MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A unique international competition will be played for the first time on U.S. soil later this month, right here in Minnesota.
Think ice hockey meets field hockey. The game is called Bandy. It’s very popular in Europe, and it’s starting to catch on here.
Girls from Team USA were out practicing on Lake of the Isles on Sunday despite the cold temperatures. The team is made up of hockey players ages 14-16 from schools across the Twin Cities.
During the game, players are on skates but instead of a puck, they use a ball that’s lighter and smaller. Goalies only have their hands and legs to block shots.
“There’s a lot of movement. It’s kind of more like soccer, in the mentality of moving the ball around and going for it. So maybe less contact, but more speed than hockey,” Sarma Ozmen, the head coach for Team USA, said.
The Roseville Oval was selected to host the International Female Bandy World Championships. It’s the only Bandy ice rink in North America.
Teams from Russia, Sweden, and Finland will be in the Twin Cities for the event. The competition starts a week from Wednesday, Feb. 25.