/|   O                          UNICYCLE HOCKEY
   / |  /M\           O             frequently asked questions (faq)
  |  |   >>\         /X\            
  |      0  \==     / <<            Rolf Sander
  |              o=/   0            last updated 01 Jun 2011

This file is occasionally posted to rec.sport.unicycling. The latest version is always available at: http://www.unicycling.org/hockey/faq.html

I am always looking for more information to include in this file. If you have any information, pictures, logos, and/or newspaper articles about unicycle hockey, please let me know!


1) What is Unicycle Hockey?

As the name already says, it is hockey played on unicycles. If you would exchange the unicycles for skates, it looks a lot like ice-hockey.

2) The History of Unicycle Hockey

The German silent movie "Variete" from 1925 (!) shows a short scene with two unicyclists performing on stage. One has a hockey stick, the other a walking stick. They have tiny goals and they use something like a crumpled towel as a "ball". Although this is quite different from unicycle hockey as we know it today, this is by far the oldest references I've found!

According to an article in "The Bicycle Journal" (Aug 1960), the Albuquerque Unicycle Club (New Mexico, USA) played hockey, amongst other activities on the unicycle. Around 1962 Columbia unicycles came with a little pamphlet suggesting what you can do on a unicycle. One of their drawings shows people playing unicycle hockey.

A Japanese newspaper article from 1971 shows the globetrotter Takafumi Ogasawara and some of his friends playing hockey with strange looking sticks.

From 1976 till the mid-eighties there was a unicycle-hockey club 'Wheel People' in California, USA. They have now stopped playing as many players have moved away.

In Germany the first unicycle-hockey team was LAHIMO. They started playing in 1985 some time after Takafumi Ogasawara had become tired of traveling around the world with his unicycle and had settled down in Monheim. He simply gave Christoph Verholt and Jochen Löffelmann unicycles and told them to learn how to ride. Two months later they had a demo-game at a local event. Since then Christoph has basically run the club. Until 1990, LAHIMO was the only German team. Then Jens Stemminger saw unicycle hockey at the European juggling convention 1990 in Oldenburg. He founded the Uniwheelers in Bremen. In 1991 Jojo Mühlmeyer and Rolf Sander from LAHIMO moved to the vicinity of Frankfurt. There they met Robert Mager, Martin Simeth and other enthusiastic unicyclists. They founded RADLOS in Frankfurt on 27 May 1991. Since then many other clubs have formed. A group of friends in Bochum saw unicycle-hockey on television. None of them could really ride a unicycle but they decided they wanted to play hockey. Meanwhile Bochum is one of the strongest teams in the German league.

John Dash started playing unicycle hockey when he stayed in Germany around 1987-1988. After returning back to England he and Lee Rickler have promoted unicycle hockey a lot in Great Britain.

The following information has been provided by Tim Sheppard: "The first national unicycling hockey competition in the UK was in 1988, at Covent Garden, London. It was linked in some way with Telethon '88, which was some kind of national charity week. Fooltime, the circus school in Bristol, provided T-shirts to identify the teams. There were around a dozen teams if I remember rightly. I was in the Fooltime team - I use the word 'team' advisedly. I think it was the Birmingham team that turned up in their own t-shirts, and the London team that had proper ice-hockey sticks, thus impressing all those who had turned up unpracticed for a laugh. The London team (although I think there was more than one) easily won. I remember watching Pedro practicing afterwards, bowling an ultimate wheel along the ground, running after it, and mounting. What chance did the rest of us have?"

3) The Rules of Unicycle Hockey

3.1) The IUF rules

The IUF (International Unicycling Federation) has published an official set of unicycle-hockey rules. For further information look at http://www.unicycling.org/hockey/rules.html

I am currently collecting ideas for improvements of the rules.

Here is a short summary of the basic rules:

3.2) Other rules

Some hockey clubs are using slightly different rules. For example, in Toronto the game is played outside on a field without boundaries. A leather cube is used because a ball would roll away too far.

4) List of Teams

By far the most teams that I know of are either from Germany or Great Britain. There are only a few teams in the rest of the world (Australia, Canada, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, USA). You can get a list of teams at http://www.unicycling.org/hockey/teamlist.html

5) National Leagues

Two countries have national leagues: Germany and Great Britain.

5.1) Great Britain

The British unicycle-hockey association (BUHA) organizes hockey tournaments. They have a home page on the web where you can get more information: http://www.urbanmediadesigns.com/buha/

5.2) Germany

The German unicycle-hockey league EDEL (Erste Deutsche Einradhockey-Liga) was founded in 1995. There are 13 teams playing each other at different tournaments during the year. The 1995 season was won by the Hurricanes. Look at http://www.dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~lauteman/unicycling/index_e.html for more information.

6) Championships

6.1) World Championships

In 1994 the World unicycling championships (UNICON) were in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. For the first time a hockey tournament was included. Eight teams participated: Bochum (Germany), Canada, Germany, LAHIMO (Germany), Puerto Rico, TCUC (USA), USA, and a mixed team. Germany beat LAHIMO 10:9 in a very exciting final.

The 1996 UNICON was in Guildford (near London), Great Britain. Bochum I beat Bochum II in the (slightly less exciting) final. For further details see: http://www.unicycling.org/hockey/unicon.html

The 1998 UNICON was in Bottrop, Germany. Bochum I beat LAHIMO I (11:10) in another very exciting final. For further details see: http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/~krampsmc/U9/tournament.html

6.2) European Championships

The first European championship was held at the European juggling convention at Leeds, Great Britain in 1993. It was organized by Lee Rickler. Both LAHIMO and Tous en piste didn't have enough players there, so the made a joined team which called itself LAHIMO on piste. They beat the London Lunis in the final 5:2.

In 1994 the European championship was moved from the juggling convention to Eurocycle, the annual European unicycle convention. Eurocycle 1994 was in Königstein, Germany. There were two LAHIMO teams in the final, one of which won the game.

In July 1995 Eurocycle was in Nice, France. In the final LAHIMO beat Tous en Piste 7:6.

There was no Eurocycle in 1996 since in this year UNICON was in Europe.

Eurocycle 1997 was in Nyon, near Geneva in Switzerland. Bochum won the hockey tournament.

There was no Eurocycle in 1998 since in this year UNICON was in Europe.

Eurocycle 1999 was in Haslev, Denmark. Bochum won the hockey tournament (again).

6.3) National Championships

The first national unicycling hockey competition in the UK was in 1988, at Covent Garden, London (see also section about the history of unicycle hockey).

The British Open Unicycle-Hockey Championships were held 21-22 May 1994 in Hastings: The Lunis were beat by LAHIMO in an exciting final 13 : 14 a.e.t.

7) Unicycle-Hockey in the Media

7.1) TV

The first time unicycle hockey was mentioned on German tv was in the 'WWF club'. There was hardly enough space to ride a uni, forget about playing hockey in the studio. In 'Gesucht-Gefunden' some strange looking unicycles made by Takafumi Ogasawara were shown and we also had a chance to announce that we are still looking for more players. The moderator was pretty stupid. She was probably thinking about cars when she mentioned that Takafumi Ogasawara had made a trip around the world IN a unicycle. 'Geld oder Liebe' is a game show where the candidates have to have an extraordinary hobby. Unicycle-hockey players were asked twice already to become candidates. The first live game on tv ever was shown in 1991 in 'Fernsehgarten'. It was moderated by the former world champion on the horizontal bar, Eberhard Ginger. After trying one day he even managed to ride a few meters. In 'aktuelle Stunde' two players gave interviews about the sport. The Frankfurt team RADLOS was presented in 'Hessen Report'. The companion video to the 1996 edition of the Encyclopedia of the Bike Culture Quarterly magazine shows a short clip of a unicycle hockey game, right after a clip of someone riding a swing bike, which is a sort of unicycle with a front wheel.

7.2) Radio

Yes, unicycle-hockey has been on the radio. Some of us from LAHIMO gave interviews to 'Radio Bergisch Land' while the others were playing hockey, which gave a nice sound in the background.

In Claremont, California, KSPC (a college radio station servicing the Claremont Colleges) broadcast several minutes of a Uni hockey game. They cut to the broadcaster at the game several times throughout another radio program. It was a successful experiment, and more broadcasts are being planned. For more information look at: http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~jallen/uni/uni-hockey

7.3) Newspapers

There have been numerous articles about unicycle-hockey in the newspapers. I am collecting them all. If you have any, please send me a copy!

7.4) Miscellaneous

In 1999, Stephan Schumacher (LAHIMO) wrote his thesis at the Sporthochschule in Cologne, Germany about unicycle-hockey.

8) Unicycle-Hockey on the internet (summary)

8.1) ftp

8.2) Web pages

http://www.unicycling.org/hockey/ http://www.dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~lauteman/unicycling/index_e.html http://www.urbanmediadesigns.com/buha/

8.3) usenet newsgroup


Here unicycling in general is discussed but letters about unicycle hockey can also be posted.

8.4) mailing list

The email discussion list edel@dbis.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de is about the German unicycle-hockey league (in German!). To subscribe to the list, ask Sven-Eric Lautemann ( lautemann@informatik.uni-frankfurt.de) to put you on there.

9) About the Author

I was born in 1964 and I spent more than 20 years of my life without being able to ride a unicycle. This rather unfortunate situation changed in 1985. I played hockey with the LAHIMO team until 1991. Then I moved to Mainz and became also a member of the RADLOS team from Frankfurt. From 1995-1997 I played hockey with the Toronto Unicyclists. Since October 1997 I'm back in Germany and playing with LAHIMO again.

I can best be reached via email at: mail@rolf-sander.net. With some delay I get slowmail sent to:
Rolf Sander
E.-Klausener Str. 6
40789 Monheim

10) Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the following unicyclists for contributing to this faq: Jeff Allen, Helmut Diederichs, Dennis Kathrens, Jochen Löffelmann, Tom Miller, Takafumi Ogasawara, Tim Sheppard. If you help to improve it, too, your name will also appear here!