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Suggestions for learning to play hockey in Toronto?

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08-18-2010, 12:31 PM
  #1
Hockey Crazy
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Suggestions for learning to play hockey in Toronto?

Hi Guys,

I'm 25 and interested in learning to play this year. I've been a fan for years and always wanted to learn... just never was able to as a kid. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good way to pick up the sport. If there was some kind of program where the first bit focuses on skating, that would be great since I can't really skate. I'm living downtown with no car, and I work full time hours, so evening and weekends is ideal and somewhere that is accessible.

Any suggestions?

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08-18-2010, 12:47 PM
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The Spicy Shrimp
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Open skate at a rink nearby. Go as much as you can.

Adult learn to skate class. Powerskating class.

Don't even pick up a stick until you have done these things.

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08-18-2010, 01:52 PM
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takumi111
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Originally Posted by The Spicy Shrimp View Post
Open skate at a rink nearby. Go as much as you can.

Adult learn to skate class. Powerskating class.

Don't even pick up a stick until you have done these things.
+1

minus the open skate, pretty much same thing i'm doing (gonna start power skating in sept.)

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08-18-2010, 02:00 PM
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The Spicy Shrimp
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I'll admit that I kind of "skipped" powerskating though. I took a learn to skate class while hitting up open skate almost 4 times a week, then started going to sticks and pucks about 3 months ago. Getting comfortable in the equipment takes some doing, and since the powerskating/hockey skills class I'm taking now requires full pads, I wanted to find my balance with them before the course started so I wouldn't look like a total n00b.

Powerskating is good though. I learned how to backwards stride and crossover on my weak side within ONE session.

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08-18-2010, 02:32 PM
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noobman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Crazy View Post
Hi Guys,

I'm 25 and interested in learning to play this year. I've been a fan for years and always wanted to learn... just never was able to as a kid. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good way to pick up the sport. If there was some kind of program where the first bit focuses on skating, that would be great since I can't really skate. I'm living downtown with no car, and I work full time hours, so evening and weekends is ideal and somewhere that is accessible.

Any suggestions?
How is your skating?

If you've never skated in your life, you might want to check out the Toronto FUN guide for adult skating lessons. I think there are six levels or so... starting from getting you walking on ice and doing basic snowplow stops to hockey stops, pivots, crossovers, edge control, etc etc. These run at pretty much every public indoor skating rink in Toronto.

After that, you may want to consider a powerskating classes or a hockey school. These will test your fitness and help you put the skills together in a way that is practical for hockey. Toronto FUN offers both, but they aren't available at all locations (especially for adults!) I've done them as a kid and they were OK, but I gained a lot more from privately-run classes.

Moss Park Arena in Toronto runs a hockey school for adults, but I know nothing about it beyond the fact that it exists. Anyways, if you haven't skated before you shouldn't be thinking this far ahead.


If you want to play pickup in the winter, check out some of the outdoor rinks in Toronto at http://www.cityrinks.ca I've played a few times after-hours at Nathan Phillip Square... you get everything from future NHLers (PK Subban used to play there a lot as a kid) to people who have never held a stick before. It's a lot of fun!

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08-18-2010, 02:59 PM
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Hockey Crazy
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Thanks for the suggestions. I rollerblade quite a bit and I'm good at that, but I've only skated a few times in the past. I was able to stay up and do the basics, and I caught on pretty quick because of the rollerblading experience. I'd say that I could probably be doing crossovers within an hour of practicing, but my skating is far from being strong.

I checked out that Toronto fun thing, but it seems like all of the downtown stuff is for kids. I'll check out that school at Moss park... my plan was to focus on skating in the fall, then play in a beginners league in the winter.

Maybe the best thing would be to get some free skating in soon so that I could take a powerskating class in the fall?

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08-18-2010, 05:05 PM
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Jarick
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I thought you Canadians learned to play hockey before you could walk?

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08-18-2010, 07:54 PM
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takumi111
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I thought you Canadians learned to play hockey before you could walk?
nah we gotta learn how to build igloos and eat whale blubber before that

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08-18-2010, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hockey Crazy View Post
Hi Guys,

I'm 25 and interested in learning to play this year. I've been a fan for years and always wanted to learn... just never was able to as a kid. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good way to pick up the sport. If there was some kind of program where the first bit focuses on skating, that would be great since I can't really skate. I'm living downtown with no car, and I work full time hours, so evening and weekends is ideal and somewhere that is accessible.

Any suggestions?
1) negotiate contract with Leafs
2) take basic skating lessons already booked for team's forwards

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08-19-2010, 09:54 AM
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noobman
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Originally Posted by Hockey Crazy View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I rollerblade quite a bit and I'm good at that, but I've only skated a few times in the past. I was able to stay up and do the basics, and I caught on pretty quick because of the rollerblading experience. I'd say that I could probably be doing crossovers within an hour of practicing, but my skating is far from being strong.

I checked out that Toronto fun thing, but it seems like all of the downtown stuff is for kids. I'll check out that school at Moss park... my plan was to focus on skating in the fall, then play in a beginners league in the winter.

Maybe the best thing would be to get some free skating in soon so that I could take a powerskating class in the fall?
If you're a good rollerblader then you're already on your way. There are similarities and differences that you should be able to pick up on quickly. Public skating would be good... just see if you can find some open ice to go in both directions. Learning how to stop is probably your biggest barrier. From there you could probably get right to powerskating and hockey school.

From my experience with those, they break the class into two groups. The group that needs the most skating work will mostly do skating drills that focus on individual skills. The better group will do skating drills with transitions and lots of combination moves.

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08-19-2010, 04:39 PM
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so learning how to play hockey is different in the states than it is in canada, especially toronto? weird........

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08-19-2010, 07:56 PM
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I've ice skated leisurely and did roller-skates/blades since I was a kid but never played with full equipment or in a league until four years ago. Ice hockey play is so dynamic with sudden changes in direction of play, that your skating and transitions has to be really good.

After the first season of winter ice hockey, I continued through the summer season playing twice a week thinking my skating and hockey skills would develop. It took me two years to figure out......duh.....that I wasn't getting any better.

I read books, watched videos, and practiced extensively on skating as others have stated.

I took a stab at the Toronto FUN skating as my two kids were going through the program and said, I might as well be on the ice with them then sit on the benches waiting.

The simple drills when practiced properly helped alot. Class size was decent at 12 to 1, running 45 minutes, and I was able to ask alot of questions.

For the past year, I've taken hockey lessons somewhere else, and have to say it has definitely improved my skating, balance, and positional play.

TruNorth Hockey - I've heard good things about them from other beginner players but I've never gone through the program. They have a program where you have lessons for the first part of the season, and then play games for the remainder. It is held on Sundays but is out by Yorkdale area. Distance might be the problem for you.

hockeytoronto.com has alot of listings for games and lessons. I've never attended any though, so can't say how good they are.

Beginner pick up games are great as there is no pressure and better players will give you room to play the puck during a game....at least the ones I play at.

Your gonna love zipping across the ice!

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08-21-2010, 08:30 PM
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shorre
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I use to work at "Future Stars" which is an arena that provides lessons for all levels.
You can receive private or group lessons....it is located at Finch and Keele. I know the instructors there and they are great teachers and people, all have played at a high level and you would learn alot. If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask.

Best of luck.

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08-23-2010, 07:33 AM
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Injektilo
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Check out www.cityrinks.ca


Seriously, you live in probably the best place in the world to learn to play. Toronto has more artificial outdoor rinks than anywhere in the world, by a mile or two, and almost all of them have learn to skate/learn to play hockey programs. You could probably play 3-4 times a week this winter if you can travel and have the time. And I'm not even sure it costs anything to do.

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08-27-2010, 01:14 PM
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Nbr-17
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I got started with True North's beginner program: https://www.truenorthhockey.com/pgs/...innerInfo.aspx

Great way to start IMHO as you will be on a team and will play some actual games.

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09-17-2010, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Nbr-17 View Post
I got started with True North's beginner program: https://www.truenorthhockey.com/pgs/...innerInfo.aspx

Great way to start IMHO as you will be on a team and will play some actual games.
Canlan has a similar program at their GTA rinks. A friend of mine enrolled and loves it, I'm not sure where you live but this one is in Scarborough: http://icesports.com/scarborough/skating-academy.aspx

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09-17-2010, 12:05 PM
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Ditto on learning how to ice skate first.


However, to scratch your hockey itch while you're still in the learning phase with your skating, you can try hitting up some floor hockey clubs. Possibly with time, progress to roller-hockey, then to ice hockey. That way, by the time you hit ice-hockey, you sort of have some novice level hockey skills to build on.

A lot of people take this route here in Vancouver.

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09-17-2010, 04:31 PM
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Hockey Crazy
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Originally Posted by Nbr-17 View Post
I got started with True North's beginner program: https://www.truenorthhockey.com/pgs/...innerInfo.aspx

Great way to start IMHO as you will be on a team and will play some actual games.
I signed up for this... very excited to learn! Thanks for all the tips guys!

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