Ball hockey is a fast, skilful sport, with leagues operating in all Canadian provinces. The game traces its ancestry to the simple stick-and-ball games of the Middle Ages. Ball hockey became popular in the 19th century, using some of the techniques of ice hockey but replacing the puck with a tennis ball, and was played informally in streets or back alleys across Canada. With the invention, in 1969, of a hollow, no-bounce plastic ball, ball hockey developed as a separate sport.
The first organized league in Canada was formed in New Westminster, BC, in 1958. The first Canadian Championships were held in 1978, with 6 provincial teams participating; women's national championships have been held since 1987. The Canadian Ball Hockey Association was founded in 1977; it organizes national and regional championships, and assists member provinces in setting up ball hockey leagues. All ages participate, and games are played in hockey arenas, lacrosse boxes and gymnasia.