rediscovering love for hockey--advice appreciated (NYC)
The annual shinny when I visit home is always one of the highlights of my year, so I've decided to lace back up my skates and play some real hockey for the first time after 14 years away. I would appreciate any advice you guys might have for a former competitive player (AAA) looking to return to the ice.
My main questions centre around gear, as I haven't kept up with equipment developments nor did I ever really pay attention when I was a kid. The only notable pieces of gear I can remember from my playing days were an incredibly light pair of Hespeler gloves and an Easton graphite stick for which I grieved once it snapped in half 3 games after I received it as a Christmas gift. Sad story.
Given that I will probably just be playing open hockey until I can find a team for rec leagues, and that I love to fly around the ice (stayed in decent shape), could I just go for equipment with the best weight/price ratio, or should I pay up a little for better stuff? I'm willing/able to spend a bit more on gear that is quality and will last, but it's hard to overcome my frugal upbringing. I'm covered on skates and I think I am going to go full cage and use the RE-AKT cage by Bauer for visibility. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
As for where to buy the gear, any opinions on West Side Skate Shop/Paragon Sports/City Ice Pavillion's Pro Shop?
Lastly, for where to play, I was just going to do drop-in on Friday's at City Ice since it looks to be easily accessible by subway. I live in the city, and have no car. Is this the best option for me?
P.S. Worth it to explore playing some inline hockey in the city?
If you're set for skates, check out Jarick's guide to general equipment up top in the stickies. There are several members on here from the metro NY area (who offered great suggestions on food places before I visited Manhattan last year, thanks guys!), who could offer you better advice for your other questions.
There is tons of stuff in Jersey. If you can get a Zipcar, going to Hockey Monkey (http://www.hockeymonkey.com/) in Woodbridge (35mins from Manhattan) would probably worth it, they have all you'd ever need.
Other than that there is Westside Skate & Stick on 23rd which is small but I hear nothing but good things about them.(http://www.westsideskate.com/)
Skating/Playing in Jersey is far cheaper, too, but the toll/drive might be less than ideal. Chelsea Piers is nice for what it is, but I find the ice being quite crappy and prices high. I did not explore any other rinks in the city yet.
I have no idea what it's like now, and it won't be available for a while, but once it's in season, Lasker in Central Park (north end of the park at 110th St. is awesome to skate at simply because it's an outdoor rink. I skated there as a kid when the hockey program there was born.
While I haven't been in a few years, winters here were too warm for outdoor rinks lately. I was on the Wollman rink of course, but it was a disaster. Might be different up north though where there aren't millions of tourists. Outdoor is definitely more fun.
thanks! ordering one this weekend. For the first time in my life im jealous of you east coast peeps with all your hockey shops and rink selection. Indianapolis is a joke when it comes to rink choices and the pro shops in them are over priced, understaffed and seem to never be open.
Ended up going with the Bauer 7500 since the selection is so terrible in NYC. Visibility is decent, and helmet is comfortable.
As an update to my original post, here are some observations:
Westside Skate and Stick
-Better gear/higher prices, Graf heavy
-Limited equipment selection, but they have everything you need
-Nothing on sale
-Decent stick selection
-Limited equipment selection (does not have everything)
-Some sale items, including sticks
-Mediocre stick selection
-Most limited selection of all
-Bad stick selection
-Sales/specials, but gear is mostly low-end (I did find the 7500 here, though)
-Would call ahead to see what they have; the location on 86th and 3rd is the one that carries hockey gear
City Ice Pro Shop
-Decent stick selection
-Equipment selection would rank below West Side Skate, but above Paragon
-Typical high NYC prices even though it's in Queens
The bottom line is that you'll need to do some work if you're looking to bargain hunt or even find gear in NYC.
Now, is anyone looking for a player? Had a blast at open hockey and next step is to get on a team.