Street Hockey. Just the mere mention brings back memories of its early days. Youth could be seen playing on tennis courts, in driveways, school yards, empty parking lots, local gyms, and of course, in the streets. Even today, you can find pick-up games in these very same venues.
In its infancy, “teams” were limited in the area of equipment. They were relegated to play the game with worn out, cast-off hockey equipment, home-made goals, and punctured tennis balls.
And rules? What rules? They were sparse and marginally enforced. But what these games lacked in equipment, supplies, and officiating, they more than made up with an abundance of enthusiasm.
Street hockey was elevated from this simple, neighborhood game to an organized sport in the early 1970’s. In Leominster, Massachusetts, a group of hockey enthusiasts – lead by Ray Leclerc – founded Mylec, Inc., a street hockey equipment company. Their vision produced four new and essential elements to the game:
A regulation rink (160’ x 80’)
A no-bounce plastic ball (which replaced the puck)
A set of official rules to govern play
A Dekhockey plastic surface that allowed play to continue all year in all weather conditions
Ray Leclerc, along with Tom Downey, Dave Kornik, and Chris Housser, developed a multitude of programs, which included:
The American Street Hockey Institute (ASHI)
International Dekhockey Tournament Association (IDTA)
Referee training and certification
Regional, National, and International tournaments.
All of these programs acted to accelerate the growth of the sport nationwide.
Organized street hockey today uses the name Dekhockey played in a regulation size rink on a plastic deck. No longer limited to the conditions of its early days, this sport is now played under an official set of rules (US Dekhockey Federation Rule Book), in organized leagues, and at regulation rink facilities.
The US DekHockey Federation was incorporated as a 501c non-profit organization in January 2013. The Federation has a main objective: that of promoting the sport of Dekhockey throughout the United States.