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    Re: Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

    John Hooten <jhooten@rcsis.com> wrote in article <3AB9A96F.A128767B@rcsis.com> :
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>I was in the Public Library recently to research something on the General[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Reference Magazine Catalogue. Before leaving I did a quick search for unicycle[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>articles and found the following story about Unicycle Hockey in the March 2001[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>issue of Hockey Digest. The article on the screen in the Library was[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>accompanied by photos taken during the the gold medal game of the Unicycle[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>hockey tournament at Unicon X last summer. I was able to print the article[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>including the photos. I was also able to forward the text to my email address.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>The text is below, unfortunately it does not include photos.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>John Hooten[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>InfoTrac Web: General Reference Center Gold.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]> Source: Hockey Digest, March 2001 v29 i5 p58.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]> Title: Wheel's On Fire.(unicycle hockey) Author: CHUCK O'DONNELL[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]> Subjects: Cyclists - Competitions Hockey - Innovations Locations: Canada[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Electronic Collection: A69750741 RN: A69750741[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Full Text COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Unicycle hockey players all over the world are having a wheel good time, and[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>wish you were, too[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>They converge every Thursday night in the fall and winter on the Cordella[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>public school in Toronto. It's the highlight of the week for these movie[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>camera repairmen, students, Website designers, teachers, and others who put[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>the world on hold, put the nets in place, pick up the sticks, and throw down[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>the ball.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Sounds like another pickup game of deck hockey or floor hockey? Well,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>yes and no.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>It is floor hockey, but the Toronto Unicyclists hockey team puts a unique spin[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>on a sport in which "cycling" is a term that isn't usually meant in a literal[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>sense. Perched precariously atop one wheel, trying to negotiate a street[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>hockey ball or a tennis ball across a gym floor, the action is non-stop.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Having trouble visualizing this? Think of it as the X Games meets Wayne[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Gretzky. The Ringling Brothers meet the Hanson Brothers. The high-wire act[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>meets the leftwing lock. BMX meets the NHI.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[Graphic omitted]Think of it fast and furious fun played with some real gusto.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>"It's really fast-paced," says Darren Bedford, a member of the club since it[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>was founded in 1987 by unicyclists who were looking to try something a little[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>different. "There are a lot of collisions. You may turn to look for the ball,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>not see where you're going, and run into someone. You can't always instantly[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>stop on a unicycle. The maneuverability [on unicycles] is harder [than on ice[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>skates]."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>In the beginning, Bedford's crew, believed to be the longest-running club in[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>North America, would play on the playground outside. They would spend a few[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>hours just shoveling off the snow until "we were almost too tired to play," he[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>says. Surprised people would stop and ogle. "Most of the feedback we have had[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>has been very positive," says Bedford, whose club has about a dozen members[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>between the ages of 10 and 60. "People would stop and see what we were up to.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>They were a bit curious. A lot of them couldn't believe it was possible to do[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>all that [while riding a unicycle]." They've since found it easier, and a lot[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>less strenuous, to rent space in the school's gym.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>And although the Toronto townspeople can't wander by and watch, they would[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>probably be shocked to learn that unicycle hockey has been played in several[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>countries across the globe for several years.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>For instance, at the 2000 world championships held in August in Beijing,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>China, 20 teams from nine countries--Denmark, France, China, Great Britain,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Japan, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Germany--competed.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Unicycle hockey may be most popular in England and Germany, the only two[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>countries to have national leagues. The sport seems to be taking off in[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Germany, in particular, where 26 teams compete in the national league. It is[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>also home to the world champs, LAHIMO, which crushed the Twin City Unicycle[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Club of Minnesota, 23-2, in the tournament final.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>"LAHIMO started playing in 1985, so they have a lot of experience," says Rolf[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Sander, a former LAHIMO member who now plays for RADLOS of Frankfurt. "They[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>have been by far the strongest team for quite a while but now there are some[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>other very good teams in Germany. I have to admit that LAHIMO was quite lucky[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>that these other clubs did not send their complete teams to the world[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>championships in China this year."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Sander has gone from just a unicycle hockey player to an amateur historian of[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>the sport. The earliest mention of the sport he has been able to uncover dates[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>back to 1925, when a silent German movie called "Variete" shows "a short scene[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>with two unicyclists performing on a stage. One has a hockey stick, the other[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>is swinging a walking stick. They have tiny goals and they use something like a[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>crumpled towel as a ball."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>The first reference he has found to unicycle hockey in the United States goes[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>back to 1960, when an article in The Bicycle Journal mentioned the Albuquerque[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Unicycle Club of New Mexico had taken up the sport.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Sander says, however, that the grandfather of the unicycle clubs was Wheel[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>People, a group that formed in California in 1976. Playing under the golden[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>sunshine, they were trailblazers in the sport, forming many of the rules by[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>which the game is played today. The club disbanded in the mid-1980s, but not[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>before it was joined by other major clubs in North America such as Harvey Mudd[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>College Gonzo Unicycle Madness in California and Association de Monocycle de[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Quebec in Quebec City.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Many of the rules seem to be enforced universally. You can't take part in the[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>play unless you're on top of your unicycle. So if you fall off, you have to get[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>back on before continuing. At the beginning of the game and after each goal,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>all players go to their own half of the surface where play resumes as soon as a[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>player of the team in possession crosses the center line. And if you knock the[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>ball out of the playing surface, a player from the other team brings it back in[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>from the point of exit.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[Graphic omitted]But other rules differ from club to club. For instance, the[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>German teams play with goalies, using a larger net. The Toronto Unicyclists[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>don't use a goalie, per se, although one of the four or five players on a side[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>can go back and defend the net. Consequently, they use a smaller net, about 12[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>inches high by 18 inches wide. The Germans use your average ice hockey stick,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>while the Toronto crew uses street hockey sticks with plastic blades.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Finding a stick isn't a problem, since players don't play using one of those[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>tall unicycles you may have seen in a circus. They sit about four or five[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>inches above the ground. "Actually, the proper length [of a stick] is more or[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>less a matter of taste," says Sander. "People who are good hockey players but[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>only mediocre unicyclists seem to prefer longer sticks. This gives them a[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>larger action radius. Good unicyclists, on the other hand, often have short[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>sticks because they are fast and they prefer to ride quickly to wherever the[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>ball is."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>What makes a good unicycle hockey player isn't much different from what makes a[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>good ice hockey player. Sander suggests that, like hockey players who first[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>learn to skate before learning to stick handle and shoot, the basis for a good[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>unicycle hockey player is the ability to ride well.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>"A good balance between hockey and unicycling skills is necessary to become a[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>good player," says Sander. "But you won't become a good player as long as you[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>don't unicycle properly. However, even the best unicyclists are not good[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>players unless they practice shooting the ball and team strategy."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>And of course, it doesn't hurt your chances of success if you're willing to[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>stick your nose into the action like a Claude Lemieux or a Matthew Barnaby.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>"Since you're moving as fast as guys on ice skates, there's less[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>maneuverability," says Bedford. "This leads to collisions and spills. You might[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>get a little road rash on you arms. A few of the players wear elbow pads or[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>gloves. No one really wears helmets."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[Graphic omitted]Says Sander: "Although bruises are quite normal, not many[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>serious accidents have happened in the 15 years that I've been playing. Yes, we[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>had to go to the hospital a few times to stitch a wound. However, if you[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>compare it to other sports such as soccer I think the danger is below average."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>The next world championships are scheduled for Washington state in 2002.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>People inside the sport are hoping flint by bringing the world championships to[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>the biggest stage in the world, the United States, that word of their new,[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>exciting sport will get out in a big way.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>And as the players continue to improve and their numbers grow, players such as[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Bedford dare to harbor golden dreams. "The International Unicycling Federation[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>is hoping that unicycle hockey will be an Olympic sport someday," he says.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>"That's their dream. They're always adding games to the Olympics. You need to[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>have 16 countries playing the sport to get the Olympic committee's attention.[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>Maybe someday, that will happen. I hope so."[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]> -- End --[/color]
    [color={usenetquotecolor}]>[/color]
    Hello everyone !

    Darren Bedford here in Toronto. If you would like to check out some Extreme
    unicycle hockey... Check out: http://torontounicyclists.tripod.com and look
    under photo's, Darren's photo's for unicycle hockey with a FLAMING PUCK ! There
    are a few photo's and we will demonstrate it at the NUC in July 2001. We are the
    hosting club and would like to welcome all unicyclists to Toronto !!! We have
    close to 200 people registered and are working hard to make this NUC
    unbelievable. Please check out our site and will see you soon in Toronto Canada.

    Darren

    _______________________________________________
    Submitted via WebNewsReader of http://www.interbulletin.com

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest started a topic Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

    Unicycle Hockey in Hockey Digest

    I was in the Public Library recently to research something on the General
    Reference Magazine Catalogue. Before leaving I did a quick search for unicycle
    articles and found the following story about Unicycle Hockey in the March 2001
    issue of Hockey Digest. The article on the screen in the Library was accompanied
    by photos taken during the the gold medal game of the Unicycle hockey tournament
    at Unicon X last summer. I was able to print the article including the photos. I
    was also able to forward the text to my email address. The text is below,
    unfortunately it does not include photos.

    John Hooten

    InfoTrac Web: General Reference Center Gold.

    Source: Hockey Digest, March 2001 v29 i5 p58.

    Title: Wheel's On Fire.(unicycle hockey) Author: CHUCK O'DONNELL

    Subjects: Cyclists - Competitions Hockey - Innovations Locations: Canada

    Electronic Collection: A69750741 RN: A69750741

    Full Text COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing

    Unicycle hockey players all over the world are having a wheel good time, and
    wish you were, too

    They converge every Thursday night in the fall and winter on the Cordella public
    school in Toronto. It's the highlight of the week for these movie

    camera repairmen, students, Website designers, teachers, and others who put
    the world on hold, put the nets in place, pick up the sticks, and throw
    down the ball.

    Sounds like another pickup game of deck hockey or floor hockey? Well,
    yes and no.

    It is floor hockey, but the Toronto Unicyclists hockey team puts a unique spin
    on a sport in which "cycling" is a term that isn't usually meant in a literal
    sense. Perched precariously atop one wheel, trying to negotiate a street

    hockey ball or a tennis ball across a gym floor, the action is non-stop.

    Having trouble visualizing this? Think of it as the X Games meets Wayne Gretzky.
    The Ringling Brothers meet the Hanson Brothers. The high-wire act meets the
    leftwing lock. BMX meets the NHI.

    [Graphic omitted]Think of it fast and furious fun played with some real
    gusto. "It's really fast-paced," says Darren Bedford, a member of the club
    since it was founded in 1987 by unicyclists who were looking to try something
    a little different. "There are a lot of collisions. You may turn to look for
    the ball, not see where you're going, and run into someone. You can't always
    instantly stop on a unicycle. The maneuverability [on unicycles] is harder
    [than on ice skates]."

    In the beginning, Bedford's crew, believed to be the longest-running club in
    North America, would play on the playground outside. They would spend a few
    hours just shoveling off the snow until "we were almost too tired to play," he
    says. Surprised people would stop and ogle. "Most of the feedback we have had
    has been very positive," says Bedford, whose club has about a dozen members
    between the ages of 10 and 60. "People would stop and see what we were up to.
    They were a bit curious. A lot of them couldn't believe it was possible to do
    all that [while riding a unicycle]." They've since found it easier, and a lot
    less strenuous, to rent space in the school's gym.

    And although the Toronto townspeople can't wander by and watch, they would
    probably be shocked to learn that unicycle hockey has been played in several
    countries across the globe for several years.

    For instance, at the 2000 world championships held in August in Beijing,

    China, 20 teams from nine countries--Denmark, France, China, Great Britain,
    Japan, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Germany--competed.

    Unicycle hockey may be most popular in England and Germany, the only two

    countries to have national leagues. The sport seems to be taking off in Germany,
    in particular, where 26 teams compete in the national league. It is also home to
    the world champs, LAHIMO, which crushed the Twin City Unicycle Club of
    Minnesota, 23-2, in the tournament final.

    "LAHIMO started playing in 1985, so they have a lot of experience," says Rolf
    Sander, a former LAHIMO member who now plays for RADLOS of Frankfurt. "They have
    been by far the strongest team for quite a while but now there are some other
    very good teams in Germany. I have to admit that LAHIMO was quite lucky that
    these other clubs did not send their complete teams to the world championships
    in China this year."

    Sander has gone from just a unicycle hockey player to an amateur historian of
    the sport. The earliest mention of the sport he has been able to uncover dates
    back to 1925, when a silent German movie called "Variete" shows "a short scene
    with two unicyclists performing on a stage. One has a hockey stick, the other is
    swinging a walking stick. They have tiny goals and they use something like a
    crumpled towel as a ball."

    The first reference he has found to unicycle hockey in the United States goes
    back to 1960, when an article in The Bicycle Journal mentioned the Albuquerque
    Unicycle Club of New Mexico had taken up the sport.

    Sander says, however, that the grandfather of the unicycle clubs was Wheel
    People, a group that formed in California in 1976. Playing under the golden
    sunshine, they were trailblazers in the sport, forming many of the rules by
    which the game is played today. The club disbanded in the mid-1980s, but not
    before it was joined by other major clubs in North America such as Harvey Mudd
    College Gonzo Unicycle Madness in California and Association de Monocycle de
    Quebec in Quebec City.

    Many of the rules seem to be enforced universally. You can't take part in the
    play unless you're on top of your unicycle. So if you fall off, you have to get
    back on before continuing. At the beginning of the game and after each goal, all
    players go to their own half of the surface where play resumes as soon as a
    player of the team in possession crosses the center line. And if you knock the
    ball out of the playing surface, a player from the other team brings it back in
    from the point of exit.

    [Graphic omitted]But other rules differ from club to club. For instance, the
    German teams play with goalies, using a larger net. The Toronto Unicyclists
    don't use a goalie, per se, although one of the four or five players on a side
    can go back and defend the net. Consequently, they use a smaller net, about 12
    inches high by 18 inches wide. The Germans use your average ice hockey stick,
    while the Toronto crew uses street hockey sticks with plastic blades.

    Finding a stick isn't a problem, since players don't play using one of those
    tall unicycles you may have seen in a circus. They sit about four or five inches
    above the ground. "Actually, the proper length [of a stick] is more or less a
    matter of taste," says Sander. "People who are good hockey players but only
    mediocre unicyclists seem to prefer longer sticks. This gives them a larger
    action radius. Good unicyclists, on the other hand, often have short sticks
    because they are fast and they prefer to ride quickly to wherever the ball is."

    What makes a good unicycle hockey player isn't much different from what makes a
    good ice hockey player. Sander suggests that, like hockey players who first
    learn to skate before learning to stick handle and shoot, the basis for a good
    unicycle hockey player is the ability to ride well.

    "A good balance between hockey and unicycling skills is necessary to become a
    good player," says Sander. "But you won't become a good player as long as you
    don't unicycle properly. However, even the best unicyclists are not good

    players unless they practice shooting the ball and team strategy."

    And of course, it doesn't hurt your chances of success if you're willing to
    stick your nose into the action like a Claude Lemieux or a Matthew Barnaby.

    "Since you're moving as fast as guys on ice skates, there's less
    maneuverability," says Bedford. "This leads to collisions and spills. You might
    get a little road rash on you arms. A few of the players wear elbow pads or
    gloves. No one really wears helmets."

    [Graphic omitted]Says Sander: "Although bruises are quite normal, not many
    serious accidents have happened in the 15 years that I've been playing. Yes, we
    had to go to the hospital a few times to stitch a wound. However, if you compare
    it to other sports such as soccer I think the danger is below average."

    The next world championships are scheduled for Washington state in 2002.

    People inside the sport are hoping flint by bringing the world championships to
    the biggest stage in the world, the United States, that word of their new,
    exciting sport will get out in a big way.

    And as the players continue to improve and their numbers grow, players such as
    Bedford dare to harbor golden dreams. "The International Unicycling Federation
    is hoping that unicycle hockey will be an Olympic sport someday," he says.
    "That's their dream. They're always adding games to the Olympics. You need to
    have 16 countries playing the sport to get the Olympic committee's attention.
    Maybe someday, that will happen. I hope so."

    -- End --
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