Written by Dr. Elizabeth Kremer, PT, DPT, MS


Ice hockey is a fast-paced team sport that involves players skating and trying to get the puck into the opponent’s net. Each team plays with 5 skaters (3 forwards, 2 defensemen) and one goalie. Complete rules of the game can be found here ( While the rules may seem complicated at first, the best way to learn is to go out and watch a game and learn as you go.

I played hockey competitively for 11 years, and have been a fan of the game for much longer than that. During my competitive playing years, I consistently found that hockey was a great way to maintain fitness while having fun, and it also provided the sense of comradery that often accompanies team sports.

Necessary equipment

Since hockey is a fast-paced sport played on ice, players require a lot of equipment so that they remain safe. The long list of equipment can get expensive, however, many local rinks offer rental equipment for youth players who are trying out hockey, so parents don’t have to purchase all this gear. If this is not an option, local sports shops often sell used gear at discounted prices.

Equipment for players:

  • Hockey skates
  • Shin pads
  • Hockey socks
  • Breezers/Hockey pants
  • Shoulder pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Stick
  • Neck guard (depending on league rules and location)
  • Jersey

Equipment for goalies:

  • Goalie skates
  • Hockey socks
  • Breezers/Hockey pants
  • Leg pads
  • Chest protector
  • Blocker
  • Glove
  • Goalie stick
  • Helmet

On top of this, all players need a bag to carry all of this equipment in. For younger players, bags with wheels are common to use, as the equipment can get heavy and may be difficult to carry.

How to get involved?

Find your local rink:

Local ice arenas often have many resources for hockey players and hockey fans alike. Arena Maps is a website that can help you find your local rink (  Interested in playing hockey but not confident in your skating skills? Many ice arenas offer “learn to skate” programs for people of all ages that help you build up the foundational skills required to be a solid skater. There are often also “open skate” opportunities, which are available a few hours every week where anyone in the community can go skate. Specifics on the pricing and times of these events can be found on the website of your local rink.

Go watch a game:

Local youth games are often free and open to the public, and can give you a good idea of the skillset involved in ice hockey. These games are a good way to get familiar with the rules and the flow of the game. If you are interested in watching professional teams, Hockey Team Finder ( is a good resource to find teams near you, though these games may be more expensive to attend.

Ready to play?

USA Hockey ( is the biggest hockey organization in the United States. They deal with hockey programs from the youngest kids all the way up to the Olympic level. Their website has in-depth information on the rules of the game, as well as information regarding local hockey leagues for children and adults. To find league near you, you can go to to get more information.