They’re are few things better than sitting back with some bros and some beers and watching the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. The only negative to playoff season is that it takes place in the spring when the weather is fantastic. Why not combine the spirit of the playoffs with a fast and fun game of street hockey? Here’s our 10 tips on how to have an awesome game of street hockey.
1. Grab your gear. All you need for street hockey is a place to play, a ball, and a stick.
2. Find a street. Finding a good street where you can play a game of pickup hockey can be difficult. Some city bylaws don’t allow it, and if you’re on a street that’s too busy you’ll be constantly stopping the game to yell “car!” Find a dead end street, or a quiet road in the suburbs.
3. Set-up your goal. The nice thing about street hockey is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. You can make the goal out of whatever you have available. It’s handy to keep a couple nets in the garage, but a some traffic cones from the hardware store will also do the trick.
4. Pick your teams. Make it an egalitarian effort. The easiest way to pick teams is to have everyone put their stick in a pile and one player (usually the host) separate them into two.
5. Know the rules. Like pond hockey, street hockey is usually 4 on 4. But like most rules for backyard hockey, it’s slack.
6. To goal? Or not to goal? The biggest question for a game of street hockey is: do you need a goalie? Most people play without. Why? It’s the gear. Someone in net will need a mask, a goalie stick, and some pads. That’s a pretty big investment unless you plan on playing a lot.
7. If you’re without a goalie… Some people get around this by eliminating slap shots and sticking someone in net. The game will be milder, but that just means you can take more beer breaks.
8. More rules... In street hockey, there are no offsides and there is no icing. Since you don’t have a ref, you want to forget about the rules that will create a lot of arguments.
9. Check your ego, not your fellow players. Of course, with no ref, players have to be honest. That means letting go of a call if the majority disagrees, and it also means checking your ego at the door.
10. Don’t drop the gloves! One thing that’s a no-no in street hockey is getting too rough. As much as your brother or one of your friends might get under your skin, don’t take the gloves off. Settle your disagreements by chugging a beer instead. That way everybody wins.
Remember: street hockey isn’t about winning, it’s about having the best possible time. Thankfully, as with all hockey, that’s not hard to do.