Roller Polo was a game mostly played in England, and the United States of America. Professional, semi-professional and amateur teams were numerous and each team had a devoted following.
Roller skating was very popular in the 1870s, and soon found many of it skaters wanting to add more to the recreation. In 1876 James Gordon Bennett brought polo to the United States. The sport of Roller Polo was fused together out of these interests.
The roller rinks would be converted with boards and goal nets called cages. The regulation size for a roller rink was 80 by 40 feet, athough many games were played in rinks that were much larger. Chicken wire was strung up behind the cages to protect the spectators from wild balls hit out of bounds.
Roller Polo sticks were a similar shape as field Hockey, only much thinner - 1 inch in diameter. The players would use one hand to hold the stick, with a leather strap attached through a hole at the top of the stick and around the wrist to prevent the stick being knocked away.
Players wore wool jersey shirts and leggings in the team colors; their only protection was padded shin guards. Only the goalie wore a mask and thigh and chest padding. They wore the same skates that recreational skaters used, metal “sandals” with straps and four wooden wheels.
Games were played in three 15-minute innings (periods).
Teams consisted of 5 to 7 players. The early games were played with 5 players including the goalie.
The game was fast and tough. Games started when a bright colored ball was dropped into the middle of the Roller Rink, called the spot. The Rushers (forwards) would sprint from their Cages to the centre of the rink, where there was a fierce battle for the ball.
Check Out this original Spalding's Official Polo Guide from 1898 http://archive.org/stream/spaldingsofficia01mors#page/n1/mode/2up
Check out this original Henley's Official Polo Guide from 1885 http://www.archive.org/stream/henleysofficialp00henl#page/n3/mode/2up
Roller Polo was 1st played at the Denmark Arena in London, England in 1878.
The sport was introduced into the United Staes in 1882 with the formation of the National Roller Polo League in Dayton, Ohio with teams in seven cities. Roller Polo League In 1884 the Massachusetts Roller Polo league was operating with 14 teams Organized roller skating sports developed as the popularity of roller skates increased in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roller hockey teams were playing throughout Europe as early as 1901.