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Find indoor or outdoor ice hockey rinks, and street hockey locations.
Keep your skates and hockey skills sharp all year long by joining a league at a nearby indoor skating rink. Most rinks have hockey tournaments, but you may find more games at hockey arenas and large stadiums.
All you really need for a good street hockey game is a large patch of flat concrete. Few parks have specific areas for street hockey, so if your nearby park doesn't be sure to bring chalk for creating zones and goal lines.
Many ice skating rinks will have pro shops inside and can fit you for hockey skates or sharpen the skates you already have. However, most sporting goods stores also offer quality hockey sticks, helmets, skates, and more.
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Ice hockey is a very fast paced and physical sport. On-ice fights occur often, even though fighting is officially prohibited; at the professional level in North America, fights are unofficially excused. Each team starts with 5 players and one goaltender on the ice at a time. If a penalty is called against a player, he will sit in the penalty box for a certain amount of time (usually 2 or 5 minutes), depending on the penalty, which gives the other team an advantage; this time is known as a powerplay The objective is to score more points than the other team by hitting the puck into the goal with a hockey stick which is lightweight and curved on one end. There are three periods of twenty minutes each, and the clock runs only while the puck is in motion. The goaltender wears full body protective gear, though all players wear lots of padding to protect them from the flying puck as well as from falls and hits from other players. Women's ice hockey was added as a medal sport in the 1998 Nagano Olympics and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Street hockey is played on an outdoor surface with hockey sticks and a puck or a ball, either in sneakers or inline skates. Generally speaking, it is played with little to no protective padding. If a puck is used, it must remain on the ground for safety reasons. It is most common in the US and Canada, and is especially popular on California beachfronts.
The daunting amount of equipment that is needed to play ice hockey scares away many a prospective player. Be sure you know what equipment is necessary for the position you are playing. You will need a helmet; preferable and sometimes required is one with a cage of full shield. The skates you buy should be hockey skates, not ice skates and should fit snuggly. You will also need a series of pads; elbow, shin and shoulder. Additionally, you will need ice hockey pants, socks and gloves. If you're purchasing a stick, you'll have 3 different options; a wood stick, a composite stick or a composite shaft with a blade. Lastly, some leagues may require you purchase and wear a mouth piece.
Training off the hockey rink is just as important as the training you get during practice sessions. Cross-training is great for any highly active athlete. Hockey players can try some of the following types of exercise to complete a cross-training workout. Non-impact exercise like swimming is terrific; try doing kickboard drills with your face in the water to improve your lung strength and strengthen your legs with no impact. Hockey requires both upper and lower body strength as well as cardiovascular strength. Full-body weight training is essential, as is stretching to increase flexibility and prevent injury. Balance exercises to keep stability muscles strong and responsive should be incorporated into workouts; the Bosu, wobbleboards, and half-foam rollers can be used as balance tools. For competitive players who are well-conditioned, plyometrics can be added to the workout once or twice a week in order to train the fast-twitch muscle fibers.
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