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Welcome to Hockey Parent Guide!


Did you hear about the sport from a friend or neighbor and want to find out more? 

First, you're in the right spot.  We offer programs for boys and girls at the youth level as well as high school aged players.

If you have a child that is interested in hockey regardless of age, or program, have them check out one of our free intro to hockey resources located in the right-hand column.  Our site has a tremendous amount of info so please read through the information on the Pride tab. Can't find what you are looking for? Just email us and we'll be happy to chat with you. 

Hockey is one of the fastest growing youth sports in the country right now. Don't worry if your kid has never played, our high-level coaches and practice environment will allow them to learn how to skate and stickhandle in no time.  A lot of kids have only picked up a hockey stick in the last year to two, and every year we add more new kids to our program.  

equipment information:

Total Hockey Equipment Guide

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Welcome to Hockey
Resources for New Hockey Parents - USA Hockey

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The Basics & FAQ

Hockey is a great sport for kids. It teaches essential life skils like hard work, focus, and team work. To introduce kids to skating and hockey, we have our IP (instructional play) Program.  Griffin Arena also has a learn to skate program (Early September) as well. These programs are for younger or in-experienced players who are new to the sport of hockey or for those who wish to participate in the sport on a developmental level. The programs are designed to teach boys and girls the fundamentals of ice hockey. 

Proper Age to Begin?

While you are never to old to develop your love of hockey, the optimal age to begin is between the ages of 3 and 8 years old

How Do I Begin?

The most basic skill to be successful in hockey is to be able to skate.  To play competitive hockey, players need to be able to skate forward and backward, perform a "hockey stop" facing both directions, cross over to make a turn, and be able to get up quickly when they fall down.

Griffen Arena teaches these skills in their Learn-To-Skate.  Petoskey Area Hockey Association also teaches these skills in its IP and House programs.  Winter-Sports Park also runs a Learn to skate and its also a great way to get started.

What Equipment Do I Need?

Each skater must have the following equipment:
  1. Hockey Skates
  2. Shin Guards
  3. Leg Warmers (hockey socks)
  4. Hockey pants
  5. Shoulder Pads
  6. Elbow Pads
  7. Hockey Gloves
  8. Helmet with facemask
  9. Mouth piece
  10. Stick
  11. Neck guard
  12. Protective Cup (highly recommended)
Goalies need a different set of equipment:
  1. Hockey Skates
  2. Leg Warmers (hockey socks)
  3. Goalie leg pads
  4. Goalie chest and arm protector
  5. Goalie Glove
  6. Goalie Blocker
  7. Goalie Stick
  8. Helmet with throat guard

Equipment - What To Look For?

Selection of hockey equipment is a key issue for coaches, players and parents. Here are some things to look for:

Helmet: Comfort is the key! A helmet should fit snug, have an adequate protective foam lining and a properly adjusted chin strap that gently "cradles" the chin when fastened. Full Shield or Visor Mask? Although the Visor offers better fields of vision, they can fog up from moisture. Defoggers are available for this. A Screen face mask provides much better ventilation but only adequate vision.

Mouth guard: Very important in not only injuries to the mouth and teeth, but to the jaw as well. Because of their importance, be sure to follow the package instructions for proper fitting and changed frequently when they become "thin" or broken. Many brands now come with a small insurance-type guarantee on the back if there is an injury while wearing the guard. Look for those and keep your receipts to show proof of purchase.

Shoulder pads: This is the players major protection for the upper body (collar bone, chest, back, ribs and upper arms). The shoulders should fit directly into the shoulder caps and there should be plenty of padding in to chest area.

Elbow pads: Again, make sure the very tip of the elbow fits directly into the center of the elbow cup. The cuff should also be long enough to cover the lower arm that extends to the cuff of the glove. Check the velcro straps for signs of wear and make sure they aren't so tight they cut off circulation to the arms and hands.

Gloves: There should be plenty of room inside the glove for finger movement and the comfort ability is an individual choice. The cuff of the glove and the end of the elbow pad shouldn't leave room for unprotected skin.

Pants: Fit around the waist should be secure with the rest of the pant being loose with room for maneuverability. The pant should overlap the shin pads by only by 1 or 2 inches for the best fit.

Shin pads: The cup of the shin pads should fit directly over the kneecap. The lower legs should be fully covered but make sure the pad doesn't extend too long.

Skates: Always the most difficult of all they equipment to fit correctly, especially on the newer skaters. Begin by looking for a skate size that is 1 to 1 1/2 smaller than your normal shoes. Wear socks that would normally be worn with the skate and slide your foot in all the way to the toe of the skate.  a space the size of one finger should exist between the heel and inside of the back of the skate. Walk in the skates (with guards on) for 15 minutes or so to get a good feel for the comfort of the skate. If red areas or discomfort develop on the foot, recheck to see if the skate fits properly. Check the blade frequently for chips and cracks and always have a professional sharpen the skate.

Stick: Wood or Graphite? Individual choice is the key, but wood is heavier, least expensive and breaks easier. Graphite (composite) shafts vary in shape and weight. They are the most expensive. To measure proper length, stand without your skates with the stick straight in between.  Mark the stick where it touches your nose and this is where a professional should cut the shaft. To double check, put on your skates and hold the stick in the same position. The mark should now come to your chin or below instead of your nose.


Why should we try ice hockey?

Hockey is high speed excitement on the ice and children learn to think & react quickly.
It is one of the fastest games on earth where the nature of the game is that everyone gets to play! Often in youth sports, there is a starting 5, 9 or 11, but in hockey the shifts rotate!! Given that the season is September - March as well as a spring season, there is a great deal of bonding with teammates and families.

Is the sport of hockey safe for my child?
Hockey is fun and safe!!  Most people who are considering ice hockey have watched professional hockey where there is fighting, major injuries and no face masks. In youth hockey, you will find that they player is covered from head to toe and the face is protected by a mask.  Checking is not allowed until age 11. The idea of a check is taught as a skill to gain control of the puck.  Rules for poor conduct are in place an enforced by officials and the youth organization. 
Who will be coaching my child?
Experienced volunteers will be coaching your child. Our coaches teach teamwork, self-discipline, sportsmanship, integrity and self-confidence, through hockey instruction, competition and play. 

What is Travel Hockey?
This program is more competitive than the House Level for boys and girls ages 4 to 14. 

What are the Different Age Groups?

Mini-Mite 6 and under
Mite 8 and under
Squirt 10 and under
Peewee 12 and under
Bantam 14 and under
Midget 16 and under
Petoskey High School
NA3HL Juniors
NAHL Tier II Junior
USHL Tier I Junior 
Division 1 NCAA
Ontario Hockey League Major Juniors
The National Hockey League  :-)