additional variations but they are played just locally.
Even though it’s recognized by the Olympic Committee, the sport is not a part of the Olympic Games. It was demonstrated once in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. However, it is yet to join the Olympic program. It was said that the 2022 Olympics in Beijing will include new sports. At the moment, Bandy is being considered as a possible candidate to be one of those new sports. Competitions within the sport are organized by the Federation of International Bandy (FIB). For more information about the sport and it’s roots, check their official website.
History of Bandy
The history of the sport has been debated for a long time. Many Russians claim that the origins or Bandy can be traced to Russia. It was called Russian Hockey for many years which is why these claims are made. However, both English and Dutch history have mentions of a similar sport being played on their territories. In England the sport was formed during the winter months. Large expanses of ice would form on the flooded meadows or shallow washes in cold winters, and skating has been a tradition.
Members of the Bury Fen Bandy Clubpublished rules of the game in 1882, and introduced it into other countries. In 1891, the first international match took place. The Bury Fen faces against a team from the Netherlands. That same year an association to organize events in the sport was formed in England. However, even towards the end of the 19th century, the sport was still called hockey on the ice. It was treated as a variant of field hockey.
The first national bandy league was started in Sweden in 1902. The sport immediately became a part of the Nordic Games in the following years. However, Russia is the country that holds the top position for this sport. They are one of the founding nations of the FIB. Additionally, they have fielded the most successful teams in World Championships.
Rules & Equipment
There are eighteen rules in official play, designed to apply to all levels of bandy, although certain modifications for groups such as juniors, veterans 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. Each team has 11 players + substitutes. One of this players is the goalkeeper. Only the goalkeeper can play the ball with his hands and only in his goal area. The rest of the players don’t actually have positions. The coach places them on the field but he doesn’t need to form a specific tactic. There are no defenders, attackers, etc.
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, the substitute must enter the field after the player he is substituting is out of the field. Failure to do so will lead to a 5 minute ban. This part of the rules of Bandy are very similar to handball. The game is officiated by a referee. The referee may have one or two assistant referees. A secretary outside of the field often takes care of the match protocol.
A bandy field is 45–65 meters by 90–110 meters or about the same size as a football pitch. It’s much larger than an ice hockey rink. Along the sidelines a 15 cm high border is placed to prevent the ball from leaving the ice. It should not be attached to the ice, to glide upon collisions, and should end 1–3 meters away from the corners. The goals are 3.5 meters wide and 2.1 meters high. In front of the goal is the penalty area which has a radius of 17 meters.
The rules of Bandy are very straight-forward and similar to hockey. The referee stops the game and puts the ball in play or out of play. When the ball goes out of play or a player breaks the rules, the referee can make several decisions. The play is then restarted with the following methods:
- Corner stroke
- Penalty shot
Additionally, the referee can punish the players with a 10 minute penalty if they are acting outside of the regulations. They get a blue card and if it happens 3 times, the player won’t be able to come back to the game. A match penalty is indicated through the use of a red card. Last but not least, Bandy has the offside rule which works exactly the same way as in Football (Soccer).
The basic Bandy equipment includes skates, helmet, mouth guard, and the goalkeeper also needs a face guard. The teams must wear uniforms that make it easy to distinguish the two teams. The goal keeper wears distinct colors to single him out from his or her teammates, just as in football. The ball is usually orange or cerise. Additionally, players need to wear extra protection elements for their knees, elbows, throat, and genitals. Last but not least, we have the Bandy stick. It needs to be made from wood or any similar material. The stick mustn’t have any metal or sharp parts which can hurt the players.
The sticks are crooked and are divided into five bend categories. In professional play, bend 4 is usually used. The stick needs to have a different color to the ball. Also, it can’t be longer than 127 cm and wider than 7 cm.
As we mentioned above, FIB is in charge or organizing all Bandy competitions. At the moment, the organization has 27 members. They organize World Championships which have a women and youth category as well. There is also a World Cup which is a different competition to the World championships. Additionally, FIB continues to work towards getting Bandy into the Olympic program.
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