What is Bandy?


Also called as Banty, Bandy is a sport that is similar to ice hockey, field hockey, and association football, but it is almost exclusively played in Baltic countries, Mongolia, and Scandinavian countries. It is a winter sport that is played on ice while players use sticks to put the ball into the opposite team’s goal.  Just like football, Bandy is normally played in halves with 45 minutes each, has eleven players on each team, and its playing field is just about the same size as a football pitch. Bandy is played on ice just like ice hockey but its players use bowed sticks and a small ball just like field hockey. But how did this sport started?

History of Bandy

Bandy and hockey share a lot of things in common when it comes to historical ancestry. These two sports diverged into two separate games during the 18th century when ice hockey was developing in Canada and bandy formalizing in England.

During the late 19th century, English football was slowly gaining popularity in Britain with new clubs was being formed every year. Several of these clubs started playing the winter sport of bandy to stay trained and at the same time entertain themselves. As more teams began to form and compete with each other, the members of the Bury Fen Bandy Club decided to publish rules of the game and introduce it to other countries. And in 1891, the first international bandy match between Bury Fen and Haarlemsche Hockey and Bandy Club happened and the National Bandy Association was formed in England.

Different Names of Bandy

In the olden days, bandy is known as hockey on the ice. In fact, it is even stated in the sport’s first rule book from England. But since the mid-20th century, the sport was called bandy to avoid confusion with ice hockey. The name bandy comes from the verb “to bandy” which is from the Middle French word “bander” that means to strike back and forth. The curved stick that players use is the game is also called bandy. In Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus, bandy is called “Russian hockey”. While in Slovakia it is called bandy hockey, and in Scottish Gaelic, it is called ice shinty.

How Do You Play Bandy?

Bandy is a winter sport that’s why it is played on ice but unlike ice hockey that uses a disc-shaped black puck, bandy uses a single round ball just like field hockey. And it is played on a rectangle shaped ice with the same size as a football field.

The rules in playing bandy are somewhat similar to football where there are 11 players on each team and one of them is a goalkeeper. The teams will then compete to get the ball into the other team’s goal while using curved sticks. The offside rule is also applied in bandy. One cannot score a goal from a stroke-in or a corner throw. The team who scores the most number goals at the end of the game wins but if both teams have the same scores, the game is a draw.

Bandy players have to use their sticks to be able to pass the ball or score a goal. However, they can also use other parts of their body to move the ball except for their heads, arms, or hands. If a bandy player intentionally used his head to pass the ball or score a goal, he will be given a five-minute penalty by the referee.

A bandy match is not stopped in between unless if the referee announces a pause or if the ball goes out of the playing field. The referee will decide on which team’s player touched the ball before it went out of the field and the opposing team will have a free stroke. The match can only be resumed with a free stroke, penalty shot, or a corner stroke.

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