Although the sport is now much more organized, for many, their first experience remains the same as for those who first played ball hockey. It simply involved a few friends or family members, an open area, such as a roadway or parking lot near their home, some rocks or bricks to mark the goal posts, a tennis ball, old hockey sticks, and the game was on.
Ball Hockey has been played in Newfoundland since the mid 1970’s. Played in gymnasiums and recreation centers, the sport took on a more structured look with the formation of Floor Hockey Newfoundland in 1978. The first provincial men's “A” championships was held that year in Windsor with sixteen teams competing.
The name changed to Ball Hockey in 1979 as the province became members of the Canadian Ball Hockey Association.
The first representatives at the national championships were the India Bears from St. John’s. They made a very respectable debut finishing fourth. Teams representing Newfoundland have won men’s title on five occasions:
1982 India Bears
1987 Best Western Travellers
1988 Best Western Travellers
2010 Black Horse
The best showing for Newfoundland at the Ladies Championships was a silver medal performance by the C.B.S. Raiders in 1987.
In 1982 a challenge series was held between the Canadian Ball Hockey Champions India Bears and the American champions Can-Am Rams of Leominster, Massachusetts at St. John’s Memorial Stadium. A three game total goal series was arranged with the Bears claiming the title by out scoring the Rams 21-12. The Bears won the opening game 7-4 and followed up with a 9-4 victory in the second game. The third game ended in a 5-5 tie.
During our first two years of provincial competition, regular ice hockey rules were used. In 1980 we adopted the floating blue line off-sides rule and all other Ball Hockey rules.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Ball Hockey Association (NLBHA) is a non-profit group that administers the sport of ball hockey in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The NLBHA is governed on a day-to-day basis by an elected Executive Committee of four (4) people and they take care of the Association for all registered members provincially. Provincial delegates represent their provincial association at CBHA general meetings and establish all rules and regulations governing the sport. These delegates are volunteers elected by the players and leagues within the province.
The NLBHA is a registered member of Sport Newfoundland & Labrador.
The NLBHA provides the following administrative services:
- Organize men's, women's and youth provincial championships
- Assist with setting up ball hockey leagues
- Promote the sport
- Provide registration forms and official game sheets for members
- Distribute rulebooks for members
- Set bylaws and regulations for members as a guideline
- Obtain provincial sponsorships
- Resolve and disputes leagues or teams may have
- Organize regional championships for summer games
- Provide technical support for summer games
- Distribute coaching manuals
- To foster and encourage the sport of ball hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador
- To provide a fun and safe activity for all levels of competition from house league to elite programs
- To promote, supervise and regulate competition in all recognized categories of ball hockey within Newfoundland and Labrador
- To be a leader in the sport's development around the province
- To foster, develop and administrate the sport of ball hockey across province
- To maintain, distribute and uphold the rules and regulations of ball hockey
How To Join
In order to join the NLBHA, leagues must follow these minimum requirements:
- Have appropriate equipment mandatory such as CSA approved helmets and hockey gloves, at all ages and levels.
- Full facial protection for youth programs under 18 years of age and women's programs
- Use the official CBHA ball
- Follow CBHA rules and regulations
- Register 100% of its players, coaches, referees and executives with the CBHA
- Pay required registration fees by the appropriate deadline (contact NLBHA for details)
If you wish to start a new league in a community that does not have a NLBHA registered program, please contact NLBHA and we send you an information package.
To compete in NLBHA provincial, regional or national events, your team must play in a league that is officially registered with the NLBHA. If it is not, speak to your league organizer about joining, or assemble the teams in your league to discuss it. The NLBHA will gladly assist you in supplying all necessary information.
To be eligible to play in NLBHA sanctioned tournaments, provincial, regional or national events, or perhaps even one day try out for Team Canada, you must be officially registered with a team/league that is a member of the NLBHA.
If your league is not a member, please Contact NLBHA for information on How to Join for Leagues & Teams.
Mailing Address: Newfoundland & Labrador Ball Hockey Association
P.O. Box 2579, Stn. C
St. John's, NL
Telephone: (709) 726 – 4576
The object of the game quite simply is to strike the ball with the hockey stick and knock it into the opponent's hockey net (6 feet wide x 4 feet high, 1.83 m x 1.22 m). Typically, a low-bounce type of ball is used. For added safety, hockey gloves and helmets are recommended, and in fact are mandatory for play in our member leagues.
Any size or type of non-slip flooring can be used as a playing field. In Canada, most of our leagues operate in hockey arenas or gymnasiums. All CBHA provincial, regional and national events are held in full sized hockey arenas (generally around 200 feet long x 85 feet wide, 60.96 m x 25.91 m). When played on the surface of a hockey rink, six players, including the goalie, compete against the opposing team's six players. Extra players are usually kept on each bench, outside the playing surface, and interchanged with the six on the floor either during play or at a stoppage of play.
When played on smaller surfaces, fewer players can be used during play. In its simplest form, the game can be played without floor markings and few rules. However, in organized competition regular ice hockey floor markings are used, including goal lines, goal creases, blue lines, center line, face-off circles and neutral zone face-off dots.The following are additional rules:
• Face-offs (players are lined up facing each other in a designated area on the floor), are used at the start of each period of play and after goals, penalties, icing, offside, or when the ball leaves the playing area.
• Penalties are called when a player commits a foul. The offending player is then removed from playing for a period of time, depending on the severity of the infraction and the team continues play one player short until the penalty has elapsed.
• When an offside occurs Play is stopped. Before entering an opponent team's zone (the area from behind their net to their blue line) the ball must cross the blue line first before the player or any of his team mates.
• Icing (or flooring) occurs when a team shoots the ball before the shooting player physically crosses the center line and the ball passes the opponent's goal line before any player, of either team, can touch it. A stoppage of play shall occur with the ensuing faceoff taking place in the end zone of the team that shot the ball. If the goalie touches the ball, or the shot creates a goal, there is no icing on the play.
• "Floating Blue Line": expansion of the offensive zones occurs once a team crosses the opponent's blue line with the ball. The attacking team will then have half of the entire playing surface within which to control the ball, from behind the opponent's goal to the center line of the area. If the defending team sends the ball past center, the zone is reset to the blue line and their opponent must regain it as explained above.
• To score a legal goal, it cannot be kicked in; nor struck with a stick above the shoulders; nor pushed in using the hand, nor while offside.
Games may vary in length, but are generally played with either two or three periods of equal time, example 10 or 15 minute periods. Where a time clock is available, there is a stoppage in play, after a goal, penalty, offside, icing, ball out of play, or goaltender holding the ball for more than a few seconds. If a clock is not available, or the time available to play is limited, running time periods may be used, for example three 15 minute periods.
Rules & Regulations
All member leagues must follow the rules & regulations of the Canadian Ball Hockey Association. A copy of the rulebook is distributed to each team at the start of each year.
The current CBHA regulations are subject to change at each general meeting of provincial presidents. Any questions or suggestions should be channeled through your leagues executive to your provincial association. If you are unable to obtain the info you require, you may contact NLBHA for details.
All players must wear a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved helmet, approved hockey gloves and running shoes. Women and players under the age of 18 are required to wear full facial protection as well.
Although not mandatory, it is recommended that players wear elbow pads, athletic cup, soft knee pads and shin guards. As well, adult men should consider wearing facial protection to protect their eyes. Standard ice hockey sticks are used to play the game.
Three types of balls are officially recognized for play by the CBHA. It is usually orange in appearance and not much larger than a tennis ball. A hard (Pro) Version is recommended for adult warm climate play. A semi-soft (street) version is recommended for younger youth age groups and play during colder climates. CBHA member leagues must use either version manufactured by D-Gel with product numbers (330) pro ball and (350) street ball with the official CBHA logo.
Programs available,with the youngest age groups commencing at five years old. Youth leagues typically run in groupings of two to three years depending on the size of the community and number of participants. A sample program may offer the following age groups (the division names may vary):
• Junior - under 18 (as at start of year)
• Bantam - under 16
• Pee Wee - under 14
• Atom - under 12
• Novice - under 10
• Tyke - under 8
• Squirt - under 6
Men's programs usually commence at 18 years of age, however, allowing under 18's to play with parental consent if no youth program exists in their community. For the men's program, we have two levels of play Tier I & Tier II) based on competitiveness of the player/team.
As with most provinces we offer women's programs with no age minimums to encourage participation.
As players/teams succeed at each level, they are normally expected to graduate to higher competitive levels of play if offered in their communities, in order to keep programs fair and fun for all participants.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Ball Hockey Association is ran by an elected executive. The executive is responsible for the day to day operations, rules and regulations, and promoting ball hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador.