Just what is Bandy, anyway?

In response to the bandy-fever that was eminating from the Twin Cities this past winter, several members of the International Swedish Interest discussion list SWEDE-L attempted to explain the whole bandy phenomenon:

> For the benefit of the uninitiated, could someone out there please briefly
> explain what bandy is? I know it is similar to hockey ( or is it?), but
> that is about it. Thanks.

Bandy is very similar to field hockey with skates.

The major problem with watching bandy, is that you can not see the ball. It is small, red and fast, that is probably also why none of the american net-works has payd multibillion dollar contracts for the TV-rights.

Some other (maybee) interesting facts:

1) In sweden Bandy for females have been a big sport for a long time, much longer than women has played soccer, or icehockey. But this is only in sweden, so sweden normally wins the womens Bandy world cup with 25-0 or something like that. (I think they played on a smaller field, so the other women shouldn't get lossed)

2) There are three big events of bandy in sweden. The finals for men and women, traditionally held at Soderstadion in Stockholm, (The home of Hammarby). i guess some time in mars/april.
On annandag jul (dec 26:th) will all of sweden (well not really all, but several hundreds of people) bring their thermoses and go watch a bandy game.
The WC of course

3) History:
The World Cup was for a long time a Russian (sovjet) story. But sweden managed to win in 1980 or so and then it has been pretty close between Sweden and russia. During the 80:s Bandy has started spreading. First I think Canada joined, followed by USA, hungary and now obviuosly Kazakstan and Holland.

4) The game.
One funny thin gin the game, are the corner (hits/kicks ?) They are performed in a similar way as in soccer. One guy hits the ball from the corner and tries to reach the team mates. The funny thing is that all players on the defending teams are standing on the goal line, trying to protect the goal. So if you wanna score, you have to do a high precision shot.

Fast skating is very important.

The goal keeper is very important (I know as I used to play goal keeper)


Bandy is the sport where the audience is supposed to bring their briefcases to the games. When they have consumed the contents they'll see the ball.

(Joking, I hope someone more initiated than me can answer the question.)


Dear James,

Bandy is played on an ice-field similar in size to a soccer field, with goals somewhat smaller than those in soccer. Nine (?) players skate on either team, using a J-shaped stick to handle a tightly wound cotton/plastic tangerine-sized red ball. The stick looks similar to that used for field hockey, but is flat on both sides of the blade which allows for subtler ball handling.

The similarities to soccer are the most pronounced, as both corner hits and free hits (after penalties) exist in bandy. However, bandy also shares features with icehockey, such as 2 and 5 minute time penalties and free exchange on players during the game. Due to the great amount of skating in this game, the skates have greater contact surface than in icehockey, but for manoeuverability the surface is usually less than ten inches. The game is played in two 45 minute halves with players taking slaps at the little red ball using anything from full golf-like swings to gentle two-handed volleying.

It is an unusual team sport to say the least. Apparently, my younger brother in Sweden played a game for the first time with a Division III team (he normally plays icehockey quite well) - they got whopped, 1-13, by the series leaders. Often, a good goalkeeper will make all the difference in bandy.

Since I am an icehockey player (and have never played bandy), I hope that some of our non-exiled Swedish friends can correct any and all of the mistakes in my rendering of this fascinating sport.

Sincerely, Patric.

Ma'let a"r ingenting, va"gen a"r allt - R. Broberg
Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Madison, WI 53706, USA.


A couple of people have requested an explanation of what exactly I am talking about. The following is taken from the official tournament program:

"WHAT IS BANDY? Anyone who has ever played the sport in the United States has probably had to try to explain what Bandy is many times. It is not that easy to do. The standard explanation is that Bandy, the forerunner of ice hockey, is played on ice skates and on a sheet of ice the size of a soccer field. The players use sticks resembling field hockey sticks as they attempt to hit a hard plastic ball with a cork center into a net about seven feet high and 11 feet wide. Unlike ice hockey, there is no shoulder contact and an occasional accidental head-on collision. The rules and strategy are very similar to soccer. There are 11 players on each side and the games consist of two 45-minute halves. Bandy can be seen as a cross between soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse and curling."

I might also add that the sport is very popular in small and medium-sized towns in Sweden. The team from my wife's home town, Vetlanda, is usually among the best. Vasteras is also a real powerhouse, and that team has the most players on the national team.

I might also note that ALL of the USA players are from Minnesota, so I don't know why the team has to be called Team USA. Team Minnesota or even Team Twin Cities might be more appropriate. As far as I know, this is the only part of the USA with any organized bandy teams.

Heja Sverige!
David Curle

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