Summer is just around the corner. The beach, the barbecues, the baseball… what could be better?
By Warren Tabachnick
To the average person, summer hockey is the furthest thing from their minds. It’s the time for warm-weather gatherings at the beach or pool, grilling, or catching a ballgame. But hockey players are anything but average.
As hockey players, we simply can’t get enough of the game. Many of us play on more than one team, with some even playing on three or more; on top of that there are the tournaments. So on a hot summer day, can you think of a better way to stay cool?
For me, as a kid growing up in Canada, summer hockey was pretty much unheard of. Which kind of makes sense if you think about it. For most Canadians, winter starts earlier and ends later in the year and it can be more brutal than here in the States. So it stands to reason that when the weather gets warmer the last place you’d want to be is back on the ice—especially when you have to walk or drive on it for a good part of the year.
But now that I’m living in the New York area, summers can be long and hot. And that’s a good enough reason for me to hit the ice then. Sure, there are those who believe it’s always best to take time off from hockey; to re-calibrate and refocus. That may be true for young players, but not for hockey-crazy guys like us.
Why Play Summer Hockey?
There are many reasons why we play summer hockey (the usual motivation is succumbing to a healthy addiction to the sport). But there’s more:
- The health benefits, of course; it’s a great (and fun) cardio workout.
- Since there is less demand for ice time, the games start much earlier than during the regular season.
- It offers the chance to play on a new team, where you can make new friends and do some networking.
- The pace of the games is generally more relaxed. Plus there may be fewer restrictions regarding uniform requirements.
- With those earlier start times, together with the warm weather, there’s plenty of time to kick back after the game. Summertime is when you’ll find hockey players hanging out in the parking lot, enjoying a cold post-game beverage. Oftentimes someone would bring a small bbq and start grilling burgers and dogs right there.
- The cost to play hockey in the summer is substantially lower than hockey in the regular season.
Signing Up for Summer Hockey
If you’re considering playing this summer, now is the time to sign up! If you already play on a team during the regular season, all of you can sign as a team. But if you’re looking to mix things up a bit and go solo, start by checking with the league you usually play in. Otherwise, a quick search online will yield a bunch results.
Any which way you decide to play, summer hockey will keep you cool when the weather gets hot.