Hockey balls and floor balls may look similar at first glance, but they actually have some key differences. Here are the 11 major differences between hockey and floor balls:
- Weight – Hockey balls are heavier at 5.5-5.7 ounces versus 4.4-4.9 ounces for floor balls.
- Size – Hockey balls have a circumference of 8.5-8.82 inches compared to 7.8-8 inches for floor balls.
- Bounce – Hockey balls have a lower bounce than floor balls due to their heavier weight.
- Materials – Hockey balls are made of solid plastic while floor balls have a hollow plastic shell.
- History – Hockey balls evolved from early wooden balls while floor balls were designed specifically for indoor sport in the 1960s.
- Speed – Hockey balls generally travel faster due to harder shots. Floor balls top out around 50 mph.
- Serves – Hockey ball serves can reach over 90 mph while floor ball serves top out around 65 mph.
- World Records – The hockey ball speed record is over 100 mph. The floor ball record is 89 mph.
- Storage – Hockey and floor balls should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
- Aging – Brand new balls have the liveliest bounce. Old balls tend to get compressed and lose bounce.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at these key differences between the two balls used in very different sports. By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of how hockey balls and floor balls compare and contrast.
Difference in Weight
The most noticeable difference between hockey and floor balls is the weight. Hockey balls typically range from 5.5 to 5.7 ounces. This heavier weight gives them more momentum when hit by a hockey stick.
Floor balls are much lighter, weighing 4.4 to 4.9 ounces. This gives them a bit more bounce and ability to float across the indoor arena. So hockey balls end up being about 20% heavier on average.
Difference in Size
Along with the weight difference comes a size difference. Hockey balls have a larger circumference on average. Regulation sizes are 8.5 to 8.82 inches around. This larger size again contributes to momentum when struck solidly.
Floor balls are a bit smaller at 7.8 to 8 inches in circumference. This more compact size allows for better ball control indoors. Players can swiftly pass the smaller floor ball in tight spaces.
Difference in Bounce
The varied weights and sizes result in hockey and floor balls having quite different bounce characteristics. The heavier hockey ball has less bounce overall. Its solid plastic construction gives it a low and brisk bounce.
Floor balls are engineered for more lively bounce indoors. The hollow plastic shell compresses and regains shape with force. Floor balls bounce much higher than hockey balls, especially on hard surfaces.
Hockey and floor balls indeed differ in construction. Hockey balls are solid hunks of plastic while floor balls are more engineered.
Hockey balls can be made of solid vulcanized rubber or plastic. Their solid internal structure gives them rigidness.
Floor balls have a hollow shell design typically made of ABS or PU plastic. The empty internal chamber allows the outer shell to compress and bounce.
History of Both Balls
Hockey balls evolved from early wooden and rubber balls used outdoors. The first plastic hockey balls emerged around the 1950s. Modern balls are highly engineered for quick travels across ice.
Indoor floor balls were invented in the 1960s specifically for arena use. Swedish company Cosmos Sport developed the first hollow floor ball shell in the late 1960s. Floor hockey spread quickly across Europe and North America through the 70s.
Speed They Travel
Given their varied properties, hockey and floor balls reach different speeds during game play. Hockey balls generally travel faster across the ice rink.
Top hockey players can shoot the puck over 100 mph in competitive play. Passes often zip 50 to 80 mph across the slick surface.
Floor balls see slower action indoors. While shots can reach 70+ mph, most passes and plays run 20 to 40 mph. The ball won’t move as fast in an enclosed court with friction.
How Fast is a Serve?
Serves are an opportunity to smash the ball at high speeds. Hockey ball serves can be blisteringly fast compared to floor balls.
Hockey ball serves exceed 90 mph at the professional level. The current NHL speed record belongs to Zdeno Chara at 108.8 mph in 2012.
With floor hockey’s lighter ball, serves max out around 65 mph. The floor ball world record is 89 mph, set by Kimmo Kyllonen in 1995.
What is the World Record Speed of Both?
As mentioned above, the record hockey ball speed was achieved by Zdeno Chara at the 2012 NHL All-Star skills competition. Using specialized radar, his slap shot clocked 108.8 miles per hour.
The Guinness World Record for fastest floor ball shot belongs to Kimmo Kyllonen. In 1995, the Finnish player smashed a serve 89 mph (143 km/h). That speed is still the best 20+ years later.
How Both Compare to Balls from Other Sports
Hockey and floor balls differ from balls used in many other sports as well. They contrast with:
- Baseball – Baseball is slower at 40 to 100 mph with a bouncier ball.
- Tennis – Tennis balls are fluffy, bouncing much higher off the court.
- Soccer – Soccer balls have unpredictable bounces on grass but don’t match hockey velocity.
- Basketball – Basketball’s big bouncy ball wouldn’t work on the ice or indoor court.
No other ball travels as briskly on solid surfaces as the hockey ball. Floor balls mimic hockey velocity but in a smaller indoor package.
The Best Makes of Balls for Either Sport
For hockey, brands like Franklin, InGlasco, A&R Sports, and Bauer dominate. Top choices for floor ball include Salming, Unihoc, and Exel.
High-end balls from these makers have computer-designed shells and premium synthetics. This ensures ideal weight, bounce, and durability over time.
Intermediate balls from brands like Eagle and Champion Sports offer decent performance at lower costs. They work fine for casual play or practice.
Best Ways to Store or Maintain the Balls
To maintain freshness, hockey and floor balls should be stored at stable room temperature. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from excess heat or cold.
For hockey balls used on the ice, allow them to fully dry after used before returning to a bag. Built up moisture can damage the ball over time.
Avoid kicking or abusing the balls when not in play. This can lead to unseen cracks and deformation shortening usable life.
How a New Ball Compares to an Older Ball
Brand new balls right out of the wrapper offer optimal bounce and performance. The synthetic materials have full elasticity when never used.
Over time, constant impact compresses fibers inside the ball. They lose their energetic liveliness. Old balls become “dead” lacking the spring of new ones.
Serious players re-up on fresh balls each season to enjoy that crisp feel. Old practice balls get relegated for casual use.
So in summary, hockey balls and floor balls share similarities being hard spherical sport balls. But they differ substantially in materials, size, weight, bounce, speed, and use. Hockey balls excel at raw speed across the open ice rink. Floor balls bring controlled bounce to tight indoor settings. Being aware of these differences will help you pick the right ball for your sport and needs.