skip navigation

New Players

Let's Play Hockey!


Photo courtesy of Nick Wosika

If you or your child are excited to try hockey but aren't sure how to get started, you have come to the right place!

As the governing body and premier developer of hockey players in Minnesota since 1947, helping new players start hockey is one of our main priorities!

The first step is figuring out what age level and hockey program is right for you and your child.  Minnesota Hockey has a variety of programs for all players and abilities. Here is a quick introduction to each of them along with links to more information on getting involved:

  • Community-Based Hockey: This is where the majority of young players (view age charts) participate in hockey. Our local associations provide teams, leagues, games, coaches and much more for players ages 5-18. Find an association near you!
  • Recreation League: Similar to association hockey, the "Rec League" offers hockey for players 18 & under, but this league provides an alternative form of hockey that is low cost and low commitment, enabling kids to pursue other activities in addition to hockey.  The Rec League is also a good place for kids ages 10-18 to start playing if they don't have any experience in organized hockey.
  • Disabled Hockey: In Minnesota, we believe that hockey is for everyBODY.  That is why we offer a variety of hockey programs for kids and adults with mental or physical disabilities.
  • Adult Hockey: With the growing number of adult teams and leagues, hockey has become a lifetime sport, even for those who don't start until after their kids. See how you can get started now, regardless of age!
  • Women's Hockey:  Minnesota is a leader in the US and across the world in providing girls and women opportunities to play hockey. From first time players to Olympians, you can find all levels of women's hockey in Minnesota.

Get Started!


Most associations provide one or more of the entry level options below to help new players learn basic skills. These programs are the most common starting point for new hockey players.

Learn-to-Skate program helps young skaters to become more confident on their skates before introducing a hockey stick and puck to the lessons. These programs can be offered by youth associations, local figure skating clubs or the city's parks and recreation department.

A Learn-to-Play or Intro to Hockey program focuses on skating skills, but also teaches the basic skills of stickhandling, shooting and passing.  These are usually offered by the local youth hockey association.

An age 8 & under or Mite program is usually offered by the local youth hockey association and should include a level of play geared to entry-level kids.

To find and contact an association near you, reference the map and drop down menu below.

Sample Hockey Calendar

While each hockey association and arena structure their programs slightly different, most of them follow the same timeline for the season. For beginning players at the Mite/8U level, the season usually runs from November through February with a break for Christmas. At the older age levels, hockey starts a little earlier and finishes with playoffs. Here is a look at a typical youth hockey schedule.

Aug.: Registration opens

Sept.-Oct.: Registration closes, tryouts and Learn to Play or Learn to Skate programs occur

Nov.: Try Hockey For Free Day, practices start for youngest ages and games begin for older players

Dec.-Jan.: Hockey is in full swing

Feb.-March: Teams participate in playoffs, end of the season tournaments and season winds down

April-May: Associations host end of season banquets and board meetings

June-Aug.: Summer clinics and camps are available for those interested