5 Epic Tips for an Inline Player Moving to Ice Hockey

by Simon | Updated On: February 8th, 2020
hockey fishbowl

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Are you considering moving from inline or roller hockey to ice hockey? Maybe you’re curious about how the two forms of the sport compare? Does hitting the ice seem like a drastic change? Fear not, we’re here with a helpful guide for you!

Inline hockey and ice hockey share many rules, types of equipment, and skills. However, notable differences include moving from wheels to blades that cut through the ice. There are minor rule changes like icing and the addition of two bluelines that control the offside rule in ice hockey.

Moreover Equipment such as shoulder pads and gloves are typically bulkier and offer more padding to better protect against a much heavier puck and more aggressive play (checking & fighting).

The following tips provide all that you need to know to make the move from roller to ice.

Tip #1: Get Used to Skating on Ice

The major change for ice hockey is the playing surface. 

If you are not used to skating on ice, this should be the main focus of your shift to ice hockey. Instruction can assist with your knowledge of ice skating.

Inline hockey is played on sport court or a wood or plastic tile surface. Your inline skates with rubber wheels assist with skating balance and strength.

Though the motions for inline skating and ice skating are similar, the feel of using thin steel skate-blades on ice is noticeably different. 

Balance, tight turns, and stopping on ice will be difficult to master at first. These skills require good edgework and practice!

hockey player

Tip #2: Buy Ice Hockey Pants and Shoulder Pads

Most pieces of equipment used in ice hockey and inline hockey are the same. Pants (or shorts as they are known in Europe) are the exception.

Ice hockey pants are bulkier and fit more loosely than inline hockey pants. You will also need an athletic supporter (or “jock strap”) that is purchased separately from your ice hockey pants.

Shoulder pads will be the only other piece of equipment you’ll need in addition to pants and skates (which we’ve already touched on). Your inline hockey shin pads, socks, elbow pads, gloves, helmet, stick, and jersey are good to go for ice hockey.

All professional ice hockey players and most recreational players wear shoulder pads. They protect your torso and shoulders from collisions, raised pucks, and cross-checks.

Difference Between Ice and Inline Hockey Equipment - Ice Hockey vs Roller Hockey

Tip #3: Adjust to Ice Hockey Rules

For starters, you’ll need to add one player to each team’s on-ice lineup. Ice hockey plays a 5-on-5 game, plus one goalie per side, whereas inline hockey usually runs 4-on-4 plus the goalies.

Inline hockey has only two zones, split with a centre redline.

Ice hockey, meanwhile, has three zones created by one blueline on both sides of the centre redline. The offside rule applies to each blueline in ice hockey, rather than only the redline of inline hockey.

Inline hockey’s “clearing” rule is called “icing” in ice hockey. 

Tip #4: Expect a Faster Game

Ice skating translates to a faster hockey game than inline hockey’s skates and surfaces. 

Most players also start out playing ice hockey, not inline hockey, so many of them will be skilled skaters and move the puck quickly. 

Tip #5: The Ice Hockey Puck Is Heavier and Harder 

Ice hockey pucks are made of vulcanized rubber and are significantly heavier than the plastic inline hockey puck that you are used to -- however because ice is so slippery the puck slides with less or similiar effort.

While this weight difference is not substantial, it is enough that it will take some getting used to.

inline to ice

For inline hockey players, switching to ice hockey is a series of minor adjustments. Your top priority should be to improve your ice-skating abilities. Small equipment and rule changes are easy to adapt to. Your biggest obstacle will be translating your inline hockey abilities to ice skates!

Simon, the founder of Brave Stick Hockey, started playing hockey in 2003. He launched this website in 2018 to help new hockey players and fans learn more about the game and have more fun while learning.