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Old 06-09-2008, 07:27 AM   #1
Chris Mousetis
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What’s your advice for a future hockey player?

In accordance w/the Crossfit philosophy of learning new sports, I’ve decided I want to learn how to play hockey. My athletic background is in swimming. 16 of the first 22 years of my life were spent in a swimming pool until I retired from competition after my 4 years of college eligibility were up. I also enjoy playing other sports and can hold my own playing football and basketball on the “playground”. I feel like I can pick up on a sport pretty quickly and am looking for something new to pursue.

I’ve always enjoyed watching hockey (the Stanley Cup finals were a heartbreaker as I’m a Penguins fan), but have never stepped foot inside a rink. The closest I’ve come to skating is when I tried to learn how to rollerblade as a teenager. I tried for about 30 min, half of which was spent picking myself up off my rear end. So, I just gave up. Granted, I was also a bit worried about injuring myself with a college scholarship hanging in the balance…

So basically I’m starting at ground zero and want to tap into the knowledge base of the Crossfit community (I know there are hockey players out there somewhere…I’ve seen some of you posting on the forums!). Here are some questions I’ve thought of…feel free to provide additional info if I’m missing something. I thank you in advance!

1) What the heck am I getting myself into?
2) Any tips on learning how to skate? I plan on taking a class at the local rink, but any tips you can give me beforehand are appreciated.
3) Equipment…What’s quality, what’s garbage? Where can I get quality equipment?
4) So far, I know that I’ll need skates, a stick, a helmet, pads, and gloves…what should I look for when purchasing each of these? How is all this equipment supposed to fit? Tight? Loose? How flexible should I be w/all the equipment on? A brick house or only slightly less flexible that I am normally?
5) What other equipment/apparel am I going to need? Where can I get this stuff?
6) What kinds of equipment maintenance am I going to be dealing with?
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
Jeff Yan
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Re: What’s your advice for a future hockey player?

1) What the heck am I getting myself into?
The later in life you pick it up, the harder it is. It will be a challenging journey, but a rewarding one. Luckily you are not middle aged, although I regularly see people at that stage in life starting hockey, having success and absolutely loving it. (Sound a bit like CF?)

2) Any tips on learning how to skate? I plan on taking a class at the local rink, but any tips you can give me beforehand are appreciated.
Start inline skating again, that way your practice is not limited only to the times you are at the ice rink. You won't really be able to learn how to stop, but you'll be able to practice mostly everything else like crossovers, backwards skating, pivoting, etc.
Also, get a stickhandling ball (a tennis ball can substitute) and stickhandle around the house. Since you're an adult, your time is valuable and you won't always be able to dedicate time for strict practice. You can play around and practice drills while watching TV.

3) Equipment…What’s quality, what’s garbage? Where can I get quality equipment?
4) So far, I know that I’ll need skates, a stick, a helmet, pads, and gloves…what should I look for when purchasing each of these? How is all this equipment supposed to fit? Tight? Loose? How flexible should I be w/all the equipment on? A brick house or only slightly less flexible that I am normally?
5) What other equipment/apparel am I going to need? Where can I get this stuff?
6) What kinds of equipment maintenance am I going to be dealing with?

Check out www.modsquadhockey.com (wfs) for your equipment questions. It's a message board run by pro shop managers and hockey gear junkies. Like here, some board members get annoyed when newbies ask the same questions so use the search function first.

If you still have any other questions or would like me to answer #3-6 in more detail, don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:39 AM   #3
Mike Goldberg
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Re: What’s your advice for a future hockey player?

I would recommend starting with Roller Hockey, then moving up to ice hockey once your skating and stick handling get better.

I'd go ahead and buy gear used from Play-it-Again sports, just to give this a try. You never know, you may end up hating this after trying it out for a few months. If this is for you, you can invest in higher quality stuff.

Skates, stick, helmet, face cage or shield, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, girdle, and shin guards. The gear will feel bulky, but should not restrict your range of motion too much. The guys at the shop should be able to help answer sizing questions for you.

Try to convince a few friends to join you in your adventure, and join an amateur roller hockey league. You'll improve very quickly this way. If no one else is brave enough, find out when the rink has pickup games, go out and jump in one.

Before you do anything, learn how to skate. I took a class, and it helped immensely. In your spare time, skate all the time. In the beginning, wear knee and elbow pads, cause you'll be falling a lot.

Remember to keep your knees bent to lower your center of gravity. You'll be wobbling a lot, until you learn that part. Then you'll start to get better.

You'll have to get good at skating backwards, especially if you'll be playing defense.

Bottom line, just get out there and do it!!!
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:05 PM   #4
Chris Mousetis
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Re: What’s your advice for a future hockey player?

Jeff, Mike,

Thanks for the great info! That'll help a lot to get me started. I'll pick up some inline skates, pads, a stick and a ball this weekend and just wing it until the next "learning to ice skate class" which starts at the end of this month.

Apparently someone hacked the modsquad hockey site so I'll check it out once the site is back up.

Funny thing, yesterday I was walking back from the laundry room in my apt complex and decided to stop by what I thought was a tennis court to see if I could possibly use it to practice on inline skates. Turns out it's actually a small version (I think) of a roller hockey rink w/goals at both ends. I think that's a sign...
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:18 PM   #5
Mike Goldberg
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Re: What’s your advice for a future hockey player?

Chris,

Awesome!

Funny you should mention this. I've been planning on selling a some of my old gear - helmet, shoulder pads, and gloves. PM me if you're interested.
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