Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

Post by John Hoote » Fri, 23 Mar 2001 16:27:44


I was in the Public Library recently to research something on the
General Reference Magazine Catalogue. Before leaving I did a quick
search for unicycle articles and found the following story about
Unicycle Hockey in the March 2001 issue of Hockey Digest. The article on
the screen in the Library was accompanied by photos taken during the the
gold medal game of the Unicycle hockey tournament at Unicon X last
summer. I was able to print the article including the photos. I was also
able to forward the text to my email address. The text is below,
unfortunately it does not include photos.

John Hooten

InfoTrac Web: General Reference Center Gold.

   Source:  Hockey Digest, March 2001 v29 i5 p58.

    Title:  Wheel's On Fire.(unicycle hockey)
   Author:  CHUCK O'DONNELL

 Subjects:  Cyclists - Competitions
            Hockey - Innovations
Locations:  Canada

Electronic Collection:  A69750741
                   RN:  A69750741

Full Text COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing

Unicycle hockey players all over the world are having a wheel good time,
and
wish you were, too

They converge every Thursday night in the fall and winter on the
Cordella
public school in Toronto. It's the highlight of the week for these movie

camera repairmen, students, Website designers, teachers, and others who
put
the world on hold, put the nets in place, pick up the sticks, and throw
down
the ball.

Sounds like another pickup game of deck hockey or floor hockey? Well,
yes and
no.

It is floor hockey, but the Toronto Unicyclists hockey team puts a
unique spin
on a sport in which "cycling" is a term that isn't usually meant in a
literal
sense. Perched precariously atop one wheel, trying to negotiate a street

hockey ball or a tennis ball across a gym floor, the action is non-stop.

Having trouble visualizing this? Think of it as the X Games meets Wayne
Gretzky. The Ringling Brothers meet the Hanson Brothers. The high-wire
act
meets the leftwing lock. BMX meets the NHI.

[Graphic omitted]Think of it fast and furious fun played with some real
gusto.
"It's really fast-paced," says Darren Bedford, a member of the club
since it
was founded in 1987 by unicyclists who were looking to try something a
little
different. "There are a lot of collisions. You may turn to look for the
ball,
not see where you're going, and run into someone. You can't always
instantly
stop on a unicycle. The maneuverability [on unicycles] is harder [than
on ice
skates]."

In the beginning, Bedford's crew, believed to be the longest-running
club in
North America, would play on the playground outside. They would spend a
few
hours just shoveling off the snow until "we were almost too tired to
play," he
says. Surprised people would stop and ogle. "Most of the feedback we
have had
has been very positive," says Bedford, whose club has about a dozen
members
between the ages of 10 and 60. "People would stop and see what we were
up to.
They were a bit curious. A lot of them couldn't believe it was possible
to do
all that [while riding a unicycle]." They've since found it easier, and
a lot
less strenuous, to rent space in the school's gym.

And although the Toronto townspeople can't wander by and watch, they
would
probably be shocked to learn that unicycle hockey has been played in
several
countries across the globe for several years.

For instance, at the 2000 world championships held in August in Beijing,

China, 20 teams from nine countries--Denmark, France, China, Great
Britain,
Japan, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, the United States, and
Germany--competed.

Unicycle hockey may be most popular in England and Germany, the only two

countries to have national leagues. The sport seems to be taking off in
Germany, in particular, where 26 teams compete in the national league.
It is
also home to the world champs, LAHIMO, which crushed the Twin City
Unicycle
Club of Minnesota, 23-2, in the tournament final.

"LAHIMO started playing in 1985, so they have a lot of experience," says
Rolf
Sander, a former LAHIMO member who now plays for RADLOS of Frankfurt.
"They
have been by far the strongest team for quite a while but now there are
some
other very good teams in Germany. I have to admit that LAHIMO was quite
lucky
that these other clubs did not send their complete teams to the world
championships in China this year."

Sander has gone from just a unicycle hockey player to an amateur
historian of
the sport. The earliest mention of the sport he has been able to uncover
dates
back to 1925, when a silent German movie called "Variete" shows "a short
scene
with two unicyclists performing on a stage. One has a hockey stick, the
other
is swinging a walking stick. They have tiny goals and they use something
like
a crumpled towel as a ball."

The first reference he has found to unicycle hockey in the United States
goes
back to 1960, when an article in The Bicycle Journal mentioned the
Albuquerque
Unicycle Club of New Mexico had taken up the sport.

Sander says, however, that the grandfather of the unicycle clubs was
Wheel
People, a group that formed in California in 1976. Playing under the
golden
sunshine, they were trailblazers in the sport, forming many of the rules
by
which the game is played today. The club disbanded in the mid-1980s, but
not
before it was joined by other major clubs in North America such as
Harvey Mudd
College Gonzo Unicycle Madness in California and Association de
Monocycle de
Quebec in Quebec City.

Many of the rules seem to be enforced universally. You can't take part
in the
play unless you're on top of your unicycle. So if you fall off, you have
to
get back on before continuing. At the beginning of the game and after
each
goal, all players go to their own half of the surface where play resumes
as
soon as a player of the team in possession crosses the center line. And
if you
knock the ball out of the playing surface, a player from the other team
brings
it back in from the point of exit.

[Graphic omitted]But other rules differ from club to club. For instance,
the
German teams play with goalies, using a larger net. The Toronto
Unicyclists
don't use a goalie, per se, although one of the four or five players on
a side
can go back and defend the net. Consequently, they use a smaller net,
about 12
inches high by 18 inches wide. The Germans use your average ice hockey
stick,
while the Toronto crew uses street hockey sticks with plastic blades.

Finding a stick isn't a problem, since players don't play using one of
those
tall unicycles you may have seen in a circus. They sit about four or
five
inches above the ground. "Actually, the proper length [of a stick] is
more or
less a matter of taste," says Sander. "People who are good hockey
players but
only mediocre unicyclists seem to prefer longer sticks. This gives them
a
larger action radius. Good unicyclists, on the other hand, often have
short
sticks because they are fast and they prefer to ride quickly to wherever
the
ball is."

What makes a good unicycle hockey player isn't much different from what
makes
a good ice hockey player. Sander suggests that, like hockey players who
first
learn to skate before learning to stick handle and shoot, the basis for
a good
unicycle hockey player is the ability to ride well.

"A good balance between hockey and unicycling skills is necessary to
become a
good player," says Sander. "But you won't become a good player as long
as you
don't unicycle properly. However, even the best unicyclists are not good

players unless they practice shooting the ball and team strategy."

And of course, it doesn't hurt your chances of success if you're willing
to
stick your nose into the action like a Claude Lemieux or a Matthew
Barnaby.

"Since you're moving as fast as guys on ice skates, there's less
maneuverability," says Bedford. "This leads to collisions and spills.
You
might get a little road rash on you arms. A few of the players wear
elbow pads
or gloves. No one really wears helmets."

[Graphic omitted]Says Sander: "Although bruises are quite normal, not
many
serious accidents have happened in the 15 years that I've been playing.
Yes,
we had to go to the hospital a few times to stitch a wound. However, if
you
compare it to other sports such as soccer I think the danger is below
average."

The next world championships are scheduled for Washington state in 2002.

People inside the sport are hoping flint by bringing the world
championships
to the biggest stage in the world, the United States, that word of their
new,
exciting sport will get out in a big way.

And as the players continue to improve and their numbers grow, players
such as
Bedford dare to harbor golden dreams. "The International Unicycling
Federation
is hoping that unicycle hockey will be an Olympic sport someday," he
says.
"That's their dream. They're always adding games to the Olympics. You
need to
have 16 countries playing the sport to get the Olympic committee's
attention.
Maybe someday, that will happen. I hope so."

                                -- End --

 
 
 

Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

Post by Darren Bedfor » Sat, 24 Mar 2001 06:03:52



Quote:
>I was in the Public Library recently to research something on the
>General Reference Magazine Catalogue. Before leaving I did a quick
>search for unicycle articles and found the following story about
>Unicycle Hockey in the March 2001 issue of Hockey Digest. The article on
>the screen in the Library was accompanied by photos taken during the the
>gold medal game of the Unicycle hockey tournament at Unicon X last
>summer. I was able to print the article including the photos. I was also
>able to forward the text to my email address. The text is below,
>unfortunately it does not include photos.

>John Hooten

>InfoTrac Web: General Reference Center Gold.

>   Source:  Hockey Digest, March 2001 v29 i5 p58.

>    Title:  Wheel's On Fire.(unicycle hockey)
>   Author:  CHUCK O'DONNELL

> Subjects:  Cyclists - Competitions
>            Hockey - Innovations
>Locations:  Canada

>Electronic Collection:  A69750741
>                   RN:  A69750741

>Full Text COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing

>Unicycle hockey players all over the world are having a wheel good time,
>and
>wish you were, too

>They converge every Thursday night in the fall and winter on the
>Cordella
>public school in Toronto. It's the highlight of the week for these movie

>camera repairmen, students, Website designers, teachers, and others who
>put
>the world on hold, put the nets in place, pick up the sticks, and throw
>down
>the ball.

>Sounds like another pickup game of deck hockey or floor hockey? Well,
>yes and
>no.

>It is floor hockey, but the Toronto Unicyclists hockey team puts a
>unique spin
>on a sport in which "cycling" is a term that isn't usually meant in a
>literal
>sense. Perched precariously atop one wheel, trying to negotiate a street

>hockey ball or a tennis ball across a gym floor, the action is non-stop.

>Having trouble visualizing this? Think of it as the X Games meets Wayne
>Gretzky. The Ringling Brothers meet the Hanson Brothers. The high-wire
>act
>meets the leftwing lock. BMX meets the NHI.

>[Graphic omitted]Think of it fast and furious fun played with some real
>gusto.
>"It's really fast-paced," says Darren Bedford, a member of the club
>since it
>was founded in 1987 by unicyclists who were looking to try something a
>little
>different. "There are a lot of collisions. You may turn to look for the
>ball,
>not see where you're going, and run into someone. You can't always
>instantly
>stop on a unicycle. The maneuverability [on unicycles] is harder [than
>on ice
>skates]."

>In the beginning, Bedford's crew, believed to be the longest-running
>club in
>North America, would play on the playground outside. They would spend a
>few
>hours just shoveling off the snow until "we were almost too tired to
>play," he
>says. Surprised people would stop and ogle. "Most of the feedback we
>have had
>has been very positive," says Bedford, whose club has about a dozen
>members
>between the ages of 10 and 60. "People would stop and see what we were
>up to.
>They were a bit curious. A lot of them couldn't believe it was possible
>to do
>all that [while riding a unicycle]." They've since found it easier, and
>a lot
>less strenuous, to rent space in the school's gym.

>And although the Toronto townspeople can't wander by and watch, they
>would
>probably be shocked to learn that unicycle hockey has been played in
>several
>countries across the globe for several years.

>For instance, at the 2000 world championships held in August in Beijing,

>China, 20 teams from nine countries--Denmark, France, China, Great
>Britain,
>Japan, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, the United States, and
>Germany--competed.

>Unicycle hockey may be most popular in England and Germany, the only two

>countries to have national leagues. The sport seems to be taking off in
>Germany, in particular, where 26 teams compete in the national league.
>It is
>also home to the world champs, LAHIMO, which crushed the Twin City
>Unicycle
>Club of Minnesota, 23-2, in the tournament final.

>"LAHIMO started playing in 1985, so they have a lot of experience," says
>Rolf
>Sander, a former LAHIMO member who now plays for RADLOS of Frankfurt.
>"They
>have been by far the strongest team for quite a while but now there are
>some
>other very good teams in Germany. I have to admit that LAHIMO was quite
>lucky
>that these other clubs did not send their complete teams to the world
>championships in China this year."

>Sander has gone from just a unicycle hockey player to an amateur
>historian of
>the sport. The earliest mention of the sport he has been able to uncover
>dates
>back to 1925, when a silent German movie called "Variete" shows "a short
>scene
>with two unicyclists performing on a stage. One has a hockey stick, the
>other
>is swinging a walking stick. They have tiny goals and they use something
>like
>a crumpled towel as a ball."

>The first reference he has found to unicycle hockey in the United States
>goes
>back to 1960, when an article in The Bicycle Journal mentioned the
>Albuquerque
>Unicycle Club of New Mexico had taken up the sport.

>Sander says, however, that the grandfather of the unicycle clubs was
>Wheel
>People, a group that formed in California in 1976. Playing under the
>golden
>sunshine, they were trailblazers in the sport, forming many of the rules
>by
>which the game is played today. The club disbanded in the mid-1980s, but
>not
>before it was joined by other major clubs in North America such as
>Harvey Mudd
>College Gonzo Unicycle Madness in California and Association de
>Monocycle de
>Quebec in Quebec City.

>Many of the rules seem to be enforced universally. You can't take part
>in the
>play unless you're on top of your unicycle. So if you fall off, you have
>to
>get back on before continuing. At the beginning of the game and after
>each
>goal, all players go to their own half of the surface where play resumes
>as
>soon as a player of the team in possession crosses the center line. And
>if you
>knock the ball out of the playing surface, a player from the other team
>brings
>it back in from the point of exit.

>[Graphic omitted]But other rules differ from club to club. For instance,
>the
>German teams play with goalies, using a larger net. The Toronto
>Unicyclists
>don't use a goalie, per se, although one of the four or five players on
>a side
>can go back and defend the net. Consequently, they use a smaller net,
>about 12
>inches high by 18 inches wide. The Germans use your average ice hockey
>stick,
>while the Toronto crew uses street hockey sticks with plastic blades.

>Finding a stick isn't a problem, since players don't play using one of
>those
>tall unicycles you may have seen in a circus. They sit about four or
>five
>inches above the ground. "Actually, the proper length [of a stick] is
>more or
>less a matter of taste," says Sander. "People who are good hockey
>players but
>only mediocre unicyclists seem to prefer longer sticks. This gives them
>a
>larger action radius. Good unicyclists, on the other hand, often have
>short
>sticks because they are fast and they prefer to ride quickly to wherever
>the
>ball is."

>What makes a good unicycle hockey player isn't much different from what
>makes
>a good ice hockey player. Sander suggests that, like hockey players who
>first
>learn to skate before learning to stick handle and shoot, the basis for
>a good
>unicycle hockey player is the ability to ride well.

>"A good balance between hockey and unicycling skills is necessary to
>become a
>good player," says Sander. "But you won't become a good player as long
>as you
>don't unicycle properly. However, even the best unicyclists are not good

>players unless they practice shooting the ball and team strategy."

>And of course, it doesn't hurt your chances of success if you're willing
>to
>stick your nose into the action like a Claude Lemieux or a Matthew
>Barnaby.

>"Since you're moving as fast as guys on ice skates, there's less
>maneuverability," says Bedford. "This leads to collisions and spills.
>You
>might get a little road rash on you arms. A few of the players wear
>elbow pads
>or gloves. No one really wears helmets."

>[Graphic omitted]Says Sander: "Although bruises are quite normal, not
>many
>serious accidents have happened in the 15 years that I've been playing.
>Yes,
>we had to go to the hospital a few times to stitch a wound. However, if
>you
>compare it to other sports such as soccer I think the danger is below
>average."

>The next world championships are scheduled for Washington state in 2002.

>People inside the sport are hoping flint by bringing the world
>championships
>to the biggest stage in the world, the United States, that word of their
>new,
>exciting sport will get out in a big way.

>And as the players continue to improve and their numbers grow, players
>such as
>Bedford dare to harbor golden dreams. "The International Unicycling
>Federation
>is hoping that unicycle hockey will be an Olympic sport someday," he
>says.
>"That's their dream. They're always adding games to the Olympics. You
>need to
>have 16 countries playing the sport to get the Olympic committee's
>attention.
>Maybe someday, that will happen. I hope so."

>                                -- End --

Hello everyone !

Darren Bedford here in Toronto.
If you would like to check out some Extreme unicycle hockey...
Check out:   http://torontounicyclists.tripod.com
and look under photo's, Darren's photo's for unicycle hockey with a FLAMING PUCK !
There are a few photo's and we will demonstrate it at the NUC in July 2001.
We are the hosting club and would like to welcome all unicyclists to Toronto !!!
We have close to 200 people registered and are working hard to make this NUC unbelievable.
Please check out our site and will see you soon in Toronto Canada.

Darren

_______________________________________________
Submitted via WebNewsReader of ...

read more »