WINNIPEG – Even though the equipment is easily recognized, hardcourt bike polo is still largely unknown.
“It’s a little bit of a strange sport to try to explain to people,” Zach Allard of the Winnipeg Urban Polo Association said.
Best described as hockey on a bike, the game is played on iceless rinks. There’s three players per team. No breaks. No cycling of lines. Using mallets, competitors try to knock a small ball into their opponents’ net.
“There’s a huge amount of competition in the sport now,” the Winnipeg Urban Polo Association’s Whitney Light said. “At the same time, it’s always a super fun experience as well.”
Even if it’s a little tough to get a handle on the sport.
“Some people think it’s dangerous,” Light said. “They don’t want to fall of their bike or get bruised. That does happen but the better you get, the less injured you get.”
Hardcourt bike polo wheeled into Winnipeg ten years ago. Today, there’s roughly 20 hardcore players.
“The number one accepted rule in bike polo is don’t be a jerk,” Winnipeg Urban Polo Association president Matthew Magura said.
“You can travel to another city, enter a tournament and you’re friends with everyone there.”
That welcoming atmosphere is the same one bike polo is built on.
“It’s the only sport I’ve played that has a strong sense of community and equality,” Allard said. “All over the world, there’s mandatory co-ed tournaments.”
Inclusivity helping to change gears one game at a time.