Whether it’s watching your own kids play, a desire to help coach or discovering the joy of hockey later in life, there is no shortage of reasons adults are interested in trying our great game for the first time. The most common road block is usually one of opportunity.
The good news is the Adult Hockey Association (AHA), located in the metro area, has been offering a beginner school since 2001 for this very reason.
The program provides adults of any age with a series of 10 on-ice instructional sessions, combined with chalk talks and controlled scrimmages. The beginner school is offered twice per year and typically features around 35 adults with no organized hockey experience.
The instructors start with fundamental skating and puck handling skills, but each session also includes set time for scrimmaging to provide everyone a chance to play and have fun.
“We really focus on teaching basic skills so they can have fun playing hockey,” said Dan Herrick, the program’s lead instructor for the past eight years. “Most of the participants are brand new skaters so we maximize reps and try to build confidence with their skills. Then, as we progress through the skills, we start to teach hockey concepts and apply them in game situations.”
While hockey may seem like an intimidating sport to try as an adult, the beginner school helps eliminate those barriers by ensuring everyone is starting at the same level and enabling people to join with friends, co-workers and even as couples.
“We do our best to create a supportive and encouraging environment right from the start,” said Herrick. “Once we get a few sessions in, they really take ownership of it though. Most of our groups develop a team bond and join our league together after they complete the program.”
“I also referee in our lower level leagues, and it’s great because I get to see everyone after they’ve started playing in an actual adult league. It’s rewarding to see and hear how much they love hockey now and how grateful they are for helping introduce them to the game.”
Registration is now open for this spring’s beginner school. For more details on the program, click here.