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05-02-2013, 02:24 PM
  #31
RandV
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Vancouver
Country: Canada
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Man that's pretty brutal. Especially the scrimmage thing, it should be a universal rule that if guys are leaving and one bench gets short then you swap players to even it out.

In comparison I had a really good experience starting out my hockey career in Calgary. Starting out with power skating lessons I went to a place called Tucker hockey run by a guy who I think played a bit in Europe, awesome skater but only 5'5". There were always 4-5 other instructors on the ice to assist you with drills as required, and while it was a mixed group with some variety of skills - pure beginners to a few decent skaters, you were giving a coloured jersey at the start of the program so skill level was dispersed between the two sides randomly. Scrimmaging was held for the last 15 minutes of every class, playing 4 on 4 and posts to score (no goalies). There wasn't any on ice instruction but they kept things running smoothly because every minute the instructor would blow the whistle and everyone on the ice would change up. So you got a two minute rest then went back out their for your minute, was a great way to start getting the hang of the game and add a little bit of fun to each class.

Then when I joined my first league, HNA Calgary, they had an awesome beginners intake program. Probably helped a lot that there always seemed to be plenty of new players, enough to make a few teams each season. They take all the new guys and randomly sort them into new teams, then run you through a 12 week training program with your team where your on the ice with one of the other new teams before being placed in the beginners division. In the training your on the ice with your team and one of your fellow new teams, where they run you through some basic individual power skating and a variety of team drills before letting you scrimmage against the other guys for the last 20 minutes.

In my case I was able to join in January, there were enough guys to make 3 new teams for the beginners intake program, and one training was done we got to play the last 8 games of the winter season. Even if there were some lopsided games against the more experienced beginner teams we got plenty of competitive games against the other two new teams who we were already familiar with.

Only downside in my experience was that my team got the bad luck of the draw for our goalie, the guy was just horrible . Not because he was a complete beginner and just flat out sucked, it was actually worse than that. See the guy played a long time I think and probably used to be a decent goalie, you could certainly see signs of it, but he was just getting too old for it and his body couldn't hold out for more than a few minutes before he stopped moving. I mean have you ever seen a goalie play a breakaway going into the butterfly on his goal line? The first winter season was okay but in the summer season we started losing games by 15 goals so it was time to switch goalies.

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