Sometimes referred to as Russian hockey, bandy is a cross between hockey and football. While both hockey and bandy include ice, skates and a stick, that's where the similarities end. Bandy uses a ball instead of a puck and the typical hockey stick is replaced with a field hockey stick. Teams of 11 players aside (including the goalkeeper) play on an ice surface the same size as a football field, nets are larger and games consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. Rules, including offside, also resemble the game of football, rather than ice hockey.
While bandy has been around since the 19th century, a world championship has only been contested since the latter half of the 20th century.
The Soviet Union won the first Bandy World Championship in 1957 and retained the title until 1979.
Today Russia competes for the championship against rivals from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Kazakhstan, consistently finishing with a gold or silver.
Not to be mistaken with the Bandy World Championship is the Bandy World Cup. Unlike the world championships which is played by national teams, the Bandy World Cup is a tournament to decide the world's best professional bandy club. Participating for the World Cup are teams from the Russian Bandy League, which currently includes 17 Group 1 teams.
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