Ice hockey is a game of extreme dedication; mastering ice hockey takes years of hard work and only the best of the best turn professional. So, what is the secret to a successful journey to the top?
Whether it’s your dream to turn pro or you just love playing ice hockey, we’ve got an all-star cast of ice hockey pros to give their advice and top tips just for you.
We’ve collated the perspectives of those who have completed the road from beginner to fully-fledged pro ice hockey player. Look at their inspirational tips on teamwork, motivation, preparation, and how to make it to the top.
Do you want to turn your passion into a profession? Is it your dream to become a pro ice hockey player?
Pros at any level of ice hockey are elite athletes. Although the NHL is most players’ goal - drafting only the crème de la crème - there are many other professional leagues in the USA, Europe, and Canada that have lower job requirements than the NHL.
The best way to get scouted is to perform well at any level. Always prepare and play your best; a scout could be watching at any point, and this could lead to an offer of PTO, trade, or tryouts. Also, carry and conduct yourself well both on and off the ice - a good character is important in a team game, and it’s a potential first impression for a scout.
It’s key to prepare both mentally and physically before an ice hockey game or the season.
Along with staying hydrated and getting your fix of veggies, protein and slow-acting carbs, mental game prep is vital to a solid performance. Having your own pre-game ritual will help you to play consistently and dominate the ice. It’s great to have a routine that enhances and benefits your performance on the ice.
Some pro players have some very unusual ones. Take goalie legend, Glenn Hall - famous in the 50s and 60s. He claimed the secret to his success was throwing up before the game!
It started out because of severe nerves but then became a superstitious pre-match ritual for him. Hall believed he played a better game if he had vomited before it.
We, however, wouldn’t recommend this one. Lots of players often have their less messy personal customary pre-match traditions that get them in the right mindset.
Teamwork and motivation on the ice:
The strength of a whole ice hockey team lies in the hands of solid teamwork. Without that, well you simply aren’t a team.
Building trust means you can rely and depend on each other - without this, a team is weaker. Pro teams don’t just focus on perfecting technical skills; coaches invest a lot of time and effort into fostering good teamwork.
Maintaining team motivation isn’t an easy task. Unexpected losses, a run of missed shots, distracted team members are just some of the ways motivation on the ice can dip.
Top tips for beginners
Beginning to play for a team is a huge commitment. Expect busy weekends, early mornings and long drives to matches. However, as any player will tell you - it’s more than worth it.
Strapping blades to your feet and taking the plunge into ice hockey will give you an incredible, adrenaline-fuelled feeling. The physical and mental benefits are endless.
Ice hockey is a fantastic way to stay in shape. It’s cardiovascular exercise - keeping your heart rate up and burning body fat. Playing for just one hour burns approximately 400 - 700 calories, from the short interval bursts. The strength training also helps to build muscle mass.
You’ll make plenty of new friends. It’s a sport known for tight team bonds.
Ice hockey is the perfect way to improve your coordination and balance. Skating already requires balance but moving fast when people can push into you, helps to improve these skills even further.
Not only are there physical benefits, but ice hockey is a strategic game, keeping your mind active too.