Do you want to know how to get started in hockey? Whether you are looking for a new hobby, or simply interested in joining the world of ice and skates, it can be tough knowing where to begin.
Thankfully, you have come to the right place! Our ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know about getting into hockey. From understanding the game itself, to finding the right equipment, to perfecting your skating skills – we’ve got you covered.
“Ice hockey is a form of disorderly conduct in which the score is kept.” -Doug Larson
Hockey is an exhilarating sport that requires skill, strategy, teamwork, and patience, so don’t worry if you feel intimidated at first. We will show you how to go from novice to expert by breaking down each aspect of the game into manageable steps.
We’ll also explore the different variations of hockey, such as street hockey and roller hockey, so you can find the version of the sport that’s most accessible for you. Plus, we’ll touch on important topics like safety and etiquette on the rink to make sure you start off on the right foot (or skate).
In short, this guide has all the information you need to confidently step onto the ice and start playing hockey. So what are you waiting for? Let’s lace up those skates and hit the rink!
Find Your Local Rink and Hockey Team
If you’re interested in getting into hockey, the first step is to find your local rinks and hockey teams. There are several ways you can go about this:
Search Online for Local Rinks and Teams
The internet is a fantastic resource when it comes to finding local rinks and hockey teams. A quick online search using keywords like “local ice rink” or “local youth hockey team” should pull up plenty of options in your area.
You can also check out websites like USA Hockey (https://www.usahockey.com/) or Hockey Finder (https://www.hockeyfinder.com/), which are excellent resources for finding rinks and teams across the United States.
“Use technology to help you get ahead,” -Mark Cuban
Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations
Don’t underestimate the power of personal recommendations! If you have friends or family members who play or have played hockey in the past, ask them for recommendations on local rinks or teams they’ve enjoyed playing with.
This can be a great way to not only find rinks and teams but also get insights from people who know the local scene well.
“Word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most effective forms of advertising.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
Check with Local Parks and Recreation Departments
Your local parks and recreation department may have information on local rinks and leagues. They may even offer their own programs or classes for individuals who want to learn how to skate or play hockey.
Checking with your local government offices is also an excellent way to find out if there are any financial assistance opportunities available for those looking to get into hockey.
“Local government is a keystone of democracy.” -Arlen Specter
Visit Rinks and Talk to Coaches and Players
If you want to get an up-close look at the local hockey scene, head out to your nearest rink and see what’s going on. You might just find a pick-up game or scrimmage happening, or even open skate times that can help you develop your skating skills.
Talking to coaches and players is also a great way to get insider information on local leagues and teams. Ask about any challenges they’ve faced or tips they have for beginners looking to get involved in the sport. You may be surprised at how eager people are to share their knowledge and experience!
“There is no substitute for hard work.” -Thomas A. Edison
No matter which method(s) you use to start your search, once you’ve found some potential programs or rinks, take time to research each one thoroughly before making a final decision.
Some factors to consider when choosing a team or program include:
- The age brackets offered (e.g., youth vs. adult)
- The skill levels available (e.g., beginner vs. advanced)
- The equipment requirements (e.g., skates, sticks, helmets, etc.)
- The time commitment required
- The cost
- The quality of coaching and instruction provided
Finding the right rink and team will depend on your personal goals, interests, and schedule. But with a little research and effort, you’ll be well on your way to getting on the ice and enjoying the thrill of playing hockey!
Get The Right Gear To Play Hockey
Buy or Rent Skates, Helmet, and Protective Gear
Hockey is a high-intensity sport that requires essential protective gear to be worn at all times. Your hockey checklist should include items such as helmets, skates, gloves, shin guards, elbow pads, and shoulder pads. When renting or purchasing gear, it’s important to ensure that the equipment fits correctly for maximum protection.
Renting hockey gear may not always be available, but it can save you money in the beginning stages of learning how to play. However, owning your own gear will make sure you have access to reliable equipment when needed and allows you to customize fit and comfort.
“When playing hockey, safety should always come first. Wearing appropriate gear reduces the risk of injury and ensures players are able to safely enjoy the game.” -Hockey Canada
Choose the Right Stick for Your Playing Style
The right stick can heavily impact gameplay and player performance. When choosing a stick, your height, position, and preference must be taken into consideration. Generally speaking, forwards use shorter sticks for better control and defensemen use longer sticks for reach on the ice.
Stick blades also vary depending on the player’s shot style, so taking time to research different blade patterns can make a significant difference in getting the puck into the net.
“The right stick can elevate your game to the next level and improve both your accuracy and speed” -Bauer Hockey
Consider Getting Custom-Fitted Gear for Comfort and Safety
Custom-fitted gear is usually designed based on your specific measurements and individual body type, which makes it more comfortable and safer for you to wear during games. It provides better protection in the areas that need it most and can prevent common injuries like ankle sprains, concussions and broken bones.
Although custom-fitted gear may be more expensive than off-the-shelf gear, investing in your safety is crucial when playing hockey. As you advance to higher levels of play, receiving tailored equipment should be even more important to improve performance and reduce risks.
“The enhanced level of comfort, control, balance and overall performance made possible by customized products could help hockey players achieve their highest levels of success” -Igroupsportswear
Learn Basic Hockey Skills and Techniques
Master Skating and Stopping Techniques
If you want to get into hockey, the first thing you need to do is master skating and stopping techniques. Skating is a fundamental skill in hockey as it’s required for both offensive and defensive plays.
When learning how to skate, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart with knees bent and your weight evenly distributed. Practice pushing off on one leg while gliding on the other. This will help you build up strength and balance which will carry over onto the ice during gameplay.
The most basic stop is known as the snowplow stop. To perform this technique, angle your skates inward and apply pressure to the inside edge of the blade causing them to slow down. Proper stopping techniques are crucial in avoiding collisions with other players or losing control of the puck when transitioning between movements.
Practice Stickhandling and Passing Drills
Another important skill to learn when getting into hockey is stickhandling and passing drills. Stickhandling is critical to maintain possession of the puck and creating scoring opportunities.
To practice stickhandling efficiently, use tennis balls or golf balls to develop hand-eye coordination rather than relying solely on a hockey puck. Focus on keeping your hands close together and using small swift motions to maneuver around obstacles.
Incorporate some simple passing drills like the give-and-go, where two players pass the puck to each other while navigating through cones or pylons. By enhancing your stickhandling and passing abilities, you’ll have strong ball control and positional awareness that can help lead your team to success.
Learn Shooting and Scoring Techniques
Scoring goals is the essence of any successful hockey team, so if you’re looking to get into hockey, you must learn how to shoot. Shooting techniques vary from wrist shots, slap shots, and snap shots.
Wrist shots are the most common as they offer quick release with great accuracy while being low risk for a turnover. To perform this technique, maintain bending your knees, turn shoulders toward the net, pull the puck back, and snap the wrists forward in one fluid motion.
Slap shots, on the other hand, require more power which also elevates its risk of missing the shot or having it be blocked by defenders. This technique requires positioning the body over the puck, pulling the stick backward, and then forcefully bringing it down onto the ice like a golf swing. Being proficient in different shooting styles can make you unpredictable and challenge opposing teams’ defense.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky
Getting into hockey requires dedication and practice towards mastering fundamental skills such as skating, stopping, stickhandling, passing, and scoring techniques. These are basic building blocks that will assist players further along their journey to become efficient at more advanced tactics during gameplay. So what are you waiting for? Gear up and hit the ice!
Improve Your Hockey Skills With Practice and Drills
If you’re looking to get into hockey, then one of the best ways to improve your skills is through regular practice and drills. Here are some tips on how to up your game:
Practice Skating and Stickhandling Drills Regularly
Skating is a fundamental skill in hockey that requires good balance and agility. To improve your skating abilities, try practicing different techniques such as forward crossovers, backward skating or stopping and starting quickly.
Additionally, stickhandling is another crucial element of playing hockey. You need to be able to handle the puck with ease to make quick passes and score goals. Simple stickhandling drills like weaving in and out of cones or moving around obstacles can help you hone this skill.
Incorporate skating and stickhandling drills into your daily routine to become more proficient at both.
Work on Shooting and Scoring Techniques with a Partner
Scoring goals is the most exciting part of playing hockey, and it’s also an essential part of winning games. Working on your scoring techniques with a partner can help you develop your ability to shoot accurately and efficiently.
One popular drill is called “five-hole,” where you alternate taking shots between your opponent’s legs. For a higher degree of difficulty, focus on shooting from different angles, heights or distances.
Note that being able to pass the puck effectively is equally important for successful scoring. Therefore, take the time to learn proper passing forms and use them regularly in practice sessions.
Join a Hockey Clinic or Camp to Learn from Professionals
Lastly, if you’re really serious about getting into hockey, consider joining a clinic or camp run by professionals. Here, you’ll be coached by experienced players and have the opportunity to learn new techniques, improve your existing skills and meet other hockey enthusiasts. Even if it’s only for a few days or weeks, clinics and camps can help you take your game to the next level.
“I believe that skating is one of the most important aspects of hockey. It’s not about being fast in a straight line, but having agility in all directions.” – Pavel Barber, Professional Hockey Trainer
Remember, practice makes perfect; therefore, keep honing your skills through regular drills and games. Eventually, with enough dedication and effort, you’ll become an excellent player!
Join a Hockey League and Play Games
If you want to get into hockey, joining a league can be one of the best ways to start playing games. Here are some tips on how to get started:
Join a Local Recreational or Amateur League
A recreational or amateur league is often the easiest way to get involved in organized hockey. These leagues welcome players of all skill levels, so if you’re just starting out, don’t hesitate to sign up! Some benefits of these types of leagues include:
- Lower cost compared to competitive leagues
- Friendly environment with less pressure to win
- Mixed-gender teams for more diversity and inclusivity
To find a local rec league, check with your city or town’s recreational department, community centers, or rinks that offer adult programs. You can also try searching online using phrases like “recreational hockey leagues near me” or “beginner ice hockey leagues.”
Find a Competitive League to Challenge Yourself
If you’ve been playing hockey for a while and want to take your game to the next level, consider joining a competitive league. These leagues are designed for experienced players who are looking for more intense competition. Benefits of joining a competitive league include:
- More advanced gameplay with skilled teammates and opponents
- Hockey gear may be provided or included in the registration cost
- Potential opportunities for travel and tournaments
To find a competitive league, ask around at your local rink or hockey community. You can also search online using phrases like “amateur hockey leagues,” “adult hockey leagues,” or “competitive hockey leagues near me.”
“A hockey league can be a great way to challenge yourself and meet new people who share your passion for the sport.” -Hannah Smith, Hockey Writer
No matter which type of league you choose, joining one is a great way to get into hockey and start playing games with others. Just remember to have fun, stay safe, and keep improving your skills!
Watch Professional Hockey Games to Learn and Be Inspired
If you are just beginning to get into hockey, watching professional games is a great way to both learn the sport and become inspired by top-level play. Whether you tune in to live games or watch replays, there is much to be gleaned from observing skilled players showcase their abilities on the ice.
Study the Techniques and Strategies of Professional Players
One of the best reasons to watch professional hockey is to study the techniques and strategies employed by skilled players. Take note of how they skate, handle the puck, shoot, and pass – these skills can all be learned through observation and practice. Additionally, take note of the various systems that teams use (power plays, penalty kills, breakouts) and how players work together to achieve success.
When watching games, pay attention to individual players as well as different positions on the ice. For example, if you want to improve your defensive game, focus on how defenseman position themselves on the ice and transition from defense to offense. If you’re an aspiring forward, study how forwards create scoring chances and find open spaces on the ice.
Watch Games with a Critical Eye to Learn from Mistakes and Successes
Another way to learn from professional hockey games is to observe mistakes as closely as you do successes. When players make errors, analyze what happened so you can avoid similar errors in your own play. Similarly, when a player executes a great play, try to understand what makes it successful. Analyzing both failure and success will help you develop a more critical eye for the game, which will ultimately lead to improved performance on the ice.
You can also hone your analytical skills by reading post-game analysis from sports journalists. These writers often provide different perspectives on individual performances and team strategies. Paying attention to their analysis can help broaden your understanding of the different nuances and tactics involved in professional-level play.
Be Inspired by the Passion and Dedication of Professional Players
Beyond learning techniques and strategies, watching professional hockey can be a source of inspiration as well. Many top-level players have incredible work ethics and dedication that are on full display during games. Seeing these athletes push themselves to go beyond what they thought was possible can be incredibly motivating for new players hoping to improve their own skills.
“Being a hockey player means you love the game and it has to love you back… It’s not actually how good you are; it’s how much you love the game that matters.” – Gordie Howe
Furthermore, observing the passion and teamwork in professional games can provide valuable lessons about camaraderie and motivation. Successful teams often exhibit qualities such as trust, communication, and resilience, all of which can be applied in other areas outside of hockey. As such, watching professional hockey can offer interpersonal benefits as well as athletic ones.
If you’re looking to get into hockey or improve your game, make sure to invest time in watching professional games. This will expose you to the highest level of play, provide countless opportunities to learn from skilled players and coaches, sharpen your analytical skills, and inspire you to pursue excellence both on and off the ice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the basic skills required to play hockey?
Basic skills required to play hockey include skating, stickhandling, passing, shooting, and checking. Skating is the foundation of hockey, and players need to learn to skate forwards, backwards, and stop on both sides. Stickhandling is the ability to control the puck while moving, passing is the ability to move the puck to teammates, shooting is the ability to score goals, and checking is the ability to legally hit opponents to gain possession of the puck.
What are the rules of hockey?
The rules of hockey include no high-sticking, no tripping, no slashing, no checking from behind, no offsides, no icing, and no touching the puck with your hands. The game is played with six players on each team, including a goalie. The objective is to score more goals than the opposing team. The game is divided into three 20-minute periods, and any player who commits a penalty may be sent to the penalty box for a certain amount of time.
What is the proper equipment needed to play hockey?
The proper equipment needed to play hockey includes skates, shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, a helmet with a cage, a mouthguard, shoulder pads, a jockstrap or pelvic protector, and a stick. Goalies require additional equipment, including a chest protector, goalie pads, a blocker, and a catcher. All equipment should fit properly and be in good condition to provide adequate protection and prevent injury.
What are some beginner drills to improve your hockey skills?
Beginner drills to improve hockey skills include skating drills such as forward and backward crossovers, stickhandling drills such as figure eights and stationary puck control, passing drills such as two-man passing and relay races, shooting drills such as wrist shot and slapshot practice, and checking drills such as one-on-one battles and body positioning. These drills should be practiced regularly to improve skills and build confidence on the ice.
How can I find a local hockey team or league to join?
To find a local hockey team or league to join, check with local ice rinks and community centers, search online for local hockey associations or clubs, or ask other hockey players for recommendations. Many leagues offer beginner or recreational divisions, and some even offer programs for children or adults who are new to the sport. Joining a team or league is a great way to improve skills, meet new people, and have fun playing hockey.
What are some tips for improving my fitness for hockey?
Tips for improving fitness for hockey include incorporating strength training exercises such as squats and lunges to build leg and core strength, cardiovascular exercises such as running or cycling to improve endurance, and agility drills such as ladder drills to improve footwork and coordination. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated, as well as getting enough rest and recovery time between workouts and games. Consistent exercise and proper nutrition can help improve overall fitness and performance on the ice.