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Old
03-10-2012, 11:16 PM
  #1
7toZulu
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First time playing beer league

Wanted to get some pointers/tips from seasoned players on playing beer league for the first time. I saw a previous thread about beer league tips, but this new "draft league" i'm going to start in April is a little different than standard.

Each team is made up of players of various skill level, and teams are supposed to be evened out to compensate. I would say i am better than total beginner, but im not a strong stick handler while skating aggressively. Any tips on playing with guys that are better than I am without hindering the team too much? I'm so damn excited to actually play on a team and have refs and all, i just want to be an effective player while I'm having fun. May sound cheesy to you guys who have played higher level competitive hockey, but for a 27 year old who is pretty new to playing, I feel like I've made it to the big time!

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03-10-2012, 11:23 PM
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Well have fun and good luck !

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Old
03-11-2012, 04:56 AM
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Wile E Coyotes
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Just be sure to really pace yourself the first few games until you build up more endurance. My first time out I was trying to be the fastest and ended up completely gassed half way through the game. Have more experienced players pay closer attention to you on the ice and ask them to report on how you did at the end of the shift.

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03-11-2012, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmcarcagno View Post
Wanted to get some pointers/tips from seasoned players on playing beer league for the first time. I saw a previous thread about beer league tips, but this new "draft league" i'm going to start in April is a little different than standard.
Awesome!

I was in a similar situation. My previous coed league would take every player and give us a set of tryout games, where they would rank us and put us on teams so that each team would get an even dispersion of talent. When I started I was the worst, so my advice is to know your limitations and stick to your strengths for the first couple games. If you don't feel comfortable bringing the puck in yourself, dump and chase. Play sound positional hockey, and be defensive!

After a few games getting to know your teammates, they'll start to understand what kind of player you are and you'll know more about them. That's when you want to start trying some new stuff and maybe make a few rushes. You'll also probably see what you need to work on, and then be able to focus on that if you do stick n puck or the like. Good luck, let us know how it goes!

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03-11-2012, 10:36 AM
  #5
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Stay relaxed. Go hard and have a good time. Be yourself and realize no one is going to judge you for a mistake or your inability. Do the best you can. Not trying is kind of lame though because it's so obvious who isn't trying, but I am sure that won't be a problem for you. Most importantly in a beer league don't forget to bring some beer!

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03-11-2012, 10:51 AM
  #6
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Take short shifts.

A lot of guys who go from pickup to league play are used to taking 5 minutes shifts, but that's really going to piss off your new teammates.

Good luck, and have fun. I played my first league game at around your age, and it was awesome.

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03-11-2012, 11:16 AM
  #7
Gino 14
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Originally Posted by Wile E Coyotes View Post
Just be sure to really pace yourself the first few games

That would be the last piece of advice I would give to any hockey player, much less a new guy. Always play hard, just play smart. If you get tired, get off the ice. I hate having players that are "pacing" themselves, that means that they aren't playing hard, just going through the motions and leaving the work for the rest of the team. I'd rather see a guy that was working hard for a short time rather than a guy coasting for a long shift.

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03-11-2012, 01:10 PM
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In terms of playing with better players and wanting to contribute, keep it simple and play good positional hockey. When I'm playing with beginners, particularly slower guys, I tell them to just play their position, so I know where they're gonna be, even if they're late to the spot. And when I'm playing with guys above me, that's what I focus on the most. Keeping it simple and playing position. They'll find me.

Oh and back check hard.

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03-11-2012, 01:50 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far, its all good advice. I'd say that i am a decently fast skater and if anything have the problem of "working too hard", as in i sometimes forget about positioning and just chase down the puck. My weak points are agility while skating backwards, stick handling at speed, and knowing the right positioning for certain scenarios on ice.

Really looking forward to it though, glad i'm able to play the best sport on earth!

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03-12-2012, 02:31 AM
  #10
Wile E Coyotes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gino 14 View Post
That would be the last piece of advice I would give to any hockey player, much less a new guy. Always play hard, just play smart. If you get tired, get off the ice. I hate having players that are "pacing" themselves, that means that they aren't playing hard, just going through the motions and leaving the work for the rest of the team. I'd rather see a guy that was working hard for a short time rather than a guy coasting for a long shift.
That is easy to say from an experienced player. A new guy who hasn't even played a whole game might want to save some energy so he can still stand on his skates by the end of the game. New players don't recover from each shift as quick as more conditioned skaters do.

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Old
03-12-2012, 07:02 AM
  #11
Gino 14
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Originally Posted by Wile E Coyotes View Post
That is easy to say from an experienced player. A new guy who hasn't even played a whole game might want to save some energy so he can still stand on his skates by the end of the game. New players don't recover from each shift as quick as more conditioned skaters do.
So you missed the whole point. If you're playing and you're tired, get off. Doesn't get any more basic than that. If a player is just standing around conserving energy then he really isn't doing anything for the team anyway, get off the ice and let someone that is willing to work a whole shift have the ice time.

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Old
03-12-2012, 11:11 AM
  #12
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As someone who is 29 and only started playing ice hockey a year ago, I definitely know where you're coming from. I ran weekly pickup games with some friends who are very good for about 8 months before I decided to join a beer league.

The skill level was a bit lower than I was used to (individually from each player) playing against, but the level of teamwork was infinitely higher. Most of our current team is a bunch of younger guys (20-25), and most of the teams we face are 30+, but don't let their age fool you! The older guys in your league probably have been playing for 10+ years, and have been playing with the same guys, so they will move the puck like nobody's business.

As someone who is in the same boat as you (decent speed, not the greatest stickhandling), I found what really helped me learn my position (aside from watching other people) is playing Be A Pro on NHL 11/12 for Xbox360/PS3. You play a position and only that position and if you're out of position, the game tells you where you should be. As funny as it sounds, that game taught me where I should generally be when we're in the offensive or defensive zone.

Other than that, keep your head up, make the safe pass as opposed to the difficult one, and skate hard and sub off, your teammates will appreciate this more than I can explain.

Cheers and good luck!

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Old
03-13-2012, 03:51 PM
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The thing I was not prepared for when joining my first beer league was that "no contact" really means no blatant hitting.

There's nonstop contact. Don't be afraid to put your weight into a guy you're defending or attacking against. As long as you attempt to play the puck you can also play the body. Around the net you can usually take liberties to clear someone from the crease or the puck along the boards. This is usually true when racing a guy for the puck too, even in head on situations, as long as you attempt to avoid the contact. Too many times it's unavoidable so you might as well play hard and occasionally run over people.

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03-14-2012, 11:45 AM
  #14
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Originally Posted by salty justice View Post
The thing I was not prepared for when joining my first beer league was that "no contact" really means no blatant hitting.

There's nonstop contact. Don't be afraid to put your weight into a guy you're defending or attacking against. As long as you attempt to play the puck you can also play the body. Around the net you can usually take liberties to clear someone from the crease or the puck along the boards. This is usually true when racing a guy for the puck too, even in head on situations, as long as you attempt to avoid the contact. Too many times it's unavoidable so you might as well play hard and occasionally run over people.
This is something i've recently realized at drop in. There are guys that are around my level that skate a little recklessly and slash/push their weight around pretty freely, so i'm learning that i dont need to be worried about getting physical with them. When i first started i was the type that would fall over if i ran into someone because i didnt want to lay them out, now I'm the one standing usually.

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03-14-2012, 01:34 PM
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Just play hard. That's all I ever expect from anyone on my team. There are guys on my team who are pretty bad but they try really hard and I love them for it. Then there are guys who are a little more skilled but are lazy as hell out there. I can't stand those guys.

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Old
03-14-2012, 02:00 PM
  #16
RandV
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I started when I was 27, though it was through a beginners intake program where from every individual that signed up created 3 new teams of relative beginners, we were giving about 10 weeks of team training then tossed into the bottom/beginners division for the rest of the winter season. That didn't last long, as I moved cities after only 9 months, and the team I've been on the past 3 years since has become really damn good and this season we've moved into the top division so I still always feel like a beginner

Anyways, easiest position for a beginner is on the wing. In your own zone don't go running around chasing players/the puck, just keep it simple and cover your point man. Even if you aren't doing anything, by taking away the other teams point shot option you're contributing. If you watch any pro hockey you always see the wingers collapse down in front of the net, but they also have the skating ability and timing to get back to the point man when they need to. But while this is all simple the toughest thing to learn is when the puck comes up the board getting it passed that dman and out of the zone. Experience is the only thing that can really help here though.

So enough with defense, on the offense just always be sure to forecheck hard if you're the first one in and if the puck is controlled go to the net. Pretty simple there. Only thing to watch for is if you're two linemates are going in deep first, you may want to hang back a little bit in-case of a turnover so you can be the first on the backcheck.

That's the simplest way to play in my opinion. Oh, and one more piece of advice, for every warm up the first time you step on the ice and go for a few laps, grab a puck and skate with it while keeping your head up. If you lose it just grab another on your next pass. My puckhandling was always a little behind and doing this has helped me immensely.

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Old
03-14-2012, 02:12 PM
  #17
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Play your position, cover your man defensively, don't chase the puck all over the ice like a 4 year old. Take a look around before you pass the puck/shoot offensively. One of the easiest ways to tell a novice player from an advanced one is a beginner tends to get control of the puck, panic & throw the puck to to the other team, it's especially bad if no one is pressuring you. Taking a blind/panic shot at the net in the offensive zone, is another bad habit of novice players.

Learn from the advanced players, don't take the a*&holes in the league seriously & HAVE FUN.

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03-14-2012, 02:25 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmcarcagno View Post
Wanted to get some pointers/tips from seasoned players on playing beer league for the first time. I saw a previous thread about beer league tips, but this new "draft league" i'm going to start in April is a little different than standard.

Each team is made up of players of various skill level, and teams are supposed to be evened out to compensate. I would say i am better than total beginner, but im not a strong stick handler while skating aggressively. Any tips on playing with guys that are better than I am without hindering the team too much? I'm so damn excited to actually play on a team and have refs and all, i just want to be an effective player while I'm having fun. May sound cheesy to you guys who have played higher level competitive hockey, but for a 27 year old who is pretty new to playing, I feel like I've made it to the big time!
Since you're in the area, which league are you playing in (feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post it here, or feel free to tell me that it's none of my business ). I've probably played goal in the league (or at least in the organization) and can give you additional thoughts.

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03-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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7toZulu
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Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
Since you're in the area, which league are you playing in (feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post it here, or feel free to tell me that it's none of my business ). I've probably played goal in the league (or at least in the organization) and can give you additional thoughts.
I'm signed up for the draft league at Boulder Valley Ice in Superior, season starts April 1st

I have been playing early morning drop in there on M-W-F at 6, and doing a few stick and pucks in between

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03-14-2012, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jmcarcagno View Post
I'm signed up for the draft league at Boulder Valley Ice in Superior, season starts April 1st

I have been playing early morning drop in there on M-W-F at 6, and doing a few stick and pucks in between
Ah, nice! Right now, I'm a goalie in the evening leagues there. Nate runs a really good league - he's passionate about it and he puts a lot of energy into it. The draft league sounds fun from what I've been told - I'll probably end up being a sub there (hard for me to commit to a regular skate on Sundays, since I play Sunday nights in Westminster).

There are a few bad apples in Superior (as there are in any rec league), but I'd say that there are fewer bad apples there than in other Denver area leagues. Officials are usually good, too - sometimes you even get Butch (who's reffed in a lot of high-level pro leagues, and I think he just now refs there for the fun and the exercise). If you skate hard, you should have a lot of fun.

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03-14-2012, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
Ah, nice! Right now, I'm a goalie in the evening leagues there. Nate runs a really good league - he's passionate about it and he puts a lot of energy into it. The draft league sounds fun from what I've been told - I'll probably end up being a sub there (hard for me to commit to a regular skate on Sundays, since I play Sunday nights in Westminster).

There are a few bad apples in Superior (as there are in any rec league), but I'd say that there are fewer bad apples there than in other Denver area leagues. Officials are usually good, too - sometimes you even get Butch (who's reffed in a lot of high-level pro leagues, and I think he just now refs there for the fun and the exercise). If you skate hard, you should have a lot of fun.
Ha, I've noticed a bad apple or two just from playing drop in so far. Random question, I'm assuming the leagues there are non-check? Didnt say in the description.

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03-14-2012, 03:29 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmcarcagno View Post
Wanted to get some pointers/tips from seasoned players on playing beer league for the first time. I saw a previous thread about beer league tips, but this new "draft league" i'm going to start in April is a little different than standard.

Each team is made up of players of various skill level, and teams are supposed to be evened out to compensate. I would say i am better than total beginner, but im not a strong stick handler while skating aggressively. Any tips on playing with guys that are better than I am without hindering the team too much? I'm so damn excited to actually play on a team and have refs and all, i just want to be an effective player while I'm having fun. May sound cheesy to you guys who have played higher level competitive hockey, but for a 27 year old who is pretty new to playing, I feel like I've made it to the big time!
Good luck man!
-Work Hard
-Tell your teammates "good job" "nice pass" "great defense" often
-Pass to someone in better position than you are and skate your butt off to get in a better position than you were
-Do not order a White Zinfandel after the game

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Old
03-14-2012, 04:19 PM
  #23
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Agree with most of the replies. You can be less skilled and be a great team mate as long as you always hustle. You don't get the ability to coast or lolly gag until you're really good. Play smart, sound hockey. It doesn't take the ability to toe drag or go top shelf to be a smart hockey player who always knows the situation, who's on the ice with you, who's on the ice against you, where you are on the ice, where you should be and where you need to be in a few seconds.

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03-14-2012, 04:46 PM
  #24
Doctor No
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Originally Posted by Jmcarcagno View Post
Ha, I've noticed a bad apple or two just from playing drop in so far. Random question, I'm assuming the leagues there are non-check? Didnt say in the description.
That's true - it will be non-check.

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Old
04-29-2012, 01:55 AM
  #25
Maladus
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Rec League Hockey Colorado

I just moved to the Denver area and I have been looking into rec league hockey in Colorado, specifically the league in Westminster (icecentre.com). I'm not sure which league I should sign up for, D1 (new/beginner players) or C8 (bottom tier of recreational players). I just got back into hockey as a 24 year old, I played pick-up games this past winter at my uncles rink but I'm not sure where exactly I stand skill-wise. I don't want to be over-matched but I also don't want to be under-matched. I've only played in MN previously in a level 2 beginner to intermediate league and I was probably average skill in it but I am not sure how it translates with this league. Has anyone played here who can help me choose?

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