MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a sport you have to see to believe. This is unicycle hockey.
“Typical reaction is, ah, is ‘what?'” Ryan Wood said. “But once they see it, they understand.”
A new spin on Minnesota’s most sacred sport.
“I think it’s the most fun thing to do on a unicycle,” Wood said. “It’s definitely most popular in Minnesota, but they do it around the world. Germany, Switzerland, a lot of other countries are really good at it too. But in the U.S., definitely Minnesota seems to be where it happens the most … State of Unicycle Hockey, exactly.”
The Twin Cities Unicycle Club makes sure of that. They play pickup games for fun once a week. Once a year they play in the national competition. Every two years, international.
Of all the things you could do on a unicycle, why hockey?
“Well, it just happens to be the most fun. There’s also, people play basketball, do some other things, but it’s a little bit more awkward. Hockey seems a little bit more natural,” Wood said.
“I think it’s a blast. I mean, you have to be good enough where you can ride well, and stickhandle. But once you have that, it’s a lot of fun.”
You replace the ice with a gym floor, the puck with a tennis ball and the skates with, well, obviously a unicycle. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same game.
You can’t check, and you can’t play the puck unless you’re on your unicycle.
“You have to be on your unicycle to play the ball,” Will Hugo said. “And that’s about it, just have a good time.”
No one seems to know how long it’s been a sport. But they’ve played it here in the Twin Cities since at least the ’90s.
“A lot of people are like, unicycling? And that’s probably as far as they get,” Karl Wigert said.
If only they could get on top of a unicycle, grab a hockey stick and see for themselves.
“It’s definitely an unusual thing to do,” Wood said. “But in Minnesota, it just kind of makes sense, you know.”