Full contact is allowed when trying to gain/retain possession of the ball, but only for the purpose of getting possession of the ball. Elbowing, tripping or dangerous play may result in a two minute stretch in the penalty box (Sin Bin) leaving the team short of a player (or two).
The team manager plays his team like a hand of cards, trying to match the other team’s strengths and weaknesses, while giving his players much needed rests between bursts of play. Players may be changed on the fly, or at the next break in the game – a penalty or goal. No more than 5 players are allowed on the rink at any one time. Because of the speed of players, balls and sticks, full body armour and protection is essential to prevent injury.
The goal is small with a large highly padded goal keeper. The goalie padding has evolved to assist the goalie as well as provide protection. The amount of target space around the goalie is very small, and players must shoot fast and accurate to get the ball into the net. The goalie’s padding gives him many blind spots, and makes him relatively immobile. Only 1 in 10 shots at goal may succeed, but many goals are made off re-bounds when the goalie is unsighted.
Players in defence will attempt to block passage and passes from the opponent in possession. Often forcing the attacking player to the barrier, forcing a poor pass, or taking possession themselves. The defence will attempt to keep play in the opponents half and create opportunities for the forwards.