Rink hockey (sometimes called roller hockey) is one of the three most popular hockey variants. It is highly popular in Latin countries, with Portugal(15 World titles), Spain (11 World titles), Italy (4 World titles) and Argentina (4 World titles), dominating the sport since the early 40's. Other countries, such as France, Brazil, Germany and Japan are regular international competitors, but rarely win over the "big four". Rink hockey is a very fast sport, which created a problem for TV transmissions. New rinks are built using blue or white pavement to make the ball more visible on TV. It was a demonstration sport in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The most important clubs in Europe (and arguably, the world) are SL Benfica, FC Porto and [[�quei de Barcelos]] from Portugal, FC Barcelona, Reus Deportiu Hockey and [[Liceo de Coru�a]] from Spain and occasionaly Primavera Prato and Bassano Hockey 54 from Italy.
Two 5 man (4 skaters + 1 goalkeeper) teams try to drive the ball with their sticks into the opponents' goal. While stopping the ball with the foot or any part of the body except the hand is allowed, the ball can only be put in motion by a stick. The game has two 25 minute halves, with the clock stopping on when the ball becomes dead. Each team have a 1 minute timeout in each half. Each team have a minumum of six players (a backup goalie is required) and a maximum of ten.
The rink has usually a polished wooden surface, but any flat, non-abrasive and non-slippery material such as treated cement is acceptable. Its length may vary from 36 to 44 meters and width from 18 to 22 meters. The rink has rounded corners (1m radius) and is surrounded by a 1m wall. The wall also has a wooden base 2cm wide and at least 20cm high. Behind the goals there is a net, even if there are no stands. If the ball hits the net, it's considered to be out of bounds. The markings are simple. The halfway line divides the rink into halves, and 22 m from the end wall an "anti-play" line is painted. The area is a 9 X 5.40m rectangle, placed from 2.7 to 3.3m ahead of the end table. It has a protection area for goalkeepers, a half-circle with 1.5m radius. The goal (usually painted red) is 105cm high by 170cm wide. Inside the goal there is a thick net and a bar close to ground to trap the ball inside (before, two extra referees stayed behind the goal to judge goal decisions). The goal is 92cm deep and is not attached to the ground, but is extremely heavy to prevent movement.
- The clothing is similar to that used in football.
- Sticks are the same for both skaters and goalkeepers. They can be of any material approved by the CIRH (although wooden sticks are still most often used), with a minimum length of 90cm and maximum of 115cm. They cannot be wider than 5cm or weigh over 500g.
- The ball is made of vulcanized rubber, has a 23 cm diameter, and weighs 155g.
- The skates must have two pairs of wheels, with a minimum diameter of 3cm. Players are allowed to use brakes in the front of the skate, with a diameter or larger side not larger than 5cm.
- Protective material includes shin guards, knee caps, jock strap and gloves. Specifications for helmets and elbow caps vary from federation to federation.
- Goalkeepers (or netminders) use protective padding on the torso (the maximum is being regulated, since, as in ice hockey, many goalkeepers have been using massive protection to make them larger), neck guard, large shin guards (not longer than 75 cm), gloves protecting the whole forearm and an helmet with either a grid or unbreakable transparent material .