Small children being instructed with pucks and sticks in Learn to Play Hockey

Learn to Play Hockey the Fun Way: Unleashing Your Inner Gretzky 

Discover the joy of hockey with our ‘Learn to Play Hockey’ guide. This comprehensive article offers beginner-friendly tips and techniques for young enthusiasts. From mastering basic skating skills to handling the stick and puck like a pro, we cover everything to kickstart your child’s hockey journey. Packed with expert advice, safety guidelines, and heartwarming stories, this piece is a must-read for every ice hockey parent looking to nurture their little star’s passion. Join our community and embrace the fun, camaraderie, and excitement of youth hockey!

Greetings, fellow hockey enthusiasts! As someone who has been playing ice hockey for years, I can attest that this sport is one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable activities out there. 
The Learn to Play Hockey program run by USA Hockey or the Learn to Play Hockey Rookie Program “was developed by the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association to offer more families a chance to experience everything that makes youth hockey so rewarding” can be a fun and rewarding experience that leads to lifelong memories and friendships the will last a lifetime!

If you’re a beginner looking to take your first steps onto the rink, fear not! There are many play hockey programs available to get you started, such as the Learn to Play program. 

These programs provide a safe and supportive environment for aspiring players to learn the basics of the game and build their skills.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learning to play hockey can be a fun and rewarding experience 
  • The Learn to Play program is available for beginners
  • .Programs will ask that you finish a certain level of Learn to Skate before entering the Hockey Instruction
  • These programs provide a safe and supportive environment for aspiring players
  • Playing hockey can lead to lifelong memories and friendships
  • Learning the basics of the game and building skills is essential for success on the rink

Embrace the Ice: Discovering the Game of Hockey

When it comes to the sport of hockey, there’s no denying the excitement and thrill it brings to both players and fans alike. 

As someone who has experienced the game firsthand, I can confidently say that learning to play hockey is a journey unlike any other. 

It’s a game that requires not only physical prowess but also strategic thinking and quick decision-making. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the fundamentals of the game and explore how it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The Sport of Hockey

The game of hockey has a long and rich history, dating back to the 1800s in Canada. Today, it’s played all over the world and has become a beloved sport for many. 

The objective of the game is simple: score more goals than the opposing team. But the game itself is anything but simple. 

It requires players to skate on ice, handle a stick, and maneuver a small disk, also known as a puck, into a net that’s guarded by an opposing goaltender.

The Fundamentals of Hockey

Before diving headfirst into a game of hockey, it’s important to master the key skills and rules of the game. 

These include skating, stickhandling, passing, shooting, and defensive play

Skating is the foundation of the game, as it allows players to maneuver around the ice and keep up with the fast-paced gameplay. Stickhandling involves controlling the puck with the stick, while passing and shooting require precision and accuracy. 

Defensive play, on the other hand, is all about protecting your own net and preventing the opposing team from scoring.

The Hockey Journey

First – Learn to Skate

USA Hockey and the NHL and NHL Player’s Association Programs for Learn to Play Hockey all agree you must master a certain level of skating via the Learn to Skate program

DALL·E 2023 12 02 15.57.07 A scene depicting a small group of six children lined up along the side of an ice rink eagerly watching their instructor demonstrate gliding on the i

You’ll discover the ‘Learn to Skate’ info snuggled up next to the ‘Learn to Play Hockey‘ pamphlets! Your neighborhood ice hockey and skating academy is all set to steer you in the right direction!

Whether you’re coaching a handful of newbies or a whole flock of sixty, the two programs’ guidance is crystal clear: tailor your drills to fit the age and skill levels of your players. 

The key is to get these budding hockey enthusiasts feeling at home on the ice. Start with the essentials 

  • that means mastering the fundamental hockey posture, perfecting their glide and knee flex, getting the hang of edge control, and, of course, getting a grip (literally!) on how to handle their hockey stick. 
  • Once they’ve got these basics down pat, they’ll be ready to jump into the deeper end with a learn-to-play program or join the ranks of the 6U or 8U hockey whirlwind.

On a Personal Note:  

Just like a fresh sheet of ice, I vividly recall the moment my son hit his ‘Learn to Skate’ stride at the tender age of six. He could tell, with an almost magical sense, when he had glided into the realm of those skate-savvy instructors on the ice, marking his transition to ‘hockey-ready’. 

Now, this mom? Not quite as prepared. But all it took was one glimpse of the towering hockey players, decked out in their gear, sticks in hand, gliding onto the ice in a single-file parade of excitement and agility. 

My son, with his nose pressed against the cold, hard glass of the rink, was utterly captivated. For me, a newbie to the hockey world, his enthusiasm was infectious yet tinged with a dash of anxiety. It was a foray into a completely uncharted territory. And that’s precisely why I started this blog – to offer a helping hand and a bit of camaraderie to parents navigating these icy waters for the first time.

​Now – The Learn to Play Hockey Journey Continues:

Learning to play hockey is truly a journey like no other. It’s a sport that not only challenges you physically but also mentally. 

DALL·E 2023 12 02 15.54.59 A lively scene of children learning to skate on an ice rink each adorned in colorful hockey gear. A coach is present offering guidance and support.

As you progress in your skills and understanding of the game, you’ll begin to see the rewards of your hard work. 

From scoring your first goal to making a game-saving defensive play, the experiences and memories made on the ice are truly unforgettable.

“Playing hockey is like nothing else on earth. It’s like being in a battle during a war, but with no guns, only sticks and skates.”

Gearing Up: Essential Equipment for Hockey

Let’s face it – hockey is a rough and tumble sport. But fear not, my friends! With the right equipment, you can minimize the risk of injury and focus on dominating the rink.

First things first, let’s talk protective gear. 

two youth teams playing ice hockey

Shoulder padselbow pads, and shin guards are a must-have to minimize the impact of any collisions or falls on the ice. And trust me, as someone who has fallen more times than I can count, you’ll want to invest in quality gear that can handle the hits.  Check out our detailed guide on choosing the right hockey equipment for beginners here!

Now onto the fun stuff – the stick and skates

Your hockey stick is an extension of your arm, so it’s essential to find one that feels comfortable and suits your playing style. And when it comes to hockey skates, don’t just buy the first pair you see. Make sure to get properly fitted by a professional to ensure maximum comfort and performance.

If you’re a rookie to the sport and don’t know where to start, consider getting a hockey equipment starter kit

These kits provide all the necessary gear for beginners at an affordable price.

So, don’t be caught out on the ice without the right equipment. Invest in quality shoulder padselbow padsshin guards, a great stick, and well-fitted skates to become the ultimate hockey player.

Skill Development: Mastering the Basics

Ice skating may seem daunting if you haven’t done it before, but trust me, it’s a skill worth acquiring. There is nothing more satisfying than gliding across the rink with ease. 

photo of pair of ice skates on ice

Before I could even think about stick handling or puck handling, I had to master the basics of skating. I spent hours on the ice, holding onto the boards at first, then slowly making my way across the rink. Eventually, I was skating backwards and doing crossovers.

Once you have some skating experience under your belt, you can start focusing on stick handling. This is all about controlling the puck with your hockey stick

You want to be able to move the puck in any direction without looking down at it, so that you can keep your eyes on the game. 

My favorite drill for practicing stick handling is the “figure eight”. 

Set up two cones or other objects about six feet apart and then weave your way back and forth around them, making a figure eight pattern.

Puck handling is the next step in developing your hockey skills. This is when you learn how to move the puck with your stick while skating, passing the puck to teammates and taking shots. 

One handy trick for improving your puck handling is to use a tennis ball instead of a hockey puck. The ball is lighter and bouncier, making it more challenging to control, but it will help you develop your skills much faster.

Defensive play is just as important as offensive play in hockey. You need to be able to anticipate your opponent’s moves and be ready to stop them in their tracks. 

One of the best ways to practice defensive play is by doing one-on-one drills with a partner. Try to stay between your partner and the goal, and don’t let them pass you.

Summary Table: Essential Skills for Hockey Players

Skating ExperienceMaster the basics of skating, such as gliding, turning, and stopping, before moving on to stick handling and puck handling.
Stick HandlingControl the puck with your stick, moving it in any direction without looking down at it.
Puck HandlingMove the puck with your stick while skating, passing the puck to teammates and taking shots.
Defensive PlayAnticipate your opponent’s moves and be ready to stop them in their tracks.
Skill DevelopmentPractice these essential skills regularly to improve your overall game and become a well-rounded player.

Remember, even the best hockey players started out as beginners. It takes time and practice to develop these skills, but the payoff is well worth it. With dedication and hard work, you’ll be well on your way to unleashing your inner Gretzky.

Joining the Rink: Finding the Right Play Hockey Program

So, you’re ready to hit the ice and start learning to play hockey? Great decision! There are plenty of play hockey programs available to help you get started. Whether you prefer play hockey sessions, private lessons, or organized hockey classes, there’s a program out there that’s right for you.

If you’re a beginner, a Learn To Play Hockey is an excellent place to start. These programs are designed specifically for new players and provide a safe, supportive environment for learning the basics of the sport.

If you’re more advanced, you might prefer joining a youth hockey program or a local hockey class. These programs provide opportunities to develop your skills and connect with other players in your community.

Private lessons are also an option for those seeking more individualized attention and instruction.

The Benefits of Youth Hockey Programs

Youth hockey programs offer many benefits beyond just learning to play the game. They provide opportunities for young players to develop social skills, build confidence, and make lifelong friends. Plus, they’re just plain fun!

youth ice hockey player making a pass

Many youth hockey programs include both practice sessions and games, allowing players to apply the skills they’ve learned in a game setting. Additionally, they provide opportunities for players to compete against other teams and showcase their abilities.

Learn to Play Hockey under the NHL and NHL Players Association can be found right in your community rink or by accessing the Link Here:

  • This Learn to Play revolutionizes youth hockey programs for beginners by offering free, complete gear from head to toe, along with weekly age-appropriate on-ice training sessions. These sessions are led by certified coaches, including alumni from the National Hockey League, ensuring a fun and secure environment. The on-ice instruction curriculum is crafted through a collaborative effort with specialists from USA Hockey and Hockey Canada.

Types of Play Hockey Programs

Program TypeDescription
Play Hockey SessionsLow-commitment, weekly sessions for players of all skill levels
Private LessonsIndividualized instruction for players seeking more personalized attention
Hockey ClassesOrganized courses designed to teach the fundamentals of the game
Youth Hockey ProgramsOrganized leagues, teams, and classes for players under 18 years old

Whatever program you choose, make sure it aligns with your goals and level of experience. And remember, the most important thing is to have fun!

Building Confidence: Unlocking Your Potential

Learning to play hockey goes beyond just mastering the game. It can also build confidence and promote mental health in children. As a coach with years of experience, I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact hockey can have on a child’s confidence.

Playing in a safe environment, surrounded by supportive teammates, allows children to feel secure and confident. As they develop specific hockey skills, they also learn valuable life skills, such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance.

But it’s not just about the game. Hockey helps children build mental resilience and improves their overall mental health. They learn to handle success and failure, manage emotions, and work through challenges. These skills are invaluable both on and off the ice.

As one young player said to me, “I used to be afraid of trying new things, but hockey helps me feel brave and confident.” That’s what it’s all about!

Creating a Positive Environment

Creating a safe and positive environment is essential to building confidence in young players. As a coach, I prioritize creating a supportive team culture that encourages players to take risks and try new things. Mistakes are learning opportunities, not reasons for shame or criticism.

It’s also important to recognize and celebrate individual successes, along with team victories. Players should feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, whether it’s a big goal or a small improvement in their skating technique.

Developing Specific Skills

Developing specific hockey skills is also crucial to building confidence. When players feel competent on the ice, they are more likely to take risks and try new things. As a coach, I focus on creating progressive drills that challenge players at their level while still allowing them to experience success.

By breaking down skills into manageable steps, players can see their progress and feel proud of their achievements. Over time, they develop a sense of mastery and confidence in their abilities.

Unlocking Your Potential

Learning to play hockey is about more than just the game. It’s about building confidence, developing specific skills, and promoting mental health in our youth. As coaches, parents, and mentors, we have the opportunity to unlock their potential and unleash their inner Gretzky.

The Next Level: Advancing in the Hockey Community

As a hockey player, you can take your game to the next level by connecting with the right people in the hockey community. Whether you’re an aspiring player or a seasoned pro, there are opportunities to grow and develop your skills.

The Importance of Program Directors and Certified USA Hockey Coaches

One essential resource for any hockey player is a knowledgeable program director. These experts can help you find the right play hockey program, connect with other players, and provide guidance on areas of improvement. They’re the ultimate insider, with a finger on the pulse of the hockey community.

Another way to advance in the hockey community is by receiving coaching from Certified USA Hockey coaches. These coaches have been trained to teach the fundamentals of the game, as well as advanced techniques and strategies. They can help players of all levels refine their skills and improve their game.

Connecting with the Hockey Community

As a hockey player, you’re part of a vibrant and passionate community. Whether you’re playing at the amateur or professional level, you can connect with other players and fans through events, forums, and social media groups. 

These connections can provide valuable insights, inspiration, and support as you advance your skills and pursue your goals.

In addition, the National Hockey League Players’ Association offers resources and services for players at all levels. From scholarships and training programs to legal and financial advice, these resources can help you succeed on and off the ice.

Fun for All Ages: Adult Hockey Courses

Who says learning new things is just for kids? If you’re a new skater or looking for a fun way to stay active, an Adult Hockey Course such as Foundry Hockey could be just what you need. 

As someone who’s laced up my skates for both youth and adult leagues, I can vouch for the benefits of hockey at any age.

Don’t worry if you’re a bit rusty – many adult courses are geared towards new skaters. These sessions offer a chance to practice fundamentals like skating, stickhandling, and shooting, all while having a blast on the ice. Plus, hockey helps build strength and endurance, making it a great option for those looking to up their fitness game.

But let’s not forget the social aspect, too. Playing on a team and building camaraderie with your fellow hockey enthusiasts can be a highlight of your week. Who knows, maybe you’ll even meet some future Caps!

Where to Find Adult Hockey Courses

If you’re intrigued by the idea of joining an adult hockey course, you’re in luck – there are plenty of programs out there to choose from. Check with your local rink to see what options are available, or do a quick search online for adult hockey programs in your area. Private lessons are another great way to up your skills at your own pace.

Washington, D.C.Capitals Adult Hockey School$375 for 10 sessions
New York CityChelsea Piers Adult Learn to Play Hockey$595 for 10 sessions
Los AngelesL.A. Kings Adult Hockey League$365 for 10 games

“I never would have guessed that learning to play hockey as an adult would be so much fun. I’ve made some great friends and gotten in better shape – what’s not to love?” – John D., adult hockey player and enthusiast

So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a total newbie, an adult hockey course could be the perfect way to unleash your inner Gretzky. 

Get out there and start stickhandling – you never know where your hockey journey might take you!


Well, folks, that’s a wrap!

As we come to the end of this article, I hope I have convinced you to give the exciting sport of hockey a chance. 

Remember, whether you’re a child or an adult, just starting out or looking to take your skills to the next level, there’s a play hockey program out there for you.

So, What Have We Learned?

  1.  Learning to Play Hockey can be an incredibly stimulating and enjoyable journey. From the opening face-off to the final buzzer, the thrill of the game is hard to beat.
  2. Having the right equipment is essential for staying safe and playing your best. So, don’t skimp on the shoulder padselbow padsshin guardshockey stick, or hockey skates. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
  3. Skill development is critical to becoming a successful hockey player. Whether it’s honing your skating experience, stick handling, or defensive play, practice makes perfect. Dedicate yourself to mastering the basics, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
  4. There are plenty of play hockey programs available to you, from play hockey sessions to private lessons to youth hockey. So, don’t hesitate to sign up and start building your skills.
  5. Learning to Play Hockey can have a profound impact on your confidence and mental health. Plus, you’ll develop specific skills like teamwork, communication, and perseverance, which will serve you well throughout your life.
  6. There are numerous opportunities to advance in the hockey community, including interacting with program directors, receiving coaching from certified USA Hockey coaches, and connections with the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
  7. Hockey is a sport for all ages, with adult hockey courses available for those looking to join the fun. So, what are you waiting for? Lace up those skates, hit the rink, and unleash your inner Gretzky!


How can learning to play hockey be fun?

Learning to play hockey can be incredibly fun because it combines physical activity with the thrill of being on the ice. The fast-paced nature of the game and the camaraderie with teammates make it an enjoyable experience.

What are the play hockey programs available for beginners?

There are several play hockey programs available for beginners, including the ltp program and play hockey rookie program. These programs are designed to teach the fundamentals of the game in a supportive and encouraging environment.

What equipment is essential for playing hockey?

Essential equipment for playing hockey includes shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, a hockey stick, and hockey skates. It’s important to have the right protective gear and properly fitted equipment to ensure safety on the ice.

What skills should I focus on when learning to play hockey?

When learning to play hockey, it’s important to focus on skills such as skating experience via a Learn to Skate program.  Then, you can advance to Learn to Play Hockey for stick handling, puck handling, and defensive play. Developing these skills will help you become a well-rounded player on the ice.

What play hockey programs are available for aspiring players?

Aspiring players have various play hockey programs to choose from, including play hockey sessions, private lessons, and organized hockey classes.

These programs provide opportunities for skill development and participation in youth hockey.

How can playing hockey build confidence?

Playing hockey can build confidence by providing a safe environment for children to learn and grow. The challenges and successes experienced on the ice can have a positive impact on a child’s confidence and mental health.

What opportunities are there to advance in the hockey community?

There are several opportunities to advance in the hockey community, including interacting with program directors, receiving coaching from Certified USA Hockey Coaches, and connections with the National Hockey League players’ Association. These connections can open doors to new experiences and potential pathways in the sport.

Are there hockey courses available for adults?

Yes, there are adult hockey courses available for those who are new to the sport or looking to get back into it. These courses cater to all skill levels and provide a fun and supportive environment for adults to enjoy the game of hockey.

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