All suds, no duds

Twist on hockey perfect for spring gaming

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You might have heard of street hockey, ice hockey, and even bubble hockey, but what about soap hockey? Soap hockey is the latest extracurricular craze, and the national fad has finally reached the Shoals area thanks to the help of the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) at the University of North Alabama.

Last semester, the OAC invited students of UNA to join them for their first-ever game of soap hockey at their facility on Irvine Street, nestled into the southwest corner of campus. They had a perfect turnout with six people on each team, enough people to play.

“The OAC  found out about this sport online and decided to bring it to our own backyard as a fun night where students could let loose and try something new” said Lead Graduate Assistant Christian Walker.

“They wouldn’t do anything differently other than adding less soap to the playing field, though having more soap added to the fun with people slipping all over the place,” Walker said. “Overall, the event went really well and the OAC said it was one of the more fun events they had hosted.”

Soap hockey is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It can be played in any person’s backyard and requires very few materials, most of which you probably have lying around already. This sport is played on a tarp covered in soap and water, adding a slippery aspect to the classic game of hockey. The playing field consists of several tarps covered in, you guessed it, soap.

“The amount of soap used is up to you, but the OAC recommends using about one cup of soap for a somewhat stable slip factor,” Walker said. “Using more soap will result in a more slippery playing field, which isn’t necessarily a deterrent — it can add to the fun.”

It is recommended that the tarps be held down by something to keep it in place while in play. Camping stakes or anything similar is ideal. Players split into teams of two and attempt to score into the opposing team’s goal, just like any other game of hockey. Each player is equipped with a rugby club or shorter hockey stick, and the object in play can be a ball or puck. The game ends when one of the teams has reached a certain amount of points or the game has reached its time limit, depending on the rules set in the beginning of play.

“Soap hockey is a unique sport because it has no set rules or equipment, making each game different from the next,” Walker said. “Players can determine the rules for their field, changing anything from the scoring of points to contact between players.

“Players can also determine how large the playing field will be, how much soap will be used, and how long the game will be played for.”

When the OAC was playing their game of soap hockey they had only one rule: Have fun!

Because soap hockey does not have any official rules, it is a sport that encourages creativity when you play and allows you to customize your own experience.

“Although we don’t follow anything officially, we usually go by general hockey rules,” Walker said. “Except no fighting.”

Want to make your own field at home? All you need are the aforementioned materials, some friends to play the game with, and an open space to set up in. This game is great for events such as open houses, barbeques, or a summer afternoon hangout with friends. There is also an official Kickstarter campaign that has been launched that sells official soap hockey packages for anyone who wants a premade package delivered to their front door. This package includes balls, sticks, goals, and a 14×9 canvas playing field.

You can also find packages online with official game apparel for all your players, including shorts and jerseys.

Interested in playing your own game of soap hockey? The OAC will be hosting another night of soap hockey on April 13th from 2 to 5 p.m. This event is free to all UNA students and they will provide all equipment needed to play.

Tidbits:

  • Soap Hockey originated in Sweden
  • Soap Hockey has become a collegiate intramural sport for many universities
  • Haliburton County of Ontario, Canada will be having the first soap hockey world championship this July 6-8.