Senior Erin Patton plays on national bandy team


Photo courtesy of Erin Patton

Senior Erin Patton has been playing bandy, a widely unknown sport, for years.

BSM senior Erin Patton has participated in the Scandinavian sport called bandy for four years. Bandy is most easily described as a mix of soccer and hockey and most likely originated in England. “We skate on a rink that is the size of a professional soccer field and shoot into nets with a stick. The nets are as big as a soccer goal,” Patton said.

Though not commonly known in the US, bandy is very popular on the other side of the world. “In Russia and Sweden it is really popular, and it just became really popular in China because they are holding the next World Cup, so they are trying to gain popularity,” Patton said.

Several countries have professional teams, including America. Patton first heard about bandy from her neighbor, who plays on the national team. “My neighbor talked to me after I stopped doing hockey because he thought I would be interested,” Patton said.

Patton felt drawn to bandy because of its similarities to hockey, yet with a more relaxed nature. “I like it because it’s different than hockey, but it was still my ticket to skate. It’s more of a relaxed sport,” Patton said.

Her favorite difference between bandy and hockey is the skating. “I really love skating so there is a lot more of that and not as much physical contact. Bandy is more about talent than the contact,” Patton said.

For Patton, the most difficult part is keeping all of the rules straight. Bandy players aren’t able to lift their opponent’s stick up to steal the ball. If they do, it results in a penalty shot. They also can’t use their skates to kick the ball or pass it to another teammate. “It’s hard to learn all of the rules. There are more rules than in hockey and soccer, and they are really nitpicky about them,” Patton said.

I really love skating so there is a lot more of that and not as much physical contact. Bandy is more about talent than the contact.”

— Erin Patton

She also knew that bandy would be the perfect chance to travel. “You can travel the world with bandy. I have gone to Sweden for a tournament and I played against seven different teams from other countries,” Patton said. When she went to Sweden, there were both women and men teams, but she currently only practices with women.

Because of busy schedules, Patton’s bandy team often practices during the weekends, where they run drills and welcome newcomers, “We mostly do drills and we go over the rules because there are usually new people who have never played before,” Patton said.

It is important to be in shape for a sport as physically demanding as bandy, and players need a passion for the activity. Patton believes that the best skills for a bandy player to have are a love for the sport and good endurance, “A good bandy player has stamina and is really invested in their team,” Patton said.

In the near future, Patton hopes to take her love of the sport to the next level, “Mostly I only get to play in the winter because I am so busy, but I have been trying to get on the women’s national team. It’s hard, though, because I don’t really have that much time,” Patton said.