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Learn More About Bandy

What is Bandy?

Bandy is played on an ice surface the size of a soccer field. It is best described as field hockey on skates. Each team is made up of 11 players including a goalkeeper. 
The aim of Bandy is to score goals by hitting an orange or pink ball the approximate size of a tennis ball into the opposing team's net with a curved stick four feet in length. Depending on how the player strikes the ball with the stick, he or she can put a spin on the ball, making it curve, knuckle or dive. The ball has a cork center and a hard rubber cover.
The goal measures 7' x 11.5'. While the goalkeeper wears more padding than other players, he or she does not use a stick. Goalies are the only player allowed to use their hands to control the ball. Games consist of two 45 minute halves. A ten minute interval takes place at half-time when the teams change ends. Ties are broken with 15 minute overtime periods. The rules of bandy are very similar to the rules of soccer.
A variation on bandy is rink bandy. Rink bandy is played on a hockey rink with four skaters and a goalie. The rules are generally the same as those for regular bandy.
How Bandy is Played

How Bandy is Played (Information graphic)

History of Bandy

Bandy was being played in northeast England in the mid 1800's. Bury Fen, England, is considered the home of modern bandy. Cave paintings in Egypt suggest that a game similar to bandy was being played there 4000 years ago. The word bandy is Welsh in origin and means "a curved stick". The National Bandy Association was established in England in 1891. The NBA was the first governing body of Bandy and the first to develop official rules for the game. Prior to the founding of the NBA teams established the rules before matches started. 
The first international Bandy match took place in 1891 between England's Bury Fen club and Haarlem of the Netherlands. Bandy was introduced to Sweden by a Bury Fen player in 1894. Bandy soon caught on throughout Europe. Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, and Norway all became active in bandy. Between the 1890's and 1955 no formal governing body for international Bandy existed.

This changed with the creation of the International Bandy Federation in 1955. From 1957-2001, the World Championships for Men were held every two years. That changed in 2003, when the World Championships became an annual tournament.

2004 was the first year for the Women's World Championships, with the Women's tournament currently played every two years.