Hello all. I have decided to take the plunge into the world of hockey. After years and years of watching my beloved Wings on TV, I decided I would give it a try. I am old and beat up from playing football for the past twenty years, but it just looks like so much damn fun! I got on the ice the other day for the first time in my life and it was pretty ugly. I plan on buying some nice skates this week (heck with those awful rentals) and taking lessons in the next two weeks or so. A couple of questions for the group:
1) Is there a reputable shop in/near Cincinnati for equipment?
2) Judging from previous posts, is it realistic to expect I could join an adult league after about 6 months of working on my skating?
3) I'm a pretty big boy at 6'3" 290lbs, but I am in excellent shape. I notice there aren't many Eric Lindross types on the ice. Other than the obvious cardio difficulties, are there any "surprises" waiting for someone my size?
Greetings from a fellow Cincinnatian and welcome to the world of playing hockey. If it makes you feel any better, I actually started playing when I was 33. I hadn't skated in over ten years and when i did skate growing up it was on figure skates so I had a ton of bad habits to break.
As far as gear goes I would start with Play it Again Sports in Hyde Park. Ask for Mike Johnson, the store owner. He's a big hockey nut. You can also check the Play it Again Sports in Mason as they have a decent selection. Finally, Sports Plus on Reading Road in Evandale has a decent sized pro shop. They probably have the largest overall selection in the city, though you'll pay a bit more. Look for last year's or two year ago model to get good discounts. Last year Perani's opened a close out store up on Route 4 for about a month. They made it sound like they were going to make it annual event so if it's not urgent, you may want to wait a couple months to see if they will be doing it again this summer. They had some really good deals.
I strongly encourage you to take some skating/hockey lessons. Learn to Skate Cincinnati has adult skating and hockey lessons available. I did it for while when I was starting out. It's a good program. Don Biggs also runs an adult hockey school on Tuesday nights during the regular hockey season. It is absolutely fantastic. If you have the time and money it is a great program. You can reach him at email@example.com. It should start up again in the September time frame.
As far as joining a team, Sports Plus has multiple leagues ranging from D1 (No way I'd even think about playing with those guys) to D5 (beginners) and everything in between. With some skating lessons I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to play on D5 team to start out.
Northland, also in Evendale, has adult hockey on Friday and I think Saturday nights. There is also a rink, though it's pretty much a dump, off of Buttermilk Pike in NKY. They used to have adult leagues. I haven't checked it out lately. And finally, the Cincinnati Gardens has leagues that run only during the traditional hockey season as they melt the ice during the off season.
I hope I haven't ramble too much. Feel free to PM me if you'd like more information or my contact information for more info.