Ice Hockey Basic Rules & How to Play (For Beginners)

Ice Hockey is an enjoyable game with a lot of action. Simple stick and ball sports, notably bandy, hurling, and shinty, are said to have developed into ice hockey in the 18th and 19th centuries in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, and elsewhere. Lacrosse, a North American sport, was also important.

Ice hockey is a game played on an ice rink between two teams of six players who wear skates and compete. To push a vulcanized rubber disk, known as the puck, beyond a goal line and into a net defended by a goaltender, or goalie, is the purpose of hockey. Ice hockey has become one of the most popular worldwide sports due to its speed and frequent physical contact.

Ice hockey is a fast-paced, entertaining game that tests players to their physical limits; ice hockey is very rewarding when you get the hang of it. In this article, we will introduce the basic rules and flow of ice hockey.


What are the Basic Rules of Ice Hockey?

Ice Hockey can be a bit daunting for people who have never tried it before; it can be a bit confusing as to what you actually need to do. However, there are some basic rules that you should know and how to play the game. If you are still a beginner, you need to know these rules for you to be guided:

  • In an Ice Hockey game, the team should provide not more than six players on the ice at any one time while play is in progress.
  • Ice hockey is played on a rink, which is a rectangular piece of ice with a length of 200ft and a width of 85ft. 
  • Players should wear proper types of equipment: Jersey, skates, protective equipment, helmet, mouth guard, gloves, and their stick(hockey).
  • All Leagues: Games are played in a 30-minute period. At game time, the clock will start.
  • There will be no overtime; tie games will be recorded as such.
  • During warm-ups and games, there are no slap shots (shots taken from above the waist).
  • Only in the Granite League is offside and icing referred to. There is no offside in the Green, Moosilauke, and Women’s Leagues.
  • There will be no checking. Any deliberate bodily contact that creates a discernible change in skating direction or impedes a player’s movement with or without control of the puck is referred to as checking. Intentional body contact that causes a player to lose possession of the puck, or contact with players away from the puck that obstructs their natural movement, are examples of this.

How to Play the Ice Hockey?

Playing ice hockey for beginners is a challenge. There are many new things that you need to learn and use correctly to play it successfully. With our guide, we will show you how to get started quickly and easily – which will give you the basic knowledge about ice hockey at the same time. The text below should help you understand the basic rules and terms so that you can play ice hockey as soon as possible.

The rules of ice hockey are very similar to other team sports. All players must follow the instructions given by the coach or manager. It is possible that you will play in the defense or attack – depending on your skills and abilities. You should always listen carefully to what your coach tells you, and it is important that you don’t just sit in the ice hockey box during a game. Don´t just stand in one place – try to be creative and use your possibilities to get involved with the game!

  • The face-off is used at the beginning of each period or after a goal has been scored. The two players who compete for the face-off must be on their own side of the rink and touch their sticks on the ice while facing each other. Then a referee blows a whistle to start the action.
  • The puck can only be passed or shot in a forward direction. If you take more than three steps with it, you must drop the puck to the ice.
  • If you hit or hold an opposing player with your stick, you will be penalized, and your team will play four vs. five until the penalty is over. This means that one of your players has to sit out during this time, and your team will only have four skaters on the ice. The same goes for high sticking.
  • All of these rules are very important, and it is absolutely necessary that you know them before you start playing ice hockey. If the referee doesn’t stop the game until your behavior, there may be consequences later on, which may result in a red or blue card! This means that the player has to sit out for two minutes or for the rest of the game, depending on what has happened.
  • If you follow these rules exactly, the referee will reward you with a penalty shot if your team has been fouled or if an opposing player has broken one of them! You can take a shot at the goal from a specific spot when this happens – just like in soccer. However, this is much more difficult since the goalie can move freely and try to block your shot.
  • Ice hockey is a very fast-paced game – so you must be prepared for everything. It usually lasts 60 minutes, but sometimes it may end in a draw. If that happens, there will be overtime which consists of five minutes per period. This is very intense since you will play at high speed, and at the same time, you have to keep an eye on your opponent. If no one scores during overtime, there will be a shootout! A player from each team shoots five times at the goal – this means that they can either score or miss completely, which decides whether their team wins or loses.

You can also check this Youtube video for a vivid picture of how the gameplay:

What are the types of equipment used when playing Ice Hockey?

Ice Hockey is a sport played with a lot of speed and strength. You can play it without any equipment, but we don´t recommend it since you will get hurt very often and won´t be able to play it safely. The following equipment is needed to play ice hockey:

Ice Hockey Skates – The best skates are usually made out of carbon steel. Aluminum carbon fiber composite is also a good choice. Both materials are very sturdy and will give you great support during the game. You can choose different models that support your ankles or choose low-top skates if they provide enough ankle support for you.

Mouth Guard – is necessary to protect your teeth and lips when playing ice hockey. When you crash into walls or other players, the risk of injuries is very high – even in lower levels of ice hockey. A good mouthguard will absorb most of the blows so that your face doesn´t have to. Even if you don´t wear a mouth guard, we still recommend that you use one.

Helmet – Don’t ever play ice hockey without using a helmet! This is the next important piece of equipment. The helmets are available in different sizes and shapes, so choose one which fits your head best. The chin strap should always be securely fastened to avoid the helmet falling off during the game.

Elbow pads, shoulder pads, and shin pads – are very important since they protect your body against injuries. The elbow pads should always overlap with your gloves, so they don´t move around too much while you skate. Before buying any of this equipment, make sure that it fits well with your body and that you feel very comfortable wearing it.

Gloves – You should use gloves with a lot of protection since your hands will avoid injuries and discomfort wearing a pair of ice hockey gloves. The fingers should always be firmly locked in the gloves so that they cannot move around when you play. Gloves with a lot of padding will protect your hands if you crash into hard surfaces. Even small injuries may bleed heavily, and this can be different from other sports like soccer or baseball since the players wear ice hockey skates while they play.

Protective cup – If you want to play ice hockey safely, you need a protective cup. We highly recommend all male players use a protective cup! It will protect your sensitive parts and reduce the risk of injuries very effectively. This is especially important for beginners since they will get hurt more often during the first few times on the ice.

Skate laces – Always make sure that the skate laces are tied correctly when you play ice hockey. They shouldn´t be too tight or too loose – if they are, it will cause injuries in the long run. Make sure that you tie your skates well before each game. This is very important, and it will reduce the risk of injuries enormously!

Jersey – The ice hockey jerseys are designed very differently. There are different sizes, and you should compare them with the ones of your teammates before playing an actual game. The most important aspect is the design of the jersey since this will show your team affiliation (if there’s one).

Pants – You can choose between regular pants or spandex compression pants when wearing your ice hockey equipment. You can also choose whether you want to wear a protective cup over the pants or not – it’s completely up to you.

Ice Hockey Stick – Before you start playing ice hockey, make sure that your equipment is in good condition. You should always check whether or not your skates fit well and whether the skate laces are tied correctly if you find something which needs to be repaired immediately. The same goes for your stick. When you buy an ice hockey stick, always make sure that it is the right size for you! If not, the risk of injuries increases dramatically.


Where to Play Ice Hockey for Beginners

To get started, go to a local rink or pond and ask around if someone wants to play ice hockey with you. You can also participate in local tournaments or play online ice hockey games to get to know other people interested in this sport. In the summer months, it is very common for people to play street hockey. But make sure not to injure other people while playing ice hockey – even though there’s no such thing as a penalty in ice hockey for beginners.

The best place to play ice hockey for beginners is an indoor rink. Of course, the weather should be cold enough to freeze the water on the court. This limits playing opportunities in countries with milder climates – but there are still quite a few opportunities available even there. A good alternative for beginners is roller hockey rinks that also have an ice rink.

Is it expensive to play Ice Hockey if you are a beginner?

Ice Hockey can be quite expensive – even for beginners. An ice hockey court and a goalie mask can already cost several hundred euros. The cheapest way is probably to ask all the other players in your group if they want to play at one of your homes because you have an ice rink available there. Particularly parents should pool their money and buy good equipment that lasts longer.

For a starting player, buying all of your gear and paying tuition will cost between $2,000 and $2500, with around half of that going toward equipment and the other half going for ice time. Depending on the price of your local travel hockey group, an intermediate athlete may expect to spend between $6000 and 7000 dollars.

To play ice hockey, you need skates and a stick. In some countries, the rental of the equipment is included in the admission fee – if not, it will cost between $20 and $100 per person. You can also rent helmets for about $50. If you want to buy your equipment, prices range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars later. If you only want to play once or twice, it is probably not worth spending this much money.

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