World Ball&Dek Hockey Federation

Ball Hockey 5vs5 (5+1)

BALL HOCKEY 5vs5 (5+1)

The game of five players on the field + goalkeeper will have an official name: 5vs5
Rink dimension - LENGHT minimum 48m maximum 61m, WIDTH minimum 24m maximum 30m


2018NITRA U18 

Ball Hockey Competitions


by Domenic Di Gironimo, WBHF President

The World Ball Hockey Federation is pleased to assist Member Nations in the development of hockey through the introduction of the Learn To Play Ball Hockey Program and this document Elite Ball Hockey Rules which reviews the major differences between ice hockey and ball hockey rules in their competitive or elite formats.

It provides hockey organizers the ability to offer advanced players the opportunity to learn international ball hockey rules for use in competitive leagues and international play.

Similar to the WBHF LTP Program, it is also aimed at the education of club administrators, program instructors, referees, coaches, and leaders who will be instrumental in the successful utilization of the program in their communities.

The World Ball Hockey Federation is committed to the development of hockey at the grass roots level, and offers its assistance to its members, in a spirit of cooperation as a part of the hockey family of sports.


Domenic Di Gironimo



Ball Hockey Competitions



The main objective of the WBHF Elite Ball Hockey Rules Manual is to give advanced boys, girls, and adults, a taste of the ball hockey game at the competitive and elite level.

This manual will review the few major differences between ice hockey and ball hockey rules. The majority of international ball hockey rules are based on those of international ice hockey, utilizing all the same floor markings, arena sizes, penalties, face-off procedures, play stoppages, etc.

The major differences are as follows:

  1. All levels of ball hockey are played in a non-contact format. Although some light contact occurs when two players are side by side in play for the ball, no body checking is permitted.

  2. High-sticking the ball is an immediate stoppage in play, and in many programs a minor penalty is assessed. The intent of this rule is to teach players to keep their sticks down below the waist at all times.

  3. Offsides are based on a floating blue-line system which expands the offensive zone to the centre-line once an opponent’s blue-line is gained. This concept is discussed in greater detail within.

A summary of the playing rules are also enclosed, however, they do not contain the entirety of the rules, which can be followed in a regulation IIHF Rule Book.

As well, WBHF Competition information is included for nations interested in competing in ball hockey international events.

For more information regarding the WBHF and for technical assistance, you may visit or contact the following:

Domenic Di Gironimo – President (CAN) Jaroslav Melisek – Vice-President (SVK) Chris Housser – Vice President (USA)


Ball Hockey Competitions


Offsides and the Floating Blue-Line System


Just as in international ice hockey, there is no two-line offside, and players are free to pass the ball from their own end all the way to the opponent’s blue-line.

Where international ball hockey differences is in the clearing of the zone, in order to force an opposing team out of the defending team’s zone, once the blue-line is gained by the opponent, the defending team must send the ball passed the centre-line to reach neutral territory.


Expansion of the offensive zone 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 centre-line of the rink. If the defending team sends the ball passed center, the zone is reset to the blue-line and their opponent must regain it as explained above.


When Team A legally crosses the opponent’s blue-line with possession of the ball, the Attacking Zone expands all the way to the centre- line.


When Team B clears the ball passed the centre-line, the blue-line is reset to its original position.


Ball Hockey Competitions


Summary of Ball Hockey Rules

The WBHF Official Rule Book uses the IIHF Official Rule Book as the reference text and makes the appropriate modifications (highlighted by an underline). A summary of the WBHF Rules are follows:

Section One - The Rink

Rule 101 - Rink

The game of “Ball Hockey” shall be played on a concrete floor or asphalt surface.

Rule 102 - Rink Dimensions

Maximum size shall be 61x30 m, minimum size 56x26 m, corners have radius of 7-8.5 m.

Exceptions: The minimum dimensions of 48x24 m and a minimum radius of 4 m is acceptable for the 5+1 line-up version, BUT, only for rinks currently in use. Rink dimensions from 52x26 m to 45x21 m are appropriate for the 4+1 line-up version.

The rink shall be surrounded by wooden or plastic boards from 1.02 to 1.22 m in height. Protective glass or screen (wire-netting) behind the goal lines is obligatory, not less than 2 m in height (a minimum height of 1.6 m for ice hockey arenas only).

Rule 103 - Goals

Red goal line 5 cm wide to be drawn 4 m from each end. Goal dimensions are 183x122 cm.

Exception: For rinks under 56 m in length, a distance of 3.35 m is appropriate.

Rules 104-108 - Goal Crease, Division of Playing Surface, Face-off Spots and Circles

Goal crease shall be drawn in center of the goal line as a red semi-circle 180 cm in radius.

The area between goal lines is divided into three equal parts by two lines 30 cm in width and blue in color. A center line, 30 cm in width and red in color, is drawn across the rink center.

A blue spot, 30 cm in diameter, and a blue face-off circle 4.5 m in radius and 5 cm in width, is marked in center of the rink. Two red spots 60 cm in diameter (ice hockey type spots with not painted “crescent-moons”) is marked in the neutral zone 1.5 m from each blue line, as well as in the attacking zone, 6 m from each goal line and 7 m on each side of the goal.

The red face-off circles 4.5 m in radius and 5 cm in width are marked in the attacking zone, as well as the ice hockey “T” markings and two restraining lines at the outer edges of the face-off circles.

Exceptions: For rinks under 25.4 m in width, the face-off circles shall be of 4 m radius. For rinks under 26 m in width, the face-off spots shall be 6.7 m on each side of the goal. BUT, on all rinks, the distance between face-off spot and adjacent side boards shall be no less than 5.5 m.

Rules 109-110 - Players' Benches, Penalty Bench

Players' and penalty benches shall be placed in the neutral zone. Penalty bench for each team must be situated opposite the players' benches. The Referees’ crease shall be marked by a red line 5 cm wide as a semi-circle, 3 m in radius, in front of the Official Scorer's bench.

Exception: Only if a position opposite the players' benches is not possible, the penalty bench shall be located at the side of the player's benches.


Ball Hockey Competitions


Rules 111-112 - Signal and Timing Devices, Dressing Rooms and Rink Lighting

Each rink shall have suitable sound device, and some form of electric clock. Each rink shall provide separate rooms, equipped with sanitary toilet and shower, for teams and Referees.

Section Two - Teams

Rule 201 - Composition of Team

A team shall usually have six players on the rink (5+1 line-up version). National Associations, as well as the WBHF, have the authority to use a 4+1 or 3+1 line-up version in games under their jurisdiction for smaller venues.

Rule 202-203 - Captain of Team, Players in Uniform

Identical to the ice hockey rules: A team shall appoint a Captain and two Alternate Captains. A maximum of 20 players, plus 2 goalkeepers, or a minimum of 6 players, shall be permitted in the game. All players of each team shall be dressed uniformly in colour, etc.

Rule 204-206 - Starting Line-up, Change of Players, Injured Players

Identical to the ice hockey rules: Players may be changed at any time within an area limited by the length of their bench and 3 m from the boards. Goalkeeper shall not be permitted to go to the bench during a stoppage of play, otherwise he shall be replaced or a Minor Penalty shall be assessed, etc.

Section Three - Equipment

Rule 301 - Sticks

Players use regular ice hockey sticks, curvature of the blade shall not be restricted. A Minor Penalty shall be imposed on any player guilty of using or wearing illegal equipment or stick.

Rule 302-305 - Footwear, Goalkeeper ́s Equipment, Protective and Dangerous Equipment

Only "running shoe" type footwear is permitted.

Goalkeepers may wear a regular equipment of ice hockey goalkeepers (except skates). All goalkeepers must wear a full face-head protector.

The use of protective ice hockey or ball hockey gloves is mandatory. For international games, all players must wear a hockey helmet. Other protective equipment is optional and must be worn under the uniform.

Palmless or fingerless hockey gloves, shoulder pads of any kind, or pads or protectors, made of metal or any other material likely to cause injury to a player, is prohibited.

Rule 306 - Ball

The ball shall be made of an approved plastic with a diameter of 6.6 cm to 7 cm, orange in colour.

Section Four - Penalties

Rule 401-406 - Minor, Major, Misconduct, and Match Penalties, Penalty Shot

Identical to the ice hockey rules:

Minor or Bench Minor - a player shall be sent off the rink for 2 min, or until the opposing team scores a goal, and no substitute is permitted.


Ball Hockey Competitions


Major - a player shall be sent off the rink for 5 min with no substitute. For the second Major in the same game to same player, or if the Major is for a foul other than holding, hooking, interference, and tripping, a Game Misconduct Penalty shall be assessed in addition.

Misconduct - a player shall be sent off the rink for 10 min, but the substitute is permitted immediately. A second Misconduct to the same player in the same game shall become a Game Misconduct.

Game Misconduct - removal for the remainder of the game, the substitute is permitted immediately. Does not incur automatic suspension for next game.

Gross Misconduct - removal for the remainder of the game, the substitute is permitted immediately. Incurs automatic suspension for next game(s).

Match - removal for the remainder of the game for an offender and a substitute is permitted after 5 min. Incurs automatic suspension for next game(s).

Penalty Shot - a player plays the ball from the center face-off spot towards his opponent's goal line. The team has the option between Penalty Shot and a Minor Penalty. Situations: hooking, tripping, or any foul from behind, or interference, when the player is over the center red line and has no defending player to pass other than the goalkeeper; too many men on the playing surface in the last two minutes of the game; deliberate displacing of the goal during the course of a breakaway or in the last two minutes of the game; falling on the ball, picking-up the ball, or holding the ball, when the ball is within the goal crease; throwing a stick or any object in defending zone in the direction of the ball.

Awarded goal - is not considered a penalty. The goalkeeper must not be present on the rink, then in the same situations as the penalty shot is called for (except “too many men” rule).

Rule 407 - Goalkeeper ́s Penalties

Identical to the ice hockey rules: Goalkeeper shall not be sent to the penalty bench for a Minor, Major or Misconduct Penalty, the penalty shall be served by his teammate who was on the rink, etc.

Rule 408-410 - Delayed Penalties, Calling of Penalties, Supplementary Discipline

Identical to the ice hockey rules: If a third player is penalized while two players of the same team are serving penalties, the third penalty shall not commence until the penalty of one of the two players already penalized has elapsed. For the 4+1 line-up version, the rule is already applied when a second player of any team is penalized. Should an infraction, which would call for a penalty, be committed by a team not in possession of the ball, the Referee shall signify the calling of a penalty by raising his arm and blow his whistle only after the ball has come into the possession of the offending team, etc.

Section Five - Officials

Rule 501-507 - Appointment of Officials, Two Referees, Goal Judges, Penalty Box Attendants, Official Scorer, Game Timekeeper, Proper Authorities
Two Referees, one Game Timekeeper and two Penalty Box Attendants, one Official Scorer with up to two assistants, two Goal Judges, and one Official Announcer shall be appointed for each international game. Two Referees and one Official Scorer is considered a minimum for any game.

Two Referees have equal authority over the game, other rules identical to ice hockey.


Ball Hockey Competitions


Section Six - Playing Rules

Rule 601 - Abuse of Officials and Other Misconduct

Identical to the ice hockey rules: Minor Penalty for disputing the rulings, using abusive language, etc. Bench Minor for offence by unidentifiable person or from the bench. Misconduct Penalty for persisting the conduct penalized by Minor, using abusive language, throwing anything out of the rink, etc. Game Misconduct for persisting the conduct penalized by Misconduct, throwing anything onto the rink (together with a Minor), etc. Gross Misconduct for travesty of the game, or spitting. Holding or striking an official shall be penalized (at the discretion of the Referee) by Misconduct or Game or Gross Misconduct.

Rule 602-605 - Alteration of Equipment, Excessive Rough Play, Boarding, A Broken Stick

Identical to the ice hockey rules: A Minor Penalty for the alteration of equipment on the rink, or using of a broken stick. A Match Penalty for a deliberate action that could cause an injury. A Minor or Major Penalty for striking or throwing the opponent into the boards, etc.

Rule 606 - Charging and Checking From Behind

A direct body-check is considered charging. The other rules identical to the ice hockey ones: A Minor or Major for charging, additional Misconduct or Game Misconduct for checking from behind, etc.

Rule 607- 613 - Cross-Checking, Delaying the Game, Elbowing, Kneeing or Head-Butting, Face-Offs, Falling on the Ball, Fisticuffs or Roughing, Goal and Assist
Identical to the ice hockey rules: A Minor or Major + Game Misconduct Penalty for cross- checking, elbowing, or kneeing, a Minor or Bench Minor Penalty for delaying the game, a Minor Penalty for falling on the ball, a Minor, Double Minor, Major + Game Misconduct, or Match Penalty for fighting, etc.

Rule 614 - Handling the Ball with the Hands

If a player closes his hand on the ball, then drops it immediately on the rink in front of himself and gains no advantage by this action or makes no attempt to gain any advantage, play continues. If there is any infraction, play shall be stopped. When a player holds the ball more than 3 seconds or takes a few steps with the ball, a Minor Penalty shall be imposed. The other rules identical to the ice hockey ones.

Rule 615-617 - High Sticks, Holding, Hooking

Identical to the ice hockey rules: A Minor Penalty for endangering an opponent using a high stick, a Double Minor or a Major + Game Misconduct Penalty for an injury, a Minor or Major Penalty for holding or hooking, etc. The only exception: If a player attempts to make contact with the ball by using a high stick but he does not touch the ball, the situation shall be considered as if the contact was made.

Rule 618 – Flooring (icing) the Ball

"Automatic flooring" is applied: Similar to ice hockey.

Rule 619-623 - Interference, Interference by Spectators, Kicking a Player, Kicking the Ball, Leaving the Players ́ or Penalty Bench
Identical to the ice hockey rules: A Minor Penalty for interference with an opponent who is not in possession of the ball, a Match Penalty for kicking an opponent (an exception: a Double Minor + Misconduct for the less violent action), a Double Minor + Game Misconduct for the first player to leave the players’ or penalty bench during an altercation, and a Misconduct Penalty for the others, etc.


Ball Hockey Competitions


Rule 624 - Off-Sides

Identical to the ice hockey rules (i.e. attacking player may not precede the ball into the attacking zone), except a "Floating Blue Line" Rule: Once the ball crosses the attacking blue line and it is not off-side, then the blue line is eliminated and the attacking zone becomes the area from the centre red line in (the blue line "floats" onto the center red line). If the ball is propelled back into the neutral zone passed the centre red line, then the blue line “returns” and encompasses the attacking zone again.

National Associations have the authority to use no Off-Side Rule in games under their jurisdiction.

Rule 625 - Passes

Centre line off-side does not exist. The rule concerns blue line off-sides.

Rule 626-629 - Ball out of Bounds or Unplayable, Ball Out of Sight and Illegal Ball, Ball Striking Official, Refusing to Start Play
Identical to the ice hockey rules.

Rule 630-633 - Slashing, Spearing or Butt-Ending, Start of Game and Periods, Throwing a Stick

Identical to the ice hockey rules: A Minor or Major Penalty for slashing, a Double Minor + Misconduct for a player who attempts to spear or butt-end, and a Major + Game Misconduct for spearing or butt-ending. A Penalty Shot for throwing any object in the direction of the ball in defending zone and a Major Penalty in the other zones, etc.

Rule 634-635 - Time of Game, Tripping

Three 15-minute periods of stop time and 5-minute pauses will be the time allowed for each game. National Associations have the authority to make own regulations for games under their jurisdiction. The other rules identical to the ice hockey ones: A Minor or Major Penalty for tripping, etc.

Section Seven, Eight - Medical Rules, Doping Rules

Rule 701, 801 - Prevention of Infections, Doping Controls

Identical to the ice hockey rules: A player who is bleeding or is covered by blood must leave the rink for treatment or cleaning, otherwise a Minor Penalty shall be imposed. No blood stained objects shall be used on the rink.

Referees ́ Signals - Identical to the ice hockey rules.


Ball Hockey Competitions


International Competitions & Qualifications


1.1 WBHF Championships (Championship) shall be conducted in accordance with WBHF Organizers Regulations, WBHF Competition Regulations and WBHF Rules of the Game.

1.2 The organizers of WBHF Championships are appointed by the Board of Directors upon proposal from WBHF Technical Committee.

1.3 The responsibilities of the organizers are laid down in the WBHF Organizers Regulations.


2.1 WBHF shall stage World Senior (Men + Women), Continental (European, American, Asian, etc.) and Junior (Under-20 and U-17) Championships for national representative teams, generally held in June, with World Seniors in odd years, and in even years Continental Championships for Seniors and World Championships for Juniors. In October-November of each year smaller format championships will be held in 4+1 and/or 3+1. In addition, a Masters (40+) WC will be held bi-annually.

2.2 All WBHF member associations may apply to participate in any Championship.

2.3 The registration shall be made on the official WBHF Tournament Application Form. Application form and payment of the participation fee shall be forwarded to WBHF. Fee for each championship is set as required for each event.

2.4 A registered team that withdraws from the championship shall be fined according to the WBHF Competition Regulations.

2.5 Costs for travel to and from the arrival city as well as board and lodging shall be paid by each participating team, unless otherwise stated by the Host Committee.

2.6 The host may be required to pay, if agreed by WBHF Board, for no more than 32 persons (25 players and 7 officials) for traveling from their hotel to the official venues, to training sessions and matches according to the official program of each team. Details of these costs shall be clearly stated with the application information for each championship.

2.7 Participants shall be responsible for arranging the appropriate insurance to cover their delegations.


3.1 A restricted number of teams are invited to the World Championships based on their results from the previous World Championship, and results of preceding Continental Championships where applicable.