The Hockey Kids

Tips for Parents of Aspiring Hockey Kids

If your child seems interested in hockey, but you don't know where to begin, here are a few tips to help you guide a beginner to success in youth hockey.

Tip 1: Skating, skating, skating...

Before a beginner first steps onto ice with a hockey stick in hand, they should feel confident in their ability to skate.

Most local rinks have beginner skating lessons, weeks-long sessions to have recurring practice. Three goals you should aim for, before doing anything hockey-specific:

  • Get skates that fit correctly - try renting at the rink before you buy
  • Get at least 10 hours of ice time with just skates and a helmet - no stick or puck yet
  • Encourage them each time - a beginner may struggle at first, but they should feel successful progress each time they skate on the ice

Tip 2: Visit a 'Try Hockey for Free' event near you

A couple times a year, USA Hockey puts on events that provides full protective gear and skates, 100% free. This event lets beginners get a taste of the fun - skating with sticks, pucks and pads.

If your child is still excited, here are three things you should do next:

More info on 'try hockey free day'
  • Seek out a local youth hockey organization, and a 'Learn to Play' program - this will introduce the basics of youth hockey to true beginners
  • Practice stick and ball skills in the street or driveway at home - seek street hockey sticks so you don't ruin your ice hockey equipment
  • Continue to develop skating skills - public skate events, additional courses, etc

Tip 3: Get ready for league play

Starting around age 4, kids can begin to join local leagues (often called 'house' league) to play on a team with their peers. Typically a child needs to complete a Learn to Play first.

You'll want to get them fitted for their own gear, bag, skates and stick. Save money by seeking lightly used gear. Check out our Hockey Gear Checklist

Encourage fun, a great attitute and dedicated practice. A child will find more success when they have a solid skating foundation, the right gear and a desire to play for the fun of the game.