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Getting Started | Youth Hockey 101

The first inquiry for most parents is “where do I get started?”  Getting started in youth hockey is not as hard as it seems and RHA is here to help families with the process.  To introduce young players to the sport in general, RHA conducts street hockey events throughout the season.  For only a nominal cost, these events provide a great opportunity for participants to gauge their interest in the sport and determine whether they want to move on to ice hockey.  Many of RHA’s ice hockey players get started in the street hockey program. Check with RHA’s Main and Street Hockey pages on RHA’s website throughout the year for news and information on upcoming street hockey events.

Once a participant decides to make the jump to ice hockey, the best place to get started is with learn-to-skate hockey clinics as hockey is a unique sport that requires a learned skill to participate – skating.  One such program for which RHA conducts registration throughout the year is the Atoms Clinic.  The Atoms Clinic is for all players ages 10 and under and consists of one hour sessions at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, New Jersey, usually on either Saturday or Sunday mornings.  The sessions are run by Ice Vault staff and focus on skating skills.  However, in addition to pure skating drills, there are also puck handling drills and small area skills development games. The Atoms Clinic is a great way to get started with hockey or to supplement league participation with more skills training.  There are also a variety of learn-to-skate programs at various local rinks.  The contact information for all local area rinks with hyperlinks to their respective websites can be found under the “Rinks” link on the navigation bar of RHA’s Main page -- or click here.

After obtaining basic skating and hockey skills training, the next step is participation in a youth hockey program.  As set forth in the Introduction section, there are three options  – house league hockey, independent programs and travel programs – and participants need to decide which program is best for them. 

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