The official version of street or ball hockey is a relatively young sport although, its roots can be traced back to similar games played with a ball and stick. The first documented history of such a game, called hurling, dates back to the second millennium BC when it was played in Ireland. The word hockey derives from a similar game played by the Native Indians in North America, firstly observed in 1572.

The development of ball hockey until recently, has closely followed that of ice hockey, as it has spread around the world in the northern climates. In Canada ball hockey gained popularity in the 1960s. Due to its close relationship with ice hockey, street and ball hockey developed with similar rules.  International competitions first began as early as 1991 and in 1993 the International Street & Ball Hockey Federation was formed.  The past few years have seen an explosion of the game in tropical nations, and in the orient where it's ease of play is very attractive.

The Canadian version of the game began to take its shape in the late 1960s in Toronto, Ontario, with Habitant Arena hosting a summer program in 1969, and some speculate that it may have even started the year before in the east end of the city. The oldest continuously run league is the Mississauga Ball Hockey Association, which commenced in 1971. The first plastic orange ball was introduced by Arnold Herka, of Viceroy Rubber, to George Butterwick who was operating a Toronto league circa 1970, and the game has never looked back.

The first provincial association was formed in 1974 in Ontario, and the Canadian Ball Hockey Association a few years later in 1977.  One notable ball hockey player who is now part of the NHL is Alexandre Burrows

Source: Canadian Ball Hockey Association. Retrieved on March 26, 2010 at http://cbha.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2