Roller inline hockey is a team sport played on a wood, asphalt, cement or sport tile surface, in which players use a hockey stick to shoot a hard plastic hockey puck into their opponent's goal to score points. It is considered a contact sport but body checking is prohibited. However, there are exceptions to that with the NRHL which involves fighting. Inline hockey teams are composed of up to four lines of players including two forwards and two defensemen on each line. There are five players including the goalie from each team on the rink at a time. It is the goalie's job to prevent the other team's players from scoring. Teams normally consist of 16 players that sit on the bench until it is their turn to play. As the name suggests it is played on inline skates.
Inline hockey is a very fast paced and free flowing game, this is because it does not have the same rules as ice hockey. There are no blue lines or defensive zones in roller hockey unlike ice hockey. This means that, according to most rule codes, there are no offsides or icings that can occur during game play; this along with fewer players on the rink allows for faster game play. There are traditionally two 20-minute periods or four 10-minute periods with a stopped clock.
In the United States, the highest governing body for the sport is USA Roller Sports which is commonly referred to as USARS. USARS is credited with the development of the present day rules and regulations that is used throughout multiple tournament series. They organize tournaments across the United States but they are not the only tournament provider. Some of the other independent tournament providers include Amateur Athletic Union, North American Roller Championships, and the Torhs 2 Hot 4 Ice tournament series.
Internationally, inline hockey is represented by two different union, the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports and the International Ice Hockey Federation. Both of them organize their own annual World Championships.