The game of ice hockey is played on ice rinks, mostly in cold countries of the northern hemisphere. To play this game, ice-cover is the basic necessity. However, with the availability of artificial ice rinks, one can play this game the whole year. Ice hockey is a fast-paced game characterized by aggressive moves. Kids can play this game to become flexible, attain a perfect body balance and also to strengthen muscles.
Kids Ice Hockey
Children can start learning ice hockey at the age of 4 years. Before that, they should learn to skate properly. Three-year old kids can begin with the practice of skating. Initially, kids ice hockey should be played with double-bladed skates; it helps in maintaining the balance properly. The first-impression of parents about ice-hockey is that of a slam-bang sport with high chances of getting injured. However, children can enjoy the game and develop their skills if it is played in a safe manner. Ice hockey for kids requires children to have the following, important qualities: being energetic and a willingness to become a team player.
In the United States of America, kids (from different age groups different age groups) playing the game of ice hockey are classified into levels. Categories in which boys are categorized include the following.
- Mite: 8 yr. and under 8.
- Squirt: 10 yr. and under 10.
- Peewee: 12 yr. and under 12.
- Bantam: 14 yr. and under 14.
- Midget Minor: 16 yr. and under 16.
- Midget Major: 18 yr. and under 18.
Ice Hockey Rules for Kids
The standard rink used for ice hockey has the dimensions 200 feet x 85 feet. The playing area is divided into two halves with a red line. Two blue colored lines further divide these halves. The game is played with 6 members in each team. Shooting the puck (vulcanized rubber disc) in opponent's goal (to score) is the main objective in this game.
The ice hockey terms explained below should help in understanding the game in a better manner.
- Icing: It is a rule which prevents the defending team from just hitting the puck towards the red line. It generally happens that defending teams, in order to escape the pressure of an imposing attack just hit the puck randomly and towards the opponent's area.
- Penalties: Players are punished with a penalty if any of the rules are violated. Checking other players when they are facing the boards is punished with a penalty called boarding. Obstructing the movements of other players with the hockey stick leads to a penalty called hooking. 'Holding' is name of the penalty being called when a particular player grabs the other player or his stick.
- Offside: In the game of ice hockey, offside is called when an offensive player enters the attack zone before the entry of puck.
Ice Hockey Equipment for Kids
The main equipment used in playing ice hockey include the puck and a hockey stick (with long handle and having a blade). Protective gear used by players include the following: helmet, neck guard, hockey gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, garter belt, jockstrap, hockey pants, ice skates, mouth guard and shin guard.
The equipment used by goalies has few additional features; most important functionality of the equipment is to protect the goalie against frontal impacts. Chances of stopping pucks are increased if extra protection is provided to the goalie. Stick used by the goalie has a wider shaft and larger blade (and curved in shape).
The cost of equipment and coaching fees can at times become difficult for parents to bear. In such cases, one should go for resale items; it is also possible that one needs to swap a particular equipment. Such deals may often turn out to be profitable. The annual fees (team/league fees) for kids hockey could be in the range of $600-$3000.
The rules and regulations regarding ice hockey for kids and the equipment to be used are presented in short, in the article above. It is possible to know more about different aspects of kids ice hockey through information presented in the article.