Adults Guide – How to Start Playing 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.

Guide for Adults starting hockey

You don’t need full equipment to startstickandpuck

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. For more information on what equipment you need visit our hockey equipment guide for adult players

In most adult leagues shoulder pads, a mouth guard, and a neck guard is optional.

You should learn how to skate first

learn-to-skateIf 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)

Learn to Skate Video Series

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).

hockey-player-phoneFind the three closest arenas in your area and call them all. To find an arena you can try arena maps. Ask if there are any open ice sessions where the public can skate or play hockey. Public skating is usually about $2-$10 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 homehockey-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

mens-league-hockeyAfter 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)

If you are in Canada you can use the CARHA hockey finder. CARHA is the leader in adult rec hockey in Canada. Fill in your information and they will find a spot for you to play! How cool is that.

You can also try the hockey community to find pick-up games in your area. It’s popular in some cities and is worth a shot.

If you’re looking for a great online community you can join us in r/hockeyplayers on Reddit.

Learn to Play Hockey at home – Join The Pond for easy to follow video courses, challenges, and a private social group to quickly improve your hockey skills at home

That’s it for now, if you have any suggestions or tips of your own let me know in the comments section below

Coach Jeremy


  1. Also, you can ask your local rinks about beginner programs and leagues. Locally we have what is called a Never Ever League. These guys teach all aspects of the game over the course of 10 weeks. Skating included. Final week you even compete against the opposite Never Ever team for a chance to put your names on the “Kinslow Cup”. All gear and equipment, including two sticks and a gear bag are included. All you need is motivation a jock/jill and a cup!

  2. I have been on the ice four times with gear at our local stick time. Totally intimidating the first time out, but has gotten better. I am truly terrible, but at 46 if not now, when? Thanks for all your articles and howtohockey.com was a godsend and an inspiration. I started skating last November and would never have had the confidence without your site. This new site looks great too!

  3. Love the article at 30 yrs old I don’t feel old after all … Anyone know or recommend a beginner league in NYC 5 boroughs ????

  4. Hi. I am a 46 year old woman and going to play hockey for the 1st time this winter. I have 2 daughters who played and have moved on to other things…I miss the sport so much I’m going to give it a shot. Wish me luck! That’s it for now, M

  5. I started about 2 years ago, at first with just skates and some public skate time. Don’t let other players or people intimidate you. Pretty much everyone i’ve met at rat hockey or open hockey was really nice and happy to help if I asked. Not before long I was playing in mens league and know I feel so comfortable on the ice with other people. It just some time and dedication.

  6. Going to try to play my first game of hockey soon at 40 years old. I can skate, but not well. Can stop facing my dominant side, crossovers on same side, skate backwards but not fast. Really nervous about embarrassing myself! I am an assistant coach on my sons Atom team and one of the parents of a kid on the team invited me to play with him in their rec league. He said they have good players and some that just get by. Excited and super nervous!

  7. I am 34 and just got back into hockey, though I played roller hockey. The local quad arena has an I-League the other one also had something similar. I find learning as an adult is so much easier, just need to get over the falling bit. Having recently got back in the last few months, I can say the advice above is spot on. Hopefully I can get into a men’s league in the spring.

  8. I am 41 and heading back to hockey after 6 months figure skating and 6 months hockey lessons when I was 10! Found a great bunch in Thalwil (CH) ranging from 10 to 60 yrs of age! Super excited!

  9. 19 year old going back after being off the ice for 8 years. I’m getting caught up and hitting the ice again to see if i can progress and get back to my prime again.

  10. Hey, like the article, in 15 and been watching hockey for about 2 years. Would getting involved in hockey be the same basic steps

  11. I am 61 and haven’t played in full uniform in 23 years. I have joined a C League and my first game is tomorrow morning. I have been skating during open skatended, and going to stick and puck for several weeks. I can’t wait !!

  12. This is awesome. Is there a goalie version, for those of us who want to play in net? Most of the learn to play hockey stuff seems to be targeted to skaters. For those of us who went through learn to play and became goalies, how did you transition to goal?

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