Once your son or daughter has learned the fundementals of skating and is comfortable on the ice they are ready to move on to a Learn-to-Play programs.
Many local area rinks offer Hockey School or Learn to Play programs. Similar to Learn to Skate, there are often several sessions offered over the course of the year, and session generally run for about 6 weeks at a time.
Learn to Play programs allow new players to develop their hockey skills while growing their love for the game. Each week they will work on their skating skills, pucks skills and participate in on-ice games.
Full hockey equipment is required for Learn to Play programs. For more information on required equipment, click on the Required Equipment tab.
A great option for first-time participants aged 5-9 is the Flyers Rookie Program. This 6 week program is similar to the Hockey School/Learn to Play programs that are run by the local area rinks, but this program provides FREE hockey equipment for your child, including a Hockey Helmet with Cage, Shoulder Pads, Elbow Pads, Hockey Gloves, Hockey Pants, Shin Guards, Skates, Jersey, Hockey Socks, Stick and an equipment bag. All of the equipment included in this program is your to keep. This is an incredible deal, as the cost to participate in the Flyers Rookie program is similar to what you would pay for the rink run Hockey School/Learn to Play programs (which do not include the equipment).
Please visit the Flyers Rookie program website for more information, as well as dates and locations for upcoming sessions. It is not offered at all rinks, and each rink only offers it a couple of times per year. This program is extremely popular and often sells out.
Great Valley Hockey strongly recommend that any new players who are eligible sign up for the Flyers Rookie program. You cannot beat the deal on the FREE equipment. As a reminder, this program which is sponsored in part by the NHL is only available for first-time players between the age of 5 and 9.
If you aren't quite sure you are ready to make the jump to Learn to Play, USA Hockey also offers a Try Hockey for Free Day twice per year. You do not need to have any prior experience or equipment. It's a great way for those kids (or parents) who aren't quite sure if their son or daughter is going to like hockey to give it at try without having to buy equipment or sign up for a Learn to Play program. We will post info and dates on our calendar when this program is available.
In addition to Learn to Play programs, there are a variety of Camps, Clinics and Lessons that are available. Some of these programs are offered by the local rinks, whereas others are offered by outside parties that will bring their camp or clinic to the local rink. There are lots of other camps and clinics offered outside of our local area. This includes both day and boarding programs.
Some clinics may focus on specific skills (power skating, stick-handling, shooting, goalie clinics, defense, checking, etc.), whereas others may cover a range of different skills over the course of each session. Clinics can range from one hour to multiple days. In addition, many local area rinks may offer private or semi-private lessons.