Get Inspired: How to get into Ice Hockey

Men play ice hockey outside in Kyrgyzstan
Fast Answers
Why get into ice hockey?It's a full-contact sport that demands pace, agility, poise, vision and finesse.
Who is it for?Anyone who wants to play a team sport and enjoys interval training.
Is there a cheap option?Clubs can help you out with equipment when you get started.
What if I want a proper workout?Even at lower levels of the sport, you can expect to burn around 500 calories an hour in a game!
Can I take it to another level?The game has a strong British following and there are a number of leagues across the UK.
Is there a disability option?Sledge hockey is a variation of ice hockey designed for people with lower-body impairments.
Is there a family option?You can find recreational teams at many ice rinks around the country, many of which hold family skating sessions.
So how do I take part?Go to our Activity Finder to get into ice hockey near you.

Ice hockey is fast, furious and fun. And don't be put off by professional players' antics - it's not all about fighting!

It's a great way to practice your skating while meeting new people, with ice hockey team-mates famous for forging close bonds.

Read on to see how you can get started in this super sport.

Aspire to be like: Wayne Gretzy

Wayne Gretzy

Wayne Gretzky played the sport professionally for 20 years between 1979 and '99, and has been lauded as the greatest ice hockey player of all time.

Ice hockey

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Piranhas ice hockey club for pensioners

Ice hockey is for anybody - all you need is a pair of skates, a stick, a puck and an ice rink to get cracking!

If you want to start playing in England or Wales, contact the English Ice Hockey Association, or if you live in Scotland, your first port of call should be the Scottish Ice Hockey Association.

In Northern Ireland, the Belfast Giants are an elite team, but they have a junior section too.

Ice Hockey UK has comprehensive information about the elite side of the sport.

Sledge hockey

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Sledge Hockey Get Inspired

Sledge hockey is a variation of ice hockey in which players are seated in a metal sledge with blades on the base, propelling themselves using twin hockey sticks.

It's aimed at players with lower body impairments who can't play standing ice hockey. The sport is fast, full-contact and extremely fun to play and watch.

Contact the British Sledge Hockey Association to find out how you can get involved.

Women's ice hockey

Norwegian girls train ahead of a Youth Olympics fixture
Women's ice hockey is popular all over the world

As a signal of how much importance Ice Hockey UK are placing on getting women involved in the sport, the summer of 2016 saw them create The Summer of Girl's Hockey.

There has been a clear pathway for female players for a number of years, with a number of age-grade Great Britain teams, culminating in the senior side, which finished 23rd in the world at the 2016 World Women's Championships.

Junior ice hockey

A child gets put through his paces by ice hockey legend Mark Napier
A child gets put through his paces by ice hockey legend Mark Napier

There's no better time to get started in ice hockey than as a child - learning to skate is easier the earlier you start.

To find ice hockey opportunities near you for your kids, contact your local ice rink or your national governing body in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Coaching and volunteering

Paul Thompson, coach of Sheffield Steelers
Former GB coach Paul Thompson led Sheffield Steelers to the Elite League title in 2015/16

For information on becoming a coach, visit the Scottish and England websites. You can also try Sports Coach UK. You could be trained up to manage a team or even start officiating.

Volunteers also have a key role to play in ensuring ice hockey teams and tournaments run smoothly.

For volunteering opportunities JoinInUK, Volunteer Scotland and Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland can help you find a club that needs some help.

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into ice hockey near you.

2. Find your local ice hockey opportunities by using the English Ice Hockey Association and the Scottish Ice Hockey Association websites.

3. Share your story and inspire others

Are you inspired to try ice hockey? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the sport by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration