The sport of In-Line Hockey has its origins in the USA where children played a crude form of the game in the street and parking lots. The sport quickly spread to other countries and is now played extensively in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australasia.
Senior World Championships are now held annually. These events usually take place in the Northern Hemisphere and have been hosted in the USA and Europe.
New Zealand first qualified for a place in the World Championships at the Asia/Pacific Qualification Tournament in 1999. Since this time New Zealand has been the recipient of the World Championships "Fair Play" Award, placed third in Division 1 in 2002 and placed second in Division 1 in 2007.
In 1999, New Zealand sent their Senior Women and Youth ( Under 17) teams to the Can Am Cup, held in Kitchener, Ontario. Both teams competed with distinction.
In 2005 New Zealand sent their 18 & Under team to the 18U World Championships in New Orleans, the team placed third after the USA and Canada. In 2010 the 18U team attended the AAU Junior Olympics in Los Angeles and placed second in the international division.
In 2008 New Zealand sent their 18U Junior Women to World Championships in Philadelphia and received the gold medal. In 2010 the 18U Junior Women attended the AAU Junior Olympics in Los Angeles and placed second at the 18U Junior Women World Championships.
New Zealand and Australia host Oceania Inline Hockey Championships in alternate years, initially this event was held over a two-year cycle and with the inaugural year being 1996. Since 2000 the event has been held annually with teams competing in a 5-game series and the overall points winner being awarded with the Tasman Tasman trophy.
In 1996, New Zealand also hosted three USA based teams at the Oceania Championships in the 16U, 18U and Senior Men's divisions and in 2002 Singapore attended Oceania Championships sending a Senior Men's team.
There are two world governing bodies Federation International Roller Skating (FIRS) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The existence (and rivalry) of two world bodies continues to hamper the development of in-line hockey globally.
The New Zealand Inline Hockey Association was incorporated in July 1995 and is affiliated to the New Zealand Ice Hockey Association (NZIHF) and the New Zealand Federation of Roller Sports (NZFRS). Sport and Recreation (SPARC) currently recognises the NZFRS as the National Sports Body responsible for all roller sports in New Zealand.
By the end of 1995 NZIHA had 11 member clubs and by the end of October 2002 there were 40 member clubs with a membership of over 3000 registered members.
In 1998 the NZIHA, in association with SFRITO trained 42 coaches and by the end of 1999 sixty referees were trained with the assistance of to international referees from Australia.
A National Referee Committee was formed in 2000 followed by a National Coaching Committee in 2001. The NZIHA organised the first Level 3 Referee Qualification Course in Australia in 2001.
A Skills Development programme was introduced in 2001 to assist club coaches with grassroots development and a Level 1 Inline Hockey Coaching programme was initiated.
NZIHA has maintained channels of communication with individual members and with member clubs by way of a comprehensive "Information kit" which has developed into an annual "Club Handbook" prepared at the beginning of each season. In addition a quarterly magazine, "HockeyLine" was posted to all members. With the advent of electronic communication this had been super-seeded with a monthly e-bulletin emailed to each registered member.
The New Zealand Inline Hockey Association hosts two "pinnacle" championship events for its membership annually. These are:
New Zealand National Club Championships (commenced 1996)
This event is held in the September school holidays and hosts the top two teams in each division from each region in an event taking up to nine days to complete. Approximately 150 games are played during the event catering for a maximum of 64 teams.
New Zealand Inter Regional Championships (commenced 1997)
This event is held over Labour Weekend in October annually. Each of the four regions selects a representative team in each grade competed from the players across clubs within their region. Forty games are played over the 3-day weekend with the winning region being presented with the NZ Regional Trophy. Currently each region takes a turn to host this event in a venue within their own region.
In addition New Zealand and Australia host Oceania Inline Hockey Championships in alternate years.