Roller hockey's origins can be traced to England with the first games being played at the Lava Rink in Denmark Hill, London, in 1885. The sport was then called rink hockey, and it was contested by teams of ten men. Click here to view the rules of the game.
World War I disrupted the sport's growth but it quickly regained its momentum. The first World Championships were held in Germany, in 1936. England dominated the international competitions until the start of World War II. Latin countries started to make it their domain thereafter. Portugal, Spain and Argentina became the perennial champions.
Today, roller hockey continues to enjoy wide popularity. In certain countries, most notably Spain, Portugal, Italy and throughout South America, the sport is second in popularity only to soccer and basketball. Roller hockey was played as a demonstration sport at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Stafford Roller Sports Club participated in these games (see history of the club).
Due to fast pace of the game, it is difficult to broadcast it for television. This is being solved by building rinks with colored pavement that make the ball easier to be seen.
There are many professional roller hockey clubs throughout Europe and FC Barcelona (Spain) holds the most trophies, being the winner of 17 cups in Europe. Other well known teams are The Portuguese FC Porto, The Spanish Igualada HC, and the Italian Bassano Hockey 54.
Women's roller hockey in Australia in the 1940's & 1950's
We don't have much information about the ladies in these photos however it's clear that the game has been alive and well in Australia for a long time. The note on the back of the Rockets Team photo states "Taken on Rockhampton Roller Rink during visit September 18th to 25th 1953".
Many thanks to Rob Carter from the Stafford Skate Centre for sourcing these images.