Physically distanced ball hockey becomes reality thanks to innovative rules
MONTREAL -- When it comes to activities that are appropriate for physical distancing, ball hockey isn't likely at the top of the list, but a group of Montreal recreational players believe they have a solution.
The rec league plays every Saturday morning and has incorporated new rules that have games resembling table-top hockey than they do anything you'd see on ice.
“When I tell them about it, about half of them would say 'That sounds stupid, I'm never going to do that,'” said organizer Brent Schiess. “Then the ones who are doubtful show up, they say 'Sign me up, sign me up, this is great.'”
The new rules dictate each player must stay within a chalk box. While their sticks can reach outside, their feet must stay planted within the chalk lines. All contact is eliminated.
The Quebec government has deemed outdoor recreational sports may resume, provided physical distancing measures are respected.
“We needed something,” said participant Freddie James. “We were going crazy in the house.”
There are temptations which players resist in the name of public health.
“It's very difficult to not go after the ball,” said Philippe Leclerc. “You want to give it your best but you have to stay within that line. It's really tough.”
The regulations means some skills have taken on even more importance – tape-to-tape passes have become essential.
“It's not exactly how we would like to play and it's tough to stay within the boundaries,” said Leclerc. “But it's better than nothing.”