Bandy players.jpg
Swedish bandy players in January 2011
Highest governing bodyFederation of International Bandy
NicknamesWinter football[1]
First played1813 in Cambridgeshire, England
Team members11 field players
TypeTeam sport, winter sport
EquipmentBandy ball, bandy stick, skates, protective gear
VenueIce field, bandy arena
OlympicDemonstration 1952
An international bandy game between Finland and Norway at the 2004 Women's World Championships in Lappeenranta
A bandy pictogram

Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.[2]

The sport is considered a form of hockey and has a common background with ice hockey and field hockey. Bandy has also been influenced by the rules of association football: both games are normally played in halves of 45 minutes, there are 11 players on each team, and the fields in both games are about the same size. Bandy is played, like ice hockey, on ice but players use bowed sticks and a small ball, as in field hockey.

A variant of bandy, rink bandy, is played to the same rules but on a field the size of an ice hockey rink, with ice hockey goal cages and with six players on each team, or five in USA Rink Bandy League. Traditional eleven-a-side bandy and rink bandy are recognized by the International Olympic Committee. More informal varieties also exist, like seven-a-side bandy with normally sized goal cages but without corner strokes. Those rules were applied at Davos Cup in 2016.

Rink bandy has in turn led to the creation of the sport rinkball. Bandy is also the predecessor of floorball, which was invented when people started playing with plastic bandy-shaped sticks and lightweight balls when running on the floors of indoor gym halls.

Based on the number of participating athletes, bandy is the world's second-most participated winter sport after ice hockey.[3][4][5] Bandy is also ranked as the number two winter sport in terms of tickets sold per day of competitions at the sport's world championship.[4]

However, compared with the seven Winter Olympic sports, bandy's popularity compared to that of other winter sports across the globe is considered by the International Olympic Committee to represent a "gap between popularity and participation and global audiences." This is held to constitute a roadblock to future Olympic inclusion.[6]



The earliest origin of the sport is debated. Though many Russians see their old countrymen as the creators of the sport – reflected by the unofficial title for bandy, "Russian hockey" (русский хоккей) – Russia,[7] England and Holland each had sports or pastimes which can be seen as forerunners of the present sport.[8]

Early days

English bandy developed as a winter sport in the Fens of East Anglia. Large expanses of ice would form on the flooded meadows or shallow washes in cold winters, and skating has been a tradition. Members of the Bury Fen Bandy Club[9] published rules of the game in 1882, and introduced it into other countries. The first international match took place in 1891 between Bury Fen and the then Haarlemsche Hockey & Bandy Club from the Netherlands (a club which after a couple of club fusions now is named HC Bloemendaal). The same year, the National Bandy Association was started in England.[10]

The match later dubbed "the original bandy match", was actually held in 1875 at The Crystal Palace in London. However, at the time, the game was called "hockey on the ice",[10] probably as it was considered an ice variant of field hockey.

Modern development

The first national bandy league was started in Sweden in 1902.[10] Bandy was played at the Nordic Games in Stockholm and Kristiania (present day Oslo) in 1901, 1903, and 1905 and between Swedish, Finnish and Russian teams at similar games in Helsinki in 1907.[11] A European championship was held in 1913 with eight countries participating.[10]

In modern times, Russia has held a top position in the bandy area, both as a founding nation of the International Federation in 1955 and fielding the most successful team in the World Championships (when counting the previous Soviet Union team and Russia together).

The highest altitude where bandy has been played is in the capital of the Tajik autonomous province of Gorno-Badakhshan, Khorugh.[12]

Historical relationship with association football and ice hockey

As a precursor to ice hockey[13] bandy has influenced its development and history – mainly in European and former Soviet countries. While modern ice hockey was created in Canada, a game more similar to bandy was played initially, after British soldiers introduced the game in the late 19th century. At the same time as modern ice hockey rules were formalized in British North America (present day Canada), bandy rules were formulated in Europe. A cross between English and Russian bandy rules eventually developed, with the football-inspired English rules dominant, together with the Russian low border along most of the two sidelines, and this is the basis of the present sport since the 1950s.

Before Canadians introduced ice hockey into Europe in the early 20th century, "hockey" was another name for bandy,[14] and still is in parts of Russia and Kazakhstan.

With football and bandy being dominant sports in parts of Europe, it was common for sports clubs to have bandy and football sections, with athletes playing both sports at different times of the year. Some examples are English Nottingham Forest Football and Bandy Club (today known just as Nottingham Forest F.C.) and Norwegian Strømsgodset IF and Mjøndalen IF, with the latter still having an active bandy section. In Sweden, most football clubs which were active during the first half of the 20th century also played bandy. Later, as the season for each sport increased in time, it was not as easy for the players to engage in both sports, so some clubs came to concentrate on one or the other. Many old clubs still have both sports on their program.

Both bandy and ice hockey were played in Europe during the 20th century, especially in Sweden, Finland, and Norway.[15] Ice hockey became more popular than bandy in most of Europe mostly because it had become an Olympic sport, while bandy had not. Athletes in Europe who had played bandy switched to ice hockey in the 1920s to compete in the Olympics.[16][17] The smaller ice fields needed for ice hockey also made its rinks easier to maintain, especially in countries with short winters.[16][18] On the other hand, ice hockey was not played in the Soviet Union until the 1950s when the USSR wanted to compete internationally. The typical European style of ice hockey, with flowing, less physical play, represents a heritage of bandy.[19]

Other Languages
العربية: باندي (رياضة)
asturianu: Bandy
беларуская: Хакей з мячом
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Хакей зь мячом
български: Хокей с топка
bosanski: Bendi
català: Bandy
čeština: Bandy
dansk: Bandy
Deutsch: Bandy (Sport)
eesti: Jääpall
español: Bandy
Esperanto: Glitpilkado
euskara: Bandy
فارسی: باندی
føroyskt: Bandy
français: Bandy
Frysk: Bandy
galego: Bandy
한국어: 밴디
hrvatski: Bendi
íslenska: Bandy
italiano: Bandy
עברית: בנדי
қазақша: Допты хоккей
Кыргызча: Топтуу хоккей
latviešu: Bendijs
lietuvių: Bandis
magyar: Jéglabda
मराठी: बँडी
Nederlands: Bandy
日本語: バンディ
norsk: Bandy
norsk nynorsk: Bandy
олык марий: Бэнди
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Koptokli xokkey
polski: Bandy
português: Bandy
română: Bandy
Scots: Bandy
Simple English: Bandy
slovenčina: Bandyhokej
српски / srpski: Bendi
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bendi
suomi: Jääpallo
svenska: Bandy
Türkçe: Bandy
українська: Хокей з м'ячем
粵語: 俄式冰球
中文: 班迪球