Make sure you’re prepared before you hit the ice to play hockey. Understanding the rules of ice hockey is only the first step toward becoming a great hockey player; you also need to know how to play safely and to show good sportsmanship:

  • Learn to skate properly, even if you’re playing goalie. You can’t do anything in hockey if you can’t skate.

  • Make sure your equipment — whether it’s your skates, your stick, or your sweater (that’s what the pros call a hockey jersey) — fits well.

  • On the bench, be alert. Watch what the opposing team is doing, and be prepared to play both ways, offensively and defensively.

  • Don’t be a puck hog; pass to your teammates.

  • Don’t stay out on your shift for too long. If you’re working hard, an average shift on the ice should last no longer than a minute. Come off when it’s your turn.

  • Be ready when it’s your turn to go onto the ice.

  • Wear a helmet. But remember: Just because you have head protection, don’t think you're invincible.

  • Be careful with your stick. Just because everybody wears headgear, don’t think they’re invincible either.

  • Don’t check people from behind.

  • Keep your head up when you’re going into the boards. If it’s tucked in, the chances of a serious head injury rise if someone hits you from behind.

  • Don’t yap at the ref or the other team. It’s okay to be emotional and pull for the people on your team, but don’t give the ref or the opposing players a hard time.

  • Get yourself in good physical shape.

  • Practice your shooting and passing.