The Hockey Noob Chronicles II (Beginners' Thread)
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04-01-2014, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Hey everyone! First time posting on here. I figured I would share my beginner story since reading a lot of them on here really helped me relax about my first experience.
So first, a little background. I would classify myself as relatively athletic. I play(ed) baseball, basketball, football, golf, racquetball... you name it! I used to go to the outdoor rink with a friend when I was 10. I don't remember if I was any good, I just remember I enjoyed it. Always enjoyed watching hockey, (especially in person).
Fast forward 13 years. My girlfriend and I decided to go to an open skate. It had definitely been a LONG time since I skated. I went the entire session in a skate that was too big (as I had forgotten about the sizing difference). But, I managed to make my way around the ice relatively ok. This got the spark going. I started looking into getting a pair of skates just for something to do. A coworker (who plays in the local A league) helped me out in finding a pair that would work well without breaking the bank. I decided to go with the Easton Stealth 75s (which so far I have been very happy with). He mentioned to me that there was a local C-league for beginners, but I kind of assumed he meant for those that could actually skate and stick handle.
Unfortunately, this is all happening in late February, early March when the outdoor rinks are just closing. I get my skates and my buddy sells me an old pair of gloves and a couple sticks for $10 (he wanted to just give them to me, but I insisted on paying at least a little). Next, I go to the indoor open skate (only to find out there is only a week left of open skates
). I struggle my way around and slowly gain some confidence. I had watched some youtube videos on how to skate and tried to apply them. By the end of the first session, I was to the point where I didn't look like bambi on the ice. Long story short... I make it to all of the remaining 5 open skates and get much more comfortable and fluid in my forward skating and marginal in my stopping; crossovers and backwards are still projects in the works. At one of the last open skates I had a guy ask me if I was in a league. After telling him no and explaining that I had only been skating for about a week, he informed me that he runs the C-league in town and said I could still sign up (even though it had already been going for about 2 weeks). I was interested.... but wasn't quite sure if I was ready to play or not. I decided to go and watch the next C-league game to see if I would be in over my head. While I definitely wouldn't be the best or even average, I saw a few guys that were definitely beginners, which made me feel better. I decide I'm going to give this a whirl. Now for getting all the equpiment.... again my buddy came through and let me borrow everything I would need (except elbows and shoulders).
Yesterday was my first game... and I was about as nervous as I could be. I'm a 23 year old man and I was extremely nervous
! I had watched enough hockey to know the rules, but I realized I had no idea how line changes worked when you are actually on the ice (which I soon realized is not as big of a deal as I made it out to be in my head). It is amazing how fast the game is once you are actually in it. I didn't do a whole lot... cleared the puck once is about it. But I had a blast. Getting that first shift under my belt was huge for helping me relax a bit. All of the guys (and gals) were great. They offered me advice, encouraged me when I did something good. Very easy going, didn't really care if I messed up.... not like the intense "gotta win" mentality I envisioned. Like I said, I didn't really contribute much.... but I am hooked. I can't wait for the next game!
Hope this helps anyone that is thinking about getting into a beginner league! I would recommend taking lessons if possible to really get some good techniques, but they are not absolutely necessary if it is just a beginner league. In fact, I found myself doing some maneuvers I didn't realize I could do, just from being in a game situation.
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