/| 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!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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.
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
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
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
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?"
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:
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.
- Unicycle hockey is for everyone, no matter what age or sex. Fair play is
crucial for all players.
- Ice hockey sticks are used to place a tennis or street-hockey ball into an
- At the beginning and after each goal all players have to go to their own
half. Then the game starts as soon as a player of the team in possession
crosses the center line.
- A player may only take part in a game when riding the unicycle. After falling
off he or she has to mount at the same spot, but if necessary move out of the
way of play first.
- The player may touch the ball once with the flat hand (but not to score a
- Throwing sticks is strictly forbidden.
- The upper end of the stick must always be covered with one hand to avoid
injuries of other players. The lower end of the stick must always be below the
players hips. Each player has to take care not to hit an opponent with his
stick, especially after a shot.
- A player who holds his stick in a way that someone else rides over it is
committing a foul, regardless of intention.
- A goal is disallowed if the ball was in one's own half when shot and wasn't
touched by anyone afterwards (long shot).
- The free shot is indirect, i. e. after the shot another player has to touch
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
Two countries have national leagues: Germany and 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/
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
In 1999, Stephan Schumacher (LAHIMO) wrote his thesis at the Sporthochschule in
Cologne, Germany about unicycle-hockey.
Here unicycling in general is discussed but letters about unicycle hockey can
also be posted.
The email discussion list
firstname.lastname@example.org is about the German unicycle-hockey
league (in German!). To subscribe to the list, ask Sven-Eric Lautemann (
email@example.com) to put you on there.
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:
With some delay I get slowmail sent to:
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!
E.-Klausener Str. 6