Congratulations, you are about to begin playing the most exciting sport on earth, this will be a long, challenging and rewarding path for you. My name is Jeremy and I am here to make your journey to hockey as easy and straightforward as possible. This website will serve as a guide for you to go from clueless rookie to respectable novice. In each article I will include tips for parents starting their kids in hockey, and adults taking up hockey for the first time. Let’s get started on how to start playing hockey
How to Start a Child in Hockey
Starting a child in hockey is fairly easy. Most communities have a minor hockey association that divides children first by age level, and then by skill level. A child at any age can play house league hockey, as long as they have the proper equipment and pay their registration fee on time.
Equipment needed for a child to play on a hockey team
We go into more detail in our hockey equipment guide, but here is the requirements for children to play hockey
- Jock (or jill for girls)
- Shin pads
- Hockey socks
- Hockey Pants
- Shoulder Pads
- Elbow Pads
- Neck Guard
- Mouth Guard
- Jersey for practice
- Hockey stick
If you’re child just wants to play recreational hockey (at an out door hockey arena, or during stick and puck sessions at the arena) less equipment is required. For outdoor hockey all you really need is skates, a helmet and a stick (although new players should wear elbow pads and shin pads for more protection)
Quick tips for parents starting their children in hockey
- Make sure their equipment is comfortable and fits them properly
- Save money by buying equipment used, you can ask parents of older players or look online
- The kids don’t need $200 hockey sticks, focus on skill development
Guide for Adults starting hockey
You’ve always loved hockey but your parents didn’t enroll you. Now you’ve got a job, or have moved close to an arena and are finally taking the leap. Good job, you are not alone. I have had people email me who are 50+ years old that are just starting. Below are some tips for you to learn and improve quickly.
You don’t need full equipment to start
If you just want to give hockey a shot, you don’t need to dump your full pay cheque and then some on hockey equipment. All you really need are skates, elbow pads, shin pads, a stick and a helmet. If you look around you could find most items used, or on sale. I recommend a decent helmet, and comfortable skates that fit properly.
In most adult leagues shoulder pads, a mouth guard, and a neck guard is optional.
You should learn how to skate first
If you want to play hockey, you need to know how to skate, turn and stop. The best way to learn is by getting a lot of ice time and finding someone to teach you. I have some skating videos on my Youtube channel, but I strongly suggest you find skating lessons at an arena nearby. Look for adult skating lessons, adult hockey lessons, or adult power skating lessons. The lessons will help instill good habits right from the start, and will make your path to becoming a hockey player much easier (and quicker)
How can an adult start playing hockey?
After you’ve taken some skating lessons I suggest you get as much ice time as you can. This means going to public skating and open hockey sessions (known as stick and puck, shinny, or pick up hockey).
Find the three closest arenas in your area and call them all. Ask if there are any open ice sessions where the public can skate or play hockey. Public skating is usually about $2 and stick and puck ranges from $5-$15. Your first few sessions will be intimidating, but it’s a long path to success and you will improve more and more every time you step on the ice.
Another good tip is to play any type of hockey you can. Play inline, ball hockey, street hockey, shoot pucks in your backyard. All of these things will help you improve
Work on your shooting and stickhandling at home
The three biggest skills you need to learn are skating, shooting, and puck control. Skating needs to be done on the ice (some rollerblading doesn’t hurt) but stickhandling and shooting can be practiced at home. All you really need is a shooting pad and something to shoot at (a hockey net is a good idea, but anything that stops pucks will work)
How to join a hockey team
After becoming somewhat comfortable with shooting, skating and stickhandling you will be ready to join a team. The best way to join a team is to ask the guys that you have been playing hockey with. You should be playing pick-up hockey at least once a week, ask the other guys who play pick-up hockey with you if they need an extra guy on their team, or if they know of a team you can join.
If you haven’t made any friends at the arena, you could call the local rinks and ask for beginner hockey leagues. You can usually just sign up, pay and play, but it will be more fun if you know a few guys on the team (that’s why I recommend playing a lot of pick up hockey before you join a team)
That’s it for now, if you have any suggestions or tips of your own let me know in the comments section below