Ever played a game of roll ball? Neither has the team representing Canada at the Roll Ball World Cup

At the Trinity Bellwoods rink in Toronto, athletes lace up their in-line skates to prepare for the World Cup of a sport they’ve never played before.

The team was assembled 2 months ago and wants to 'make Canada proud'

Canada's first roll ball team will represent the country at the Roll Ball World Cup in Chennai, India. (Samantha Moya/CBC News)

At the Trinity Bellwoods rink in Toronto, athletes lace up their in-line skates to prepare for the World Cup of a sport they've never played a full game of before. 

Nine former hockey players make up Canada's roll ball team and when they arrive in Chennai, India next month they'll be competing in the Roll Ball World Cup and playing their first full game ever. 

Roll ball — a combination of hockey and basketball on in-line skates — was created in India, but the athletes on this team were only introduced to it two months ago.

"We've been watching a lot of YouTube videos to get prepared," said Riley McRae, one of the team members.

They practice twice a week but without opponents, their only portals into the game are the internet and their coach, Sheikh Hossain.

Nine athletes in Toronto make up Canada's roll ball team. When they arrive in Chennai, India next month they’ll be completing in the World Cup and playing their first game ever. 0:23

Hossain played and coached roll ball in Bangladesh before he came to Canada in 2016. Though his team is going in with little experience, he says he expects them to do well because of their hockey skills.

If you want to be a roll ball player you need to know how to skate. "I chose the best skaters," he said. 

Sixty countries are expected to participate at the Roll Ball World Cup, including previous champions Kenya, Denmark and India, the International Roll Ball Federation website says.

For player Duncan Tooley, who helped bring the team together with Hossain, the chance to represent Canada internationally "was the opportunity of a lifetime."

Riley McRae, Jaden Spanier and Sheikh Hossain are part of the first Canadian roll ball team to compete internationally. (Samantha Moya/CBC News)

The sport is played in two 25-minute halves with a net and a court the same size as in European handball.

Each team usually has 12 players, six on the court and six in reserve. But with only nine players, some on the Canadian roll ball team won't get a chance to rest.

But while they may have a disadvantage in terms of numbers, their big advantage is in their skating skills. On top of that, they're also bringing a Canadian flare, player Matthew Zahab said. 

"We're going to throw the body around out there and keep it in the grey area," he said.

Roll ball is similar to hockey and handball but played on in-line skates. (Samantha Moya/CBC News)

The team leaves for Chennai in 30 days, and outside of work and school they're training as much as they can.

"We are prepared, I'm 100 per cent confident we'll win the cup," Hossain said, with the team cheering in the background.

And while not everyone is as confident as Hossain, player Max Langridge said he's happy to have the chance at age 26 to represent his home country.

"We're just looking to make Canada proud." 



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