If you are looking to learn to play hockey as an adult, you may be confused as to what steps you need to take. As a beginner hockey player, there are a number of places you can look to get started to find a beer league hockey team and people locally who can help you with the process.

1. Find a rink near you

The first step to take when you are looking at playing adult hockey is to find out if you have a local ice rink. Although there is roller and field hockey, you do need a sheet of ice if you want to play ice hockey. Find your local rink and give them a call. Most ice rink staff are very helpful and can give you ideas on what the next steps will be if you have no hockey experience whatsoever.

You may even have more than one local rink, which means you have a greater chance of finding a league where you fit.

They will likely recommend at least one of the following:

Beginner adult development league

Made for true adult beginner hockey players.

Women’s hockey league

If you are, of course, a woman.

C league

If the rink has no true beginner league, a C league (or a D league) may be your only option. And although it may seem intimidating at first, you are never going to get better unless you get out there and start playing.

Stick and puck

You can also join stick & puck sessions, which is like an open skate but where you wear your full gear and bring a stick and a puck to practice your skills.

2. Hockey equipment

After you find your league, you will want to work on your hockey gear. Because hockey gear can be so expensive, I always recommend one of these 2:

Borrowing gear

Check with your hockey rink has any equipment you can borrow for your first few sessions (to make sure it’s something you want to do before you spend a lot of money).

Buying mostly used gear

You can buy most of your gear used, which will save a lot of money. You will likely need to buy a brand new helmet, and maybe skates. But check your local Play It Again, pro shop, or hockey swaps, so see if you can find some used gear.

3. Learn the rules

Learning the basic rules of hockey is an important piece of learning to play hockey as an adult. If you are a fan of hockey (NHL or other leagues) it will give you a good head start on the basic rules. Although some rules are very different between the leagues, it will give you a general idea.

Once you join a league and get out to play, other players, staff rink, and refs can help with any questions you have.

You can also download the USA Hockey app, which will teach you everything you want to know about the rules of rec ice hockey in the United States.

4. Practice

Even if you find an adult hockey league to join as a beginner, you will still want to practice as much as you can between games. You can do this on-ice and off-ice. Here are some ideas for practicing your hockey skills:

Stick and puck

As mentioned above, stick and puck is a great way to practice your skills on the ice. You’ll usually find these sessions on the rink website and you can sign up in advance. Or reach out to the rink staff and they can tell you the scheduled times for the stick and puck.

Bring your equipment, your stick, and a few pucks and work on everything you will use in your next game.

Open skate

Although there are many skills to hockey, skating is one of the most important ones. Rinks will generally have as many, if not more, open skate sessions as they do stick and puck sessions.

Although you may be skating next to a bunch of teenagers, it will give you the opportunity to practice the skating skills you need for hockey.

Stick handling

Stick handling is a great hockey skill you can work on both on and off the ice. There are hockey practice balls that have the same feeling as a hockey puck, and plenty of YouTube videos out there to teach you the best ways to practice your stick handling at home.

This is the hockey practice ball I use.

5. Find your team

Finding your team may be the most difficult part of beginner adult hockey. Although the step to finding your league may also solve this problem, it depends on how leagues are set up at your local rink.

That is because this happens in a few different ways:

Open leagues

Sign-up leagues are rink leagues where you sign up for your yearly league, along with your skill level, and they assign you to a team. This is usually done by the rink itself. Open leagues are the best way to get started as a beginner, especially if you don’t yet know anyone else who is playing.

Closed leagues

Closed leagues are leagues where someone (a private party, usually someone not working at the rink) rents the ice and creates their own league. The downside of this kind of league is sometimes it can be hard to get in without knowing someone.

No matter which type of these types of leagues you join, usually calling the rink in the very beginning will help you get the lay of the land, in terms of leagues, skill levels, and open slots on teams.

Steps to joining your first beginner adult hockey league

When you decide to learn to play adult hockey, there are a number of steps to take. But if you take it one step at a time, you will find it’s not that complicated. There are so many people in every hockey community willing to help you learn the ropes, so find your local rink and continue the steps from there.