How to Start Playing Hockey as an Adult

There is one surefire way to start playing hockey as an adult: Just play.

Put down the television remote, rise from your comfortable living room chair, and lace up.

You’ll discover you’ve been initiated into a close-knit, beer-league fraternity, where you’ll learn how to play hockey, have fun, remain fit, and stay young.

Can Adults Learn to Play Hockey?

Not only can adults learn to play hockey, but many who compete weekly at local ice rinks would say that more adults should get out and learn to play.

Any beginner to the sport will need to practice the three essential hockey skills: skating, puck control, and shooting. As they hone these skills, adults of all ages and fitness levels can challenge themselves, have fun, and develop new friendships.

So, How Should an Adult Start Playing Hockey?

Begin with this handy rookie to-do list:

1. Purchase Correctly Fitted Hockey Skates

The hockey skate is your connection to the ice. It’s one of the most important pieces of hockey equipment. A comfortable, well-fitting skate will enhance your experience immensely. To find out what to look for in a skate, consult our guide on how to buy hockey skates. Then go investigate the feel of a variety of skates. (Before you go, make sure you know how to fit hockey skates, and maybe read up on skate-fitting info from the Pure Hockey experts in our skate guide.)

Keep in mind that some beginners make a mistake by buying top-of-the-line skates, but soon discover that elite-level skates can be stiff and difficult to break in. Beginner skates should be comfortable and fit properly, even if they don’t sport cutting-edge technology that makes them ultra-lightweight for maximum speed or ultra-stiff for maximum power transfer. Learning basic maneuvers such as starting, stopping, and turning is easier in comfortable, well-fitting skates, and these moves will be essential to your new pastime.

Get your feet under you, and you can always upgrade later if you find your skates—and not your skills—are holding you back.

2. Refine Hockey-Specific Skating Moves

Begin with a proper skating stance for hockey, bending your knees and squatting while keeping your weight at the center of your feet. Push off with full strides, and get into a rhythm.

The hockey stance is important. If you start skating upright, the style will hinder you when you get the stick into your hands and start learning to play the game. Upright skaters who attempt to stickhandle are easily knocked off the puck. Consider taking a few skating lessons to reinforce good skating technique.

3. Acquire Basic Equipment

As your skating improves, it’ll soon be time to test yourself in pickup games, and eventually, beginner leagues.

Before going to a rink and declaring “I’m next,” prepare yourself with the basic equipment:

  • Helmet
  • Mouth Guard
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Elbow Pads
  • Gloves
  • Athletic Cup
  • Hockey Pants
  • Shin Guards
  • Stick

4. Practice … Practice … Practice

There is no substitute. Away from an ice surface? No problem. Stickwork can be refined anywhere, and lots of hockey training aids are available to help you develop your skills. For example, using a weighted puck with a tapeless stick on a flat surface can help develop “soft hands.”

How Long Does It Take to Learn Hockey?

Everyone is different. The skills required to learn hockey as a beginner will come easily for some, while others will need to work hard and stay patient.

Here Are Three Hockey Tips for Beginners:

  1. Play different types of games, such as ball hockey, inline, or street hockey.
  2. Even if you’re by yourself away from an ice surface, you can set up a net in a driveway and work on drills for stickhandling and shooting backhanders, slappers, and wristers.
  3. To refine your puck control, shooting, and skating skills against opponents, dress for as many pickup games or stick and puck sessions at local rinks as possible.

Learning Hockey at 40 Years Old?

Ever since you were a kid, you’ve loved the sport. You always watched and rooted for your favorite team. Watching the Stanley Cup take laps always meant just a little more than the other championship presentations.

But you’ve never competed in an organized game. Never suited up. Never gone hard into the corners to dig out and gain control of the puck. Never scored a power-play goal.

“Man, and I’m over 40 years old,” you think.

—So what?

Fifty years old?

Sixty years old?

If you’re medically cleared and physically able to take the demands of playing in a game, it’s not too late to start.

Look into open skates, pickup games, and beginner leagues. Each can play important roles in developing your skills.

Hockey Leagues for Beginners

Various adult beginner hockey leagues exist in many metropolitan areas. If you have any questions about where or how to begin playing, reach out to local ice rinks and speak to their representatives.

Many adults who choose to get out of the house and play beginner hockey say that the camaraderie in their league is one aspect that keeps them coming back. The bond that hockey players share compels many to overcome the physical and mental challenges of playing the sport.

Remember, there’s only one way to start playing hockey as an adult: grab your skates, lace up, and play! The physical activity of the sport and the camaraderie of the leagues have some undeniable benefits: Even if you start playing later in life, hockey can help keep you young.