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Open Hockey: minimum skills needed

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Old
02-11-2010, 07:25 PM
  #1
nystromshairstylist
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Open Hockey: minimum skills needed

I suck, as I've never played ice hockey before.

I can skate forwards/backwards, transitions between the 2 not so good, can only "hockey stop" on one side, cannot make quick maneuvers to avoid people/objects too well.

I'll have the rest of the equipment (gloves, shin/elbow pads, etc.) next week, and am thinking that, like when I was 15 and taking up basketball - the only way to get skilled is to play...

But in basketball, you go to the local park, look at who's playing - and if its ringers, you waited until they left. Unless they had 9 guys, and you were the 10th, and would get "drafted". But I knew my place until I become functional in the game, as shooting at the half-court basket on the side.

With hockey, most places only have one rink - there's no "A" and "B" rink, so its either you play with whoever else is out there, or you sit and watch.

I went last weekend on Saturday night to watch the local rink's "open hockey" night and there were no scrubs, just good players, and a few ringers. Even the girls playing were quite good...

So, at what point do you say "ok I suck, but maybe they won't intentionally hit me with the puck as a message not to show up again" - and actually show up to participate?

Part of me is leery of going to play because I know I will make it sucky for the others who have to play with the bum on their team - and there may not be a true scrub/beginner besides me to even things out for the other side.

I also know I will probably fall 1,000 times on my face, flub the puck more than Brutal Gervais, and be caught out of position often - not even a clue what the "right" position would be yet.

Or, should I just show up to the stock and pucks with the little kids and their parents, learn to handle the puck better, and get through my adult hockey class coming in March/April?


Last edited by nystromshairstylist: 02-11-2010 at 10:56 PM.
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Old
02-11-2010, 07:39 PM
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DevilsFan38
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I think it depends on your personality somewhat, but to be honest I think you're better off waiting.

I've been playing a little over a year now and I still don't enjoy going to open hockey much. The level of play is still generally way over my head, and after a few shifts I get frustrated since I can't keep up. And quite frankly, it's not fun if you're not even in the same league skillwise.

I've only gone a few times and my experience has been better when it's less crowded - a few times there have only been 10 or 12 people so they're generally happy to have another skater, even if you suck. But when I've gone and it's packed I haven't enjoyed myself at all.

I think part of it is my personality, I don't like being the worst player on the ice and feeling like I'm holding everyone back. If that doesn't bother you then you could give it a try (but since you started this thread I'm guessing it would bother you, or you wouldn't have asked).

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02-11-2010, 08:22 PM
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Yeah it really is your personality, and a bit how the other guys accept you in. I went to open hockey a lot and I was one of the better players. I did not mind if the "scrubs" came out, as long as they tried hard, and did not mope around on the ice it was all good.

Just go out, try your hardest, and never give up. The guys should appreciate that type of attitude and you will likely enjoy it more as well.

The only thing that sucks is some guys won't pass to you, when I go out I try to make a point to feed the puck to everyone, no matter what there skill is. It's all for fun right.

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02-11-2010, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by beavboyz View Post
Yeah it really is your personality, and a bit how the other guys accept you in. I went to open hockey a lot and I was one of the better players. I did not mind if the "scrubs" came out, as long as they tried hard, and did not mope around on the ice it was all good.

Just go out, try your hardest, and never give up. The guys should appreciate that type of attitude and you will likely enjoy it more as well.

The only thing that sucks is some guys won't pass to you, when I go out I try to make a point to feed the puck to everyone, no matter what there skill is. It's all for fun right.
pretty much sums it up

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02-11-2010, 10:07 PM
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The only thing is though, if you never go and play you arent going to get any better. Everyone sucked at one point in time, so I say just go, try your best and see what happens.
If you suck but try really hard, people will probably take you under their wing and teach you what you need to get better. Some guys will probably be jerks and not pass to you, but Id bet at least some of them will remember when they first started playing and will help you out.

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02-11-2010, 10:46 PM
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You might want to try going to stick/puck sessions and get a feel for skating with all your gear on and get to know some people while you are there. Eventually, you'll be a familiar face and you can play shinny with them if there are enough players.

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02-11-2010, 10:51 PM
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As long as you skate half decent, and are willing to learn, good players will generally try to help you out, as long as you're not pestering them endlessly. However, I highly recommend you try to join a beginner league and get some experience if there are a lot of good players at open.

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02-11-2010, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthpawTRK View Post
You might want to try going to stick/puck sessions and get a feel for skating with all your gear on and get to know some people while you are there. Eventually, you'll be a familiar face and you can play shinny with them if there are enough players.
Stick and puck would be the best for this guy just starting out with the basics. Sometimes people at stick and puck play small scrimmages clearing the blueline so both sides shoot at the same net. This would be a good small pace for him I think or anyone starting out.

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02-12-2010, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
Or, should I just show up to the stock and pucks with the little kids and their parents, learn to handle the puck better, and get through my adult hockey class coming in March/April?
I was in your shoes 3 months ago.

I would say, not OR, it's AND:
Go to Stick and Puck AND go to open hockey. Also go to public skate as often as you can (to practice your transitions, stops, starts, etc.). Hockey is all about ice time, the more you get, the better you will be.

One very good advice from the guys here was that you just have to try hard and NEVER give up. Hockey is a tough sport, be tough and the other players will respect you.

About the passes: yeah, you will not get ANY passes from jerks, but what I realized is that the real good players will pass to you (well I thought first they are shooting at me, their passes are so hard ), if you can skate yourself free and are the best choice to pass to. The good players always play the right play, and will give you a chance if you're in the right place.

You WILL be humiliated, but not letting it get to you will earn some respect and you WILL get better.

Good luck.

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02-12-2010, 06:21 AM
  #10
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Go to open hockey, that's what it's for. Skate hard every shift, keep your shifts short and get off the ice. That's all there is to it. No one cares that you can't play, just how you play while you're there. Every one of those guys started playing with the same skills as you.

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02-12-2010, 09:45 AM
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WRT public skating, would you also suggest wearing the full gear as a means of getting used to skating with all of that stuff on?

I've been hesitant to do so, since I cannot do basic moves now even without the gear's extra weight, and thought wearing a helmet, pads, and pants might worsen my balance. A few people said get to get my skating down without the gear, then start to suit up...

This, plus the thought of looking silly wearing the full getup while skating alongside 300 or so "civilians" holding their 4-year olds on the ice...

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02-12-2010, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
WRT public skating, would you also suggest wearing the full gear as a means of getting used to skating with all of that stuff on?

I've been hesitant to do so, since I cannot do basic moves now even without the gear's extra weight, and thought wearing a helmet, pads, and pants might worsen my balance. A few people said get to get my skating down without the gear, then start to suit up...

This, plus the thought of looking silly wearing the full getup while skating alongside 300 or so "civilians" holding their 4-year olds on the ice...
Haha yeah, you would get funny looks. Also a lot of people at public skating just putter around in a circle, so it will not really help you that much with your skating, and you may look a bit funny if you are trying really hard / doing drills

At public skating I would suggest practice crossovers, transition from skating forwards / backwards, stopping backwards, backwards crossovers and some tight turns, that way you can practice those skills, but not look funny.

If you can find an outdoor rink then that would be perfect for practicing fast acceleration, hard stops and more "drills" If you can find an open rink practice your stop and starts, go hard, stop, go hard in the other direction, stop, go hard in other direction. This will help build your stopping, changing direction quickly, and also acceleration. Good luck!

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02-12-2010, 10:14 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
I suck, as I've never played ice hockey before.

I can skate forwards/backwards, transitions between the 2 not so good, can only "hockey stop" on one side, cannot make quick maneuvers to avoid people/objects too well.

I'll have the rest of the equipment (gloves, shin/elbow pads, etc.) next week, and am thinking that, like when I was 15 and taking up basketball - the only way to get skilled is to play...

But in basketball, you go to the local park, look at who's playing - and if its ringers, you waited until they left. Unless they had 9 guys, and you were the 10th, and would get "drafted". But I knew my place until I become functional in the game, as shooting at the half-court basket on the side.

With hockey, most places only have one rink - there's no "A" and "B" rink, so its either you play with whoever else is out there, or you sit and watch.

I went last weekend on Saturday night to watch the local rink's "open hockey" night and there were no scrubs, just good players, and a few ringers. Even the girls playing were quite good...

So, at what point do you say "ok I suck, but maybe they won't intentionally hit me with the puck as a message not to show up again" - and actually show up to participate?

Part of me is leery of going to play because I know I will make it sucky for the others who have to play with the bum on their team - and there may not be a true scrub/beginner besides me to even things out for the other side.

I also know I will probably fall 1,000 times on my face, flub the puck more than Brutal Gervais, and be caught out of position often - not even a clue what the "right" position would be yet.

Or, should I just show up to the stock and pucks with the little kids and their parents, learn to handle the puck better, and get through my adult hockey class coming in March/April?
You don't know until you try. Go out once or twice... if they are nice and accomodative of you, keep going. If they give you a hard time, you've only wasted 1hr of your life.

Word of advice to you at stick and puck:

Watch out for the kids! Some of the "better" kids will skate around the ice aimlessly and will probably cut in front of you at the last second... giving you very little time to get out of the way!

I'm not ashamed to say that I've had a few collisions... but on the bright side, it really helped in teaching me how to play heads up hockey

Maybe I'm a little spoiled here in Toronto. If you're willing to travel far enough around the GTA, you can find a pickup game for almost any level of player

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02-12-2010, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
WRT public skating, would you also suggest wearing the full gear as a means of getting used to skating with all of that stuff on?

I've been hesitant to do so, since I cannot do basic moves now even without the gear's extra weight, and thought wearing a helmet, pads, and pants might worsen my balance. A few people said get to get my skating down without the gear, then start to suit up...

This, plus the thought of looking silly wearing the full getup while skating alongside 300 or so "civilians" holding their 4-year olds on the ice...
All the more reason to go to stick & pucks. You won't look out of place there in full gear.

But definitely start skating in full gear whenever it's appropriate. It does take a while to get used to, and you don't want to do that in a pickup game where you're already behind the curve skill-wise.

DO THIS: Call your local rinks and ask about clinics for beginners and for beginner leagues.

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Old
02-12-2010, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
I can skate forwards/backwards, transitions between the 2 not so good, can only "hockey stop" on one side, cannot make quick maneuvers to avoid people/objects too well.
This is the only thing that concerns me here. In my opinion, your hockey skill (or lack thereof) should have no bearing on whether or not you should be playing during open sessions. People looking for a high level game either join leagues or get their own private ice-times. Wide skill ranges are expected when a session is completely open to the public.

The only thing that you need to worry about, and this brings me back to the quoted part of your post, is the safety of yourself and the people you are playing with. I wouldn't get involved in a game until you are reasonably sure of your ability to avoid inadvertent contact. If you are still at a level where you are very unstable on your skates and do a lot of arm flailing and what not to maintain your balance, you need to shore up those skills in an environment where you can't hurt other people.

I couldn't care less is a beginner flubs a tap in goal that I set him up for in open hockey, but you can be damn sure that I'll be pissed if I catch a high stick or elbow or something else because you can't control your body.

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02-12-2010, 11:42 AM
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A lot of good advice here so I will try to limit this to my experience.

1. Find a development program for beginners. Even if you know how to skate reasonably well, with a stick in your hand it's all different.

2. Those skate-and-shoots are perfect for bumping up your skills and improving cardio. Work on all those things you can't do. If you can't left stop, do it all day.

I'm a terrible hockey player but I'll be damned if I get out hustled. This is something I found to be a huge asset playing with guys way better than me and no matter how many passes I missed, these guys kept feeding me the puck.

Talk to the guy sitting next to you if you don't have clue and odds are, he/she will help. Pay attention to what's going on and keep learning when you are waiting for your shift. Like others have said, keep the shifts short.

In my town, we have a beg/intermediate pickup which is a great mix of ringers to beginners. There are a lot of guys who use it as a practice day for their league. I found all these guys to be super helpful and didn't mind me being there.

enjoy.

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02-12-2010, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergy27 View Post
This is the only thing that concerns me here. In my opinion, your hockey skill (or lack thereof) should have no bearing on whether or not you should be playing during open sessions. People looking for a high level game either join leagues or get their own private ice-times. Wide skill ranges are expected when a session is completely open to the public.

The only thing that you need to worry about, and this brings me back to the quoted part of your post, is the safety of yourself and the people you are playing with. I wouldn't get involved in a game until you are reasonably sure of your ability to avoid inadvertent contact. If you are still at a level where you are very unstable on your skates and do a lot of arm flailing and what not to maintain your balance, you need to shore up those skills in an environment where you can't hurt other people.

I couldn't care less is a beginner flubs a tap in goal that I set him up for in open hockey, but you can be damn sure that I'll be pissed if I catch a high stick or elbow or something else because you can't control your body.



this is the most important thing, had a guy the other day loose his balance skating backwards and sweep my legs out from behind me. I landed on my head. it was at open hockey before we started playing I was talking to someone and got taken out. If you suck its ok open hockey is the place to get better, if you are dangerous because you cant stop, turn, change direction, or control your body stay with open skate, then some stick and puck and maybe a adult hockey class. but if you can skate where you're not flalling all over the place most guys will accept you at an adult open session.

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Old
02-12-2010, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
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All the more reason to go to stick & pucks. You won't look out of place there in full gear.

But definitely start skating in full gear whenever it's appropriate. It does take a while to get used to, and you don't want to do that in a pickup game where you're already behind the curve skill-wise.

DO THIS: Call your local rinks and ask about clinics for beginners and for beginner leagues.
Thanks all, keep the good advice coming.

I am taking an adult hockey class in March but with 4-6 weeks of time before then, I'd been wondering what to do prior to make the best use of the time.

With the last of my playing equipment arriving Tuesday, the earliest I could play would be next week, but I think I'll go to the open hockey this Saturday night anyway just to watch and soak it all in. At Sunday's public skate with the kids I think I'll risk looking odd and wear some equipment I already have, particularly the pants since I'd guess those are the hardest item to get used to from just skating in sweatpants.

I hope that in another few weeks after intensely practicing 2, maybe 3x per week the drills mentioned above I'll have the confidence for open hockey, even if just for a few shifts.

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02-12-2010, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergy27 View Post
This is the only thing that concerns me here. In my opinion, your hockey skill (or lack thereof) should have no bearing on whether or not you should be playing during open sessions. People looking for a high level game either join leagues or get their own private ice-times. Wide skill ranges are expected when a session is completely open to the public.

The only thing that you need to worry about, and this brings me back to the quoted part of your post, is the safety of yourself and the people you are playing with. I wouldn't get involved in a game until you are reasonably sure of your ability to avoid inadvertent contact. If you are still at a level where you are very unstable on your skates and do a lot of arm flailing and what not to maintain your balance, you need to shore up those skills in an environment where you can't hurt other people.

I couldn't care less is a beginner flubs a tap in goal that I set him up for in open hockey, but you can be damn sure that I'll be pissed if I catch a high stick or elbow or something else because you can't control your body.
Good points all around .... I play in a few pickup ice rental games and some guys like good players only so those games we have a great time in and i also play in the guys who just want to have fun pickups where we have guys not so good mixed with the better players.

It depends on whether or not guys are there to have a laugh and some fun or guys who want some fun playing "good hockey" and not sloppy hockey. You see many people who will not play with beginners or novices but I am not one of those.

I am sure the OP can find pickup games with guys who only care about paying for the ice time and having fun regardless of talent levels.

I prefer either one as I always have fun playing hockey.

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02-12-2010, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
WRT public skating, would you also suggest wearing the full gear as a means of getting used to skating with all of that stuff on?

I've been hesitant to do so, since I cannot do basic moves now even without the gear's extra weight, and thought wearing a helmet, pads, and pants might worsen my balance. A few people said get to get my skating down without the gear, then start to suit up...

This, plus the thought of looking silly wearing the full getup while skating alongside 300 or so "civilians" holding their 4-year olds on the ice...
I actually prefer skating with all my gear on, I don't find it makes a huge difference mobility wise and I'm a LOT more confident when it comes to pushing how tight I can turn, how sharply I can stop, etc. I'm not afraid of falling with all my gear on, but with nothing I'm a bit more hesitant when trying to work on my skating.

Unfortunately yeah, you would look rather out of place with all that stuff at public skating. You could probably do shinguards and elbow pads under some loose fitting sweats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil Dancer View Post
All the more reason to go to stick & pucks. You won't look out of place there in full gear.

But definitely start skating in full gear whenever it's appropriate. It does take a while to get used to, and you don't want to do that in a pickup game where you're already behind the curve skill-wise.

DO THIS: Call your local rinks and ask about clinics for beginners and for beginner leagues.
Stick and puck is the best place, if you have them around you. Or if you can make it, public skating during the day on weekdays is great, that way almost no one is there and you have plenty of space to work on your skating.

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02-12-2010, 09:10 PM
  #21
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Well first things first. If you don't feel comfortable being out there, you probably shouldn't be. It comes down to safety. Things happen so fast out there. You may end up in a situation where you'd be risking not only your own safety, but the safety of others.

That said, at some point you'll need to get out there. A few things to remember. 1) there will always be someone better than you, don't let it get you down. 2) Pay attention to any and all advice given. You can actually learn a lot on the bench between shifts. 3) The most important thing (I can't stress this enough) is effort. Guys generally don't care how good you are as long as you work hard.

In the end, it's a game, it's supposed to be fun.

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02-12-2010, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nystromshairstylist View Post
Thanks all, keep the good advice coming.

I am taking an adult hockey class in March but with 4-6 weeks of time before then, I'd been wondering what to do prior to make the best use of the time.


I hope that in another few weeks after intensely practicing 2, maybe 3x per week the drills mentioned above I'll have the confidence for open hockey, even if just for a few shifts.
You can also ask the hockey director at your facility if they have "Stick and Puck" days. This is when you just go out and work on your stick handling and shooting. Normally good players do go because they feel that they don't need to work on those area...LOL!

But, this will give you the chance to work on those things without feeling like you suck. In fact, you might even get a few pointer from guys that are good and are there to work on those things to help them improve their game.

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02-12-2010, 10:39 PM
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If you have an outdoor roller rink you can really work on your shooting/puck handling. You'll probably be doing yourself a disservice skating wise but i used to go to the rink after class and just shoot around.

After 4 years of playing roller hockey with kids much better then me i think i have come a long way.

I'm trying to get into ice hockey now by going to stick times. In my area you can have the entire rink to yourself most of the time.

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02-13-2010, 07:34 AM
  #24
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I would say that it's even better if you go and play with people who are better than you skillwise, you'll become a better player much faster and the fellas you are playing with will (as long as you're a decent guy/girl) will probably point out errors in your game and help you improve it.

Personally I started playing three years ago, I was terrible skater since I've never done it and when I turned I had to go half the rink because I didn't use my edges at all.
And don't get me started on puck handling
All the guys I played with were former hockey players, I usually stuck around in the defensive zone because atleast I could try to block passing lanes or whatnot, then I learned to do crossovers (only forward though, need to work on my backward skating) the second year of my 'hockey career', and now I do pretty well with my skating.

I also think that the better the players, the more forgiving they are for when you make mistakes or when you skate after loose pucks, whereas they would be more punishing if you were a skilled player.
So my advice is just learn how to skate left and right and how to stop and you're pretty much good to go, you'll get better for each game
And keep your stick down on the ice!

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02-21-2010, 01:07 AM
  #25
nystromshairstylist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VBDE View Post
I would say that it's even better if you go and play with people who are better than you skillwise, you'll become a better player much faster and the fellas you are playing with will (as long as you're a decent guy/girl) will probably point out errors in your game and help you improve it.

Personally I started playing three years ago, I was terrible skater since I've never done it and when I turned I had to go half the rink because I didn't use my edges at all.
And don't get me started on puck handling
All the guys I played with were former hockey players, I usually stuck around in the defensive zone because atleast I could try to block passing lanes or whatnot, then I learned to do crossovers (only forward though, need to work on my backward skating) the second year of my 'hockey career', and now I do pretty well with my skating.

I also think that the better the players, the more forgiving they are for when you make mistakes or when you skate after loose pucks, whereas they would be more punishing if you were a skilled player.
So my advice is just learn how to skate left and right and how to stop and you're pretty much good to go, you'll get better for each game
And keep your stick down on the ice!
Good advice from everyone, and thank you all.

I played ice hockey for the first time this evening at an open hockey night, and thank goodness each side had plenty of teammates - especially my team, since I was just dreadful, beyond description. God did I suck.

Constantly falling, cannot turn around quickly - I was the pylon that I swore I wouldn't be. Everytime I tried to slow down an oncoming player with the puck they skated by me like I wasn't even there, and they kept the puck just 3-6 inches just out of my reach. I cannot imagine how unbelievably spastic I looked out there.

I even body checked someone who skated full speed into me - my teammates said it wasn't my fault - but interestingly, he went down like a ton of bricks, and basically bounced off me. Perhaps my inner Pronger showing itself, if only for a moment.

I was even open a few times in front of the net, and was about to get a pass - until I fell flat on my rear, just awful.

That all being said - it was the most fun I've had in a long, long time. Just a great feeling being out there, and one cannot truly understand how fast the game is played - even on open hockey night, than it seems from the stands.

If that is open hockey night with beer leaguers, I cannot even imagine how fast NHL players are.

I guess that in about 3-5 years, if I work at it, I might become functional, and someone a teammate might actually feel confident passing to, but right now, the mountain looms large, and all I have is a pickaxe and a compass...

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