So, you want to learn how to play hockey, eh? Well, you have come to the right place! Read on to get all of the information you need to get started.
You are probably wondering what you should do to get started. If you wanted to, you could register as a DWHL member (free!), show up at one of our games or camps, pay the drop-in fee ($25) and the USA Hockey registration fee, and play. It really is that simple. Better yet, go to the Registration tab and register as a general DHWL member and print your free camp coupon and register online for USA Hockey. After that, you are just about ready to go!
If you would like to get-up-to-speed a bit before you jump right in there, follow these suggestions:
Go get some gear!
You can't do anything on the ice until you have your gear! You have several options here, so don't panic:
You can borrow your full gear from the DWHL gear bank. We have everything you need to get started and you can borrow it at no cost. Simply drop us an e-mail and we will meet you at the rink with a bag of gear. Our gear is stored in a public storage shed and not at the rink, so please give us a day or so notice so that we can get over there to pick up the right sizes and get it to the rink for you.
You can buy used gear. Used gear is actually highly recommended for the beginning player - you are unsure of your own needs and tastes until you have a season or two under your belt, so do yourself a favor and save the money. You can then replace your gear piece-by-piece later on. Used gear can be found at many athletic stores in the metro area, such as Play It Again Sports. You can also find several items online using Craigslist or ebay.
You can buy new gear. This is going to cost you about $500, not including skates. Skates are another $100-$400 depending on how much you want to spend. One way to save some significant money here is to go to the store and figure out what you want (brand & size) and then go online to hockey monkey and buy it - you will save a bundle.
Check out this presentation that our coach, Sabrina Becker, put together - it will help you get started and tell you what you should look for when you buy gear (sizes, proper fit, etc). Beginner's Guide to Hockey Gear purchase and Fitting
** Although skates and sticks are very good deals when you can buy youth equipment before you purchase your other protective gear, make sure that it fits and protects you the way it should. If you are unsure, ask someone. Injury prevention is your number one priority!
Come skate with us at one of our camps
We periodically have camps, typically on selected weeknights at the APEX Center or Ice Centre at Promenade. Check out our list of upcoming events to see when the next one will be held. Camps generally cover one topic each session, such as shooting, and the players are split up by skill level to ensure that no one feels intimidated and so that everyone can learn. The coaches are great and it's a really good way to increase those hockey skills!
Sign up to take group lessons at the APEX Center
The group lessons (called "Adult Hockey" in the catalog) are offered through the North Jeffco Department of Parks and Recreation, and are not DWHL affiliated. Sessions are offered many times each year, and cover a variety of skills you will need to learn to play hockey. The focus here is on skating, but of course they throw in a bunch of stick and puck drills to keep it interesting.
Go to a skate-and-shoot session
These are just like public skating sessions but they are for hockey players. The nets are up and you have to be in full hockey gear to play. You are on your own to work on whatever you want to work on. The schedule changes all the time, so check the APEX center website for the updated skate-and-shoot schedule.
When you are ready (are you ready now, why not???), go to our Registration page and register yourself for something (camp, tournament, league - whatever). Then get your gear on and come out and play!
What are you waiting for? There is plenty of ice just waiting for you to come skate - all you need is to make the decision to try. We are looking forward to seeing you on the ice!
Divisions and Leagues
The DWHL offers several leagues each year:
Fall and Spring Recreational and Competitive Mixed Leagues - The Fall Mixed Leagues begin in September or October and go through December while the Spring Mixed Leagues begin in January and go into April. The setup of each league is similar: The Recreational Division plays approximately 10 games, has 2 practices with their coach, and playoffs at the end of the season. This division also has bench coaches for the duration of the season to help you in learning the game. The Competivie Division plays approximately 12 games and playoffs at the end of the season. While there is no coaching in Competitive, we strongly encourage the players with more experience to mentor players that are newer to the game or to the DWHL.
The number of teams in each division depends on the number of players who register. Game start times vary but may be as late as 10:30pm. All games are played during the week. If you are registered on a team, you can substitute (sub) for free within your division! What this means is that any night that your team is not playing, but other teams in your division are playing, you'll have the opportunity to sign in as a sub. You can easily get twice as much ice time for the same amount of money if you sub, plus you get to know all of the ladies and expand your circle of friends. This is also an excellent way to increase your skills and get a feel for how different it is to play with different players.
It is recommended that players of an advanced skill level tryout for our WACH teams.
Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey (WACH) League – The DWHL sponsors up to three WACH teams each season (the WACH season is from September through April), depending on the number of players that tryout each August.
Summer League - The summer league starts in May or June and goes into August. We typically have enough interest for two divisions: 1 Novice and 1 either Intermediate or Competitive; the number of teams for each division varies depending on how many players register. Each team will generally play 10 games plus playoffs at the end and the Novice division also has two practice sessions. Ice time in the summer is typically earlier, with start times from 7:00 pm-10:00 pm.
Other Information about our Leagues:
We have opportunities year round for beginner skaters to get on the ice including:
- camps that always offer learn to skate options for new players
- the option to sub (drop in) during any Novice game
- an option to borrow loaner gear if you just want to try skating at a camp or subbing at a game.
More advanced skaters also have many options and are welcome to contact us to find the right fit for your skill level, including:
- Fall and Spring Mixed Leagues
- Summer Intermediate and Competitive Leagues
- Tryouts for WACH teams
Our league strives to keep the environment in our leagues fun and safe – so we always attempt to keep skill levels even for all of our events.The novice league is open to all players regardless of experience or skill level. Even if you have never played a game before and can barely skate, you are welcome here - all you have to do is sign up.
If you have significant experience, you may be too advanced for our novice division (remember: our goal is to make new players feel unthreatened, not to let you score a million goals because you are better than everyone else!). In this case, you should find a more challenging environment in our Intermediate division or our Competitive division. However, you must first be evaluated by a coach before you are allowed to play at these levels. Coaches will evaluate you at any of our camps; just ask them before the camp starts and they will let you know by the end of the camp in which division you should be playing.
Once you have been approved to play at the intermediate/competitive levels, you are no longer permitted to play at the novice level. No fair sandbagging!
If you don't want to register for a full league, but you still want to play, you can drop in to any Fall/Spring/Summer League game for $25. For novice level, you can sign up to be a sub. For intermediate or competitive, you still need to be evaluated by a coach before you can play at these levels. Once you have been approved, you can drop in for $25. All players will still be required to be registered with the DWHL and with USA Hockey before they can take the ice.
So, you want to learn how to play hockey, eh? Well, you have come to the right place! Take a look at some common resources to get all of the information you need to get started playing hockey with us.
Ever wonder about the DWHL's mission? How about what exactly we can / strive to offer to our members?
Or, are you just interested in learning about how we got started & got to where we are now?
We've heard a lot of them over the years.
Here are some responses to those which are frequently asked!