Ice Hockey for Beginners: Complete Guide

We know what goes inside the mind of a beginner player. They have passion and love for a particular game and want to play it as well. Here the difficulty starts. They remain confused about how and where to start from.  If you are into hockey, and looking for blogs about hockey for beginners, we are here to help you out. The most famous type of hockey around the world is ice hockey. We got a complete guide of ice hockey for beginners.

Why start playing ice hockey :

It may seem like ice hockey for beginners is too tough. But trust me every single thing looks like it’s too tough in the beginning. Hockey is a very fast paced game. It will keep you fit and the adrenalin rush will keep your mental health better as well. You will achieve some lifelong qualities as well. Such as socializing, confidence, teamwork and quick decision making etc. 

When to start :

The lowest age to start ice hockey is the age 5. The early ages are the best to learn how to play ice hockey. But wait, if you are not in your early age, it’s not late. You can learn hockey in your teenage years or even after it. Professionals usually play hockey until their mid thirties. So you can start learning anytime before that.

Skills required for playing ice hockey :

When you are looking for how to play ice hockey for beginners, you need a few sets of skills first. 

  • Ice skating , 97 percent of the game is ice skating. 
  • Multi tasking
  • Quick deciding skill
  • Good reflexes
  • Good core balance
  • Ability to work together in a team

How to skate :

The first rule is to have patience. You won’t learn it in a day or maybe in a month also. At times you will feel like this is not possible at all. But it’s actually something achievable. So when you begin, definitely wear lighter clothes, so that you can move easily wearing them. I know it can be a bit chilly, but once you start moving you won’t feel the cold anymore. Still to prevent cold you can wear fitted tops and leggings.

Then comes the most important thing, skates. You need to wear skates which are very comfortable and fits really well. To keep your feet warm use socks. But you can’t use the cotton socks due to less moisture wicking ability. You better use microfiber socks. Then put on a helmet on your head for safety. 

Mastering the basics :

  1. Now this may sound funny, but first you need to learn falling and trust me you will obviously fall while learning hockey and this is one of the best ice hockey tips. Question is why you need to learn how to fall. The answer is, when you fall with a prepared position, you can reduce the seriousness of your injury. The less injury you face, the more you can focus on learning. So here are some techniques of falling in the right position.
  • Whenever you start feeling like you are falling, bend your knees and shift your body into the dip position (squatting).
  • It’s better to place your hands on the lap while falling forward and roll over your hands and knees.
  • To get up, gently push your body with your hand and stand up.
  1. Learn to stop. If you know to ski then it is the same technique. Pull your legs apart and bend it sideways. This will reduce your speed and help you stop within a second. But as a beginner you may fall down while practicing it. So have patience.
  2. To be comfortable in the skates keep gliding and keep stroking. 
  3. Practice swizzling (pulling your feet apart and then dragging the toes together, making an hourglass shape. It will help you improve your skills.)

Basic structure and objective :

Ice hockey rules are pretty simple and the gameflow is also pretty easy. You skate, pass , shoot and score. When you make a goal, you get a point. That’s it. 

Rink structure and position:

You will get 5 players and 1 goalie in your team. All of them have to stand in the defensive zone. There are different positions for different roles. 

  •  Goalie: The goalie stands in front of the goal post to prevent the puck from entering into the goal line. If your reflexes are really good and you can remain very alert all the time then you can consider being a goalie. 
  • Defense players (left and right) : They try to block the opposition party when your team doesn’t have the puck possession. They also block the opposition party from taking over the puck when your team has the possession. If you are not that aggressive player and you have a good blocking skill, then you may try playing from these positions. 
  • Forward centre : They try to take possession on the puck during every face off. If you are a very aggressive player, then you should try for this position.
  • Forward left and right wing : They have some defensive responsibilities. But they look forward to creating the primary situation of making a goal. 

Game time:

It is basically a 60 minutes game divided into three 20 minutes periods. Each period got 5 minutes break time, which is 15 minutes in total. 

Officials :

A game official is the person who has the responsibility of enforcing the rules and doing the maintenance of the game. The number of officials vary with the type of the game. They are :

  • Referees (on ice)
  • Linesmen (on ice)
  • Assistant referees (on ice)
  • Goal judge (off ice)
  • Video goal judge (off ice)
  • Official scorer (off ice)
  • Penalty timekeeper (off ice)
  • Goal timekeeper (off ice)
  • Statistician (off ice)

Crimes :

As you are reading about ice hockey for beginners, it is really important to know about the crimes in ice hockey rules. 

  • Off side : When the puck is in the possession of your team and your players’ sticks cross the blue line of the attacking zone, before the puck crosses that line is called off side.
  • Icing : If you hit the puck from behind the centre red line and your puck remains untouched, it will be called icing. 
  • Butt ending: Jabbing a player of the opponent team with the top end of the stick.
  • Checking from behind: Hitting a player from behind while he is not aware of the scene and can’t defend himself.
  • Cross checking: : Checking the stick with both hands.
  • Elbowing: Hitting an opponent with the elbow. 
  • Fighting : Getting involved into physical fights inside the rink.
  • Hooking: Blocking someone’s progress using the stick. 
  • Interference: Blocking someone’s progress while he doesn’t have the puck and creating any kind of disturbance while picking up his stick or gloves from the ground. 
  • Kneeing: Hitting an opponent with the knee. 

All kinds of deliberate actions that make an opponent fall or get him injured comes under the crime section.

Punishments : 

  • For a minor penalty you have to sit in the penalty box for 2 minutes. In case of double minors a four minute penalty is given. 
  • In case of a major penalty you have to sit in the penalty box for 5 minutes. 
  • In case of a misconduct penalty you have to sit for 10 minutes in the penalty box. 
  • Sometimes a penalty shot is also given. It depends on the situation and the league. 
  • While having an offside, your goal won’t be counted and you will have to resume the game with a faceoff. 
  • Icing comes under a delayed penalty. 

Here’s a chart of hockey majors and minor penalty time.

BoardingMinor2 or 5 minutes
ChargingMinor2 minutes
Contact to the HeadMinor2 minutes
Cross-CheckingMinor2 or 5 minutes
Delay of GameMinor2 minutes
ElbowingMinor2 or 5 minutes
SlashingMinor2 or 5 minutes
RoughingMinor2 minutes
ObstructionMinor2 minutes
High-StickingMinor2 minutes
KneeingMinor2 minutes
HoldingMinor2 minutes
Holding the StickMinor2 minutes
InterferenceMinor2 minutes
HookingMinor2 minutes
Unsportsmanlike ConductMinor2 minutes
TrippingMinor2 minutes
Butt-EndingMajor5 minutes
Checking from BehindMajor5 minutes
FightingMajor5 minutes
Fight InstigatorMajor2 minutes
Holding/Grasping the FacemaskMajor5 minutes
Pushing-off of Opponent with SkateMajor5 minutes
MisconductMajor10 minutes
SpearingMajor5 minutes

Equipments required for ice hockey:

While playing ice hockey you need a proper set of equipment. Here’s the list of it . 


  • Stick
  • Mask
  • Chest protector
  • Neck guard
  • Arm protector
  • Goalie jock
  • Knee pads
  • Leg pads
  • Blocker
  • Catching glove
  • Skates 
  • Helmet


Hope you got all your ice hockey tips here. If you want to know about other hockey rules and playing methods, you can check our other blogs as well.

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