Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is inline hockey?
A: Inline hockey is a fast-paced, competitive sport involving two teams fielding up to five players--two defensive players, two offensive players and one goalie--on the rink at a time. Using long curved sticks, the well-padded players try to seize or maintain control of a hard plastic disc, or puck, and hit it into the opposing team's net, which is guarded by a goalie. It's one of the fastest sports in the world.
Q: How is it different from ice hockey?
A: We play on indoor 'sports court' rinks with 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-5. There is no offsides or icing rules which make it more open and faster style of play. There is no body checking or fighting allowed and the game is generally far less rough than ice hockey. We play on a specialized silicone surface instead of ice, with a hard plastic puck instead of a rubber puck.
Q: What are some benefits to playing inline hockey?
A: Inline hockey has enormous appeal for children and adolescents. Hockey enables children to skate fast but challenges them to stay in control. The sport also provides a constructive means of channeling their energy. Like other sports, children learn about teamwork and get many opportunities to succeed. Because only a handful of players are on the rink at any given time, each skater must play a very active and important role.
Inline Hockey also offers many health benefits. Drills, scrimmages and games provide aerobic as well as anaerobic training. Playing ice hockey also tones and strengthens every major muscle group. As a recreational sport, inline hockey is something children can carry into their adult lives.
One of the least thought about benefits of playing inline hockey is that anyone can play. Most kids begin youth sports, be it baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis or youth football in grade school. By the time they reach middle school or high school the better players continue on and other kids drop out. Why? Because the better players play the most. Hockey is different because regardless of the age, we have a team for you even when you are an adult.
Q: How old must a child be to start inline hockey?
A: Many children start at age 4 or 5 (2nd grade) but don't let that stop you if your children are older. Players may start at any age right up into our adult league.
Q: What are the different age levels?
Elementary: 2nd - 6th Grades
Middle School: 6th - 8th Grades
High School: 9th - 12th Grades
Q: Do Boys and Girls play on the same team?
A: Yes, Boys and Girls play on the same teams.
Q: Will hockey take up a lot of our time?
A: Practices are once per week, on weeknights for one hour. Parents are encouraged to stay and watch their children. Games are played on weekends, either Saturday or Sunday depending on league schedules. Games are do not last more than one hour.
People associated with youth hockey have found that the time involved whether it is in the car traveling, or the time spent in the sport itself encourages families to spend quality time together. Friendships are abundantly made by both child and parents. These friendships and memories last a lifetime.
Q: Is inline hockey safe?
A: Yes. Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth inline hockey is a different game than what you see on TV in the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey, SAIH, and PIRHL place a stronger emphasis on sportsmanship and friendly competition. Body checking and fighting is not allowed in the PIRHL.
Q: How much does inline hockey cost?
A: Probably not as much as you might think. Although it can be expensive in northern parts of the US, hockey is relatively inexpensive in our surrounding area. Some equipment can even be purchased on Craigslist or our own marketplace for a nominal fee on a first come first serve basis. As skaters progress there are options for purchasing good used equipment and much of it may be used for several years. When time spent playing hockey is factored in, the sport is very competitive on a cost per hour basis.
Q: Is there a lot of traveling?
A: No. Our rinks are all located in the Pittsburgh Metro area (click HERE to see links to the rinks we play at) so it just depends on how far away you live that dictates how much traveling time you will incur. There are no out of town games or away tournaments in our league at this time.
Q: What equipment do we need to get started?
A: Click HERE to view a full list of required equipment. All skaters need to provide their own skates and stick. Beginning parents need patience and a camera.
Q: Where do kids put their gear on?
A: When children are younger it is sometimes easier to get their gear on at home, bringing them to the rink dressed. As they get older, some kids like to get dressed on their own at the rink. We have locker rooms at each to get dressed in and younger kids can have their parents tie their skates for them.
Q: How long is the season?
A: We offer two seasons. One is in the spring, starting around the first week in September and ending around the middle of March.
Q: How many games do we play?
A: The amount of games played each season is 18 games, plus Playoffs (typically single-elimination and best of 3 for Championship) and is determined by the age classification.
Q: Do I have to volunteer?
A: Volunteering is not required, but always appreciated! As an inline hockey parent you are expected to help your child out by getting them ready and and making sure all the their equipment is on and they are ready to go at least 20 minutes before game time. Other than that, we have no volunteer requirements at this time. SAIH is a non-profit volunteer based organization. If you enjoy the sport of hockey and are interested in volunteering to help on the board, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Q: Will I have to participate in fundraising?
A: We do not have any fundraising requirements at this time. However, we do offer fundraising activities throughout the year to help offset costs. Click HERE for more info.
Q: How do I sign my child up for hockey?
Q: Do I have to attend Shaler Area School District to play?
A: No. Any player is welcomed to play with SAIH as long as your school district does not already participate in the PIRHL. We have many players that attend surrounding schools.