New to Hockey


How to Tape Your Stick

Hockey Hut How To: Tape Your Stick

Taping your hockey stick is an essential part of getting ready to play hockey. It may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in your game. Properly taping your stick can not only protect the blade from damage (for those parents looking to save money!) but it can also improve your control and feel for the puck.

When it comes to taping your stick, there are a few different techniques and styles to consider. Some players like Steven Stamkos prefer to use a lot of tape on their blades, covering the entire blade, while others like David Pastrnak use very little, only taping the bottom portion of the blade. The amount you use and the way you apply it is a matter of personal preference and can vary from player to player. 

Check out this tutorial from Teagan on how to properly tape your hockey stick!

In this video Teagan demonstrates her preferred method of taping. She begins by tearing a small piece of tape and running it along the bottom of the blade before starting at the heel and working her way to the toe. One key technique she uses is overlapping the tape, which helps prevent tears and provides additional protection. 

Ultimately, the key to a successful tape job is practice. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become with your preferred technique and style. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods to find what works best for you!

tie hockey skates

How to Get Dressed for Hockey

Hockey Hut How To: Get Dressed for Hockey

There is nothing worse than having an equipment malfunction while you are playing hockey. If you want to learn how to properly get dressed and maximize your performance on the ice, check out this how to video!

  1. The first thing that you are going to want to put on is the jock. The jock holds your cup as well as holds up the socks that go over your shin pads. There are a few different types of jocks. (shorts, pants, and guarder belt)
  2. Next, we will be putting on the shin pads. You want to make sure that the shin pad is on the correct leg. The shin pad indicates which pad should go on which leg. Once you have the shin pad on the correct leg, tightly fasten the strap so that the pad doesn’t shift around.
  3. Next, we have the socks. The socks go over the shin pad and will velcro to the jock. It is important that when pulling the socks over the shin pad, the velcro doesn’t snag on the shin pads straps.
  4. Next, we have the pants. It is important to make sure the pants fit correctly. You want the bottom of the pants to resting slightly above the kneecap and the top of the pants to be slightly below the ribcage. Buckle the front of the pants and if it is too loose, you can tie the lace to your desired comfort.
  5. After the pants are on, you are going to want to put your skates on. Tying skates is a lot easier when the upper gear is not on. Parents, it is okay for your child to be fully dressed and then you tie their skates but you should keep in mind as they get older, they are going to want to tie their skates without the upper gear. If you don’t know how to tie skates, you can refer to our how to tie your skates video
  6. After the skates are on, you are going to put on your shoulder pads. Sometimes referred to as a chest protector. There will be 4 straps on the shoulder pads. 2 in the back and 2 on the shoulders. Start by reaching back for the velcro straps and bring them to the front velcro. Once they are secure, grab the strap on the shoulder, wrap it around your arm, and secure it to the velcro.
  7. After the shoulder pads are comfortable, you are going to put on the elbow pads. Place your elbow in the pocket of the pad. From there, you will need to take the velcro strap, wrap it around your arm, and secure it to the velcro padding.
  8. Now it is time for the jersey. Putting on the jersey can be difficult because it sometimes snags the back of the shoulder pads. Start by placing one arm through the jersey and then do the same with the other arm. Once your arms are in the jersey, pull the jersey over your head.
  9. Next up is the helmet. Once the helmet is on your head, there will be 3 straps. Start by buckling the strap that goes under your chin. The next 2 straps are on the cage. The helmet has two snaps on the backside where you will strap the buckles.
  10. Lastly, once you have all the other gear on, you can grab your gloves, grab a stick, and get on the ice!

youth hockey

A Parent’s Guide To Start Playing Hockey

With youth sports being so specialized these days, it can be challenging to know when your child can begin playing hockey and how to get started. Start too early, and they could become discouraged, yet start too late, and it can seem like they could fall behind. Every child is different, and hopefully, this article can help you identify when yours is ready to step on the ice.

As a hockey parent looking to get your child into hockey, we’re sharing the best tips to help get you started in the game, and what you can expect when your child starts playing.


When To Start Playing Hockey

The earliest age kids can begin playing organized hockey is five years old. For families that want players to learn the skills without being on a team, some programs are a starting point available.


How To Start

The best way to start is by getting on the ice and going for it! Depending on your level of experience, players can start learning how to skate, take private lessons, or join a team. 

Hockey Tots program is the easiest way to introduce your 2-6-year-old child to the great sport of ice hockey in a safe, controlled environment taught by our professionals! 

This 6-week program is a great way to enhance their balance, hand-eye coordination, and overall athletic motor skills while on the ice. Kids start their first three weeks on sneakers and are transitioned to skates for their last three weeks.

See the progress one player made over six weeks

Learn To Skate

The Learn to Skate program helps young skaters to become more confident in their skates before introducing a hockey stick and puck to the lessons. Open to skater’s ages 6-14 years old. 

When you join Hockey Hut’s learn to skate class, you’re learning from our professional ice skating instructors, who create a great experience for beginners. All skaters are grouped according to skill level, and they learn bucket-pushing, swivels, inside & outside edges, stopping & starting, and much more!

Learn To Play

The Learn to Play program focuses on skating skills but also teaches the basic skills of stickhandling, shooting, and passing. Learn to play will help prepare your player for a 6U/8U season-long program. 

After spending six weeks in Learn To Skate or Hockey Tots, players will start their true journey into hockey. Skating is the emphasis, but stick skills, pucks, and small games are all used to create a positive learning environment.

youth hockey in new york

Semi-private lessons will help get you started with the basics and help with good habits. 


What Can I Expect From Ice Hockey?

For children, not only is playing hockey fun and the perfect social activity, it will provide them with life-long skills, confidence, teamwork, communication, and decision-making abilities.

When you play hockey, you can expect strong friendships. It’s a sport known for tight team bonds. Players will also develop patience and a sense of responsibility – learning to play is a complex skill that needs coaching and training. Determination, commitment, and practice are the keys to success. 

One parent said, “We have seen a lot of improvement in our son’s skills and feel the overall experience is more than just about hockey; it’s about being a good listener, respectful, a hard worker, focused, and of course having fun! We take character development in our child more seriously than any sport skill training and having a great coach that teaches them to be a great person is priceless.”

Congratulations on starting this sport, you are about to begin playing the most exciting sport on earth! This will be a rewarding path for you and your family! 

hockey private lessons

Best Questions to Ask During Private Lessons

Best Questions to Ask During Private Lessons

One of the best reasons to have a private lesson is having someone to motivate you and help you achieve your desired goals. However, if you genuinely want to get the most out of your private lesson, it’s up to you to come prepared, work hard, and ask the right questions. Maximize your lesson and your development by asking these questions.

Can You Help Me? 

This lesson is about you – if there’s something you don’t understand, ask for help, a second explanation, or a demonstration. You might feel reluctant to ask for help, but not asking limits your development. Be bold so you can 

Where Can I Improve?

If you’re not sure what skills you need to work on, ask for your coach’s analysis. They’ve watched you work on your skills and can offer you insight on how to develop as a player. Whether it’s skating speed, shot accuracy, or passing, your coach knows what can help you improve as a player, what drills can get you there.


When you do something without understanding “why” the slightest change can leave you feeling unsure about what to do. When the “why” is clear, you can make appropriate adjustments to any changes. Then, you can take the same principles of the “why” and apply it to any other situation to make a better decision.

Can We Review? 

At the end of the lesson, ask the coach to review all the skills and drills you covered briefly. Having your coach take five minutes at the end of the lesson to review everything will give you one last chance to jot notes and see your lesson in a broader context.

What’s Next? 

You’ve taken the time to train with a coach, but you want to continue working and developing your skills on your own. Whether it’s homework, skills to review, or additional practice suggestions, leave your lesson with clarity on your next steps. Knowing what your next action is will help you reach your goals, one step at a time. 

You’ve got the questions to ask during a private lesson, but you might be wondering, Is it worth it? We want to help you understand and maximize your experience. Download your free guide below!

Are Private Lessons Worth It?

Sign Up to Get Your Free Guide 

* indicates required

bauer skates

Hockey Gear Checklist

Have you ever had to miss a game because your child’s hockey bag was not completely packed?! We’ve created a simple and effective solution that will help you and your children to never miss games or practices because of forgotten hockey gear.
Here is our Hockey Gear Checklist! You can print, laminate, and reuse and the best part is you can post in on your wall where you air out the hockey gear and have your kids become the process owners!
Have your player walk through the list so that they know what needs to be packed. Start with your bag empty and pack it according to our checklist starting with your hockey pants and ending with your hockey stick!


hockey hut pre practice checklist

Make sure to print out this free printable for every hockey player and use it to be ready for every ice hockey situation! Keep your checklist handy and enjoy gliding through the season knowing your gear is organized.

bauer skates

Everything You Need to Know About Hockey Skates

Skating is what makes ice hockey so dynamic and exciting. That is the reason we have abandoned field hockey (just kidding).

Skates are important, but how does a person choose the right ones? Here, we consolidated all the essential information to get you started:

1. What Brand Should I Buy?

The largest share of hockey products are manufactured today by the Canadian companies-CCM and Bauer. Swiss manufacturer Graf is the third most popular skate maker, especially valued by the goaltenders. There are additional smaller companies and custom skate makers that we’re not covering here.

Products are separated by skate fit, stiffness and additional features: i.e removable blades, advanced liners, lace locking system, etc…

There are negligible differences in performance between similar products from different manufacturers, so the main problem to solve is finding a pair within the desired fit-stiffness-budget range.

Researching professional player’s gear is a common mistake and will not help you to make the right choice – chances are, your child’s feet are different from Crosby’s or Bergeron’s, his/her skating regiment is not nearly as demanding, and you are not sponsored by CCM or Bauer.

2. Skating Boots

Fit is the hands-down most important part of choosing skates. After that is stiffness. Everything else is optional or adjustable.

Length: skates are typically 1.5-2 sizes down from your regular shoe size. Ideally, when sitting down on a bench, there should be just enough room in an unlaced boot, so there is no toe-to-shoe contact, while the ankles are securely in place.

Width: this is just like with any other shoes – regular and wide sizes available. The skating boots won’t “break in” as much, especially for the young kids, so when in doubt, opt for the wider boot.

There are fans, advocates and haters of certain brands and models, however, these are all quality skates and any pair will work great as long as it fits right.

Most of the pro-shops will carry the 3D foot scanners, that will characterize your feet and point you towards the compatible products.

In the shop, skates should feel snug, but not painful. Some room for the feet to grow is fine but going 1.5-2 sizes up for the skate “to be good next season” will make your kid miserable and jeopardize his/her learning. It is important to remember that new skates will not feel comfortable – they are not sneakers. If your child is new to hockey, then he/she won’t have any idea how the skates should feel like, therefore if you’re reasonably sure you’ve got the right skate in hand, only address signs of extreme discomfort or pain – getting used to the skates will take time.

When buying your first pair, I recommend acquiring a second opinion about the fit from a trusted, knowledgeable person (a friend that plays, hockey coach, pro-shop team member).

Stiffness: Beginner skates are softer, advanced skates get progressively stiffer. Also, the softer the boot, the more comfortable it is – important mostly for the beginners. Try to bring together the 2 top lace eyelets with your index finger and a thumb: on a stiff boot, you’ll only be able to move your fingers for a few tenths of an inch.

Beginner skaters require only a fraction of support and stiffness compared to advanced and expert skaters, so putting a beginner into a pair of high-end skates will just make him/her miserable with the immobilized ankles, without contributing to his/her learning. Stiffer skates will also be more expensive due to the use of advanced materials.

Softer skating boots will give enough support to young kids. When kids start skating more aggressively stiffness can be reconsidered.

Skater’s weight considerations – heavy players will require stiffer skates since they need more support regardless of their skating abilities.

Common Mistake of Beginner Parents: When they see their child’s feet over-pronating (collapsing inwards) they tend to conclude that there is a need for a stiffer pair or try to put hockey tape to “stabilize” the ankles.

If the skates are properly tied, this over-pronation has more to do with the skate fit, your kid’s conditioning, and with the fact that it takes time to get used to standing upright on a pair of thin blades.

Bottom line – go as stiff as needed, but no more than that. Young beginners will be fine with medium to soft boots.

Everything Else:

Heat-moldable boots are recommended and will help with the fine fit adjustment, elimination of “hot spots”, and will quicken the break-in period. Skates can be “re-baked”, which is most important when buying a used pair.

However, if the skates are not fundamentally fitting the feet, heat mold won’t fix it. Graf skates, in exception, only rely on the heat mold, making their fit window smaller, compared to the CCM and Bauer.

Footbeds: Only the top-of-the-line boots will have high-quality beds. The rest will have only basic beds, which will not help much if your child pronates, even slightly. “Superfeet” branded beds are the go-to replacements, tried and approved by the skating community – recommended. Beds usually will not impact the fit, but make sure to verify it.

The tongue helps to keep the foot securely in the boot while allowing enough flexibility to support the needed range of ankle flexion. Lace bite is a big problem in hockey skating, and the tongue plays a major role in it. With that said, only the high-end boots come with the nicer tongues, and for the majority of skaters, dealing with lace bite becomes inevitable. Fortunately, simple undersocks with the gel pads like this product are cheap and very effective.

Laces: There are 2 types of laces – unwaxed and waxed. Until your kid fully adapts to the skates, stick with the unwaxed – those stretch when they get wet, making it a little easier for the expanding hot feet. In time you may try switching to the waxed, those are easier to lock, but they won’t stretch. You’ll need to experiment with the slightly tighter and looser laces until you figure out the optimum.

3. Blade Holders and Blades (Runners)

Steel (a part that comes in contact with the ice):

Stainless steel is a standard. Works great. Other types of steel are available from the original and second source manufacturers, but it’s hard to justify a need for steel upgrade for a beginner or an infrequent player. No bang for your buck.

Holders (a part that holds the steel runner): There will be slight design differences from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the two main groupings are the holders that allow the runners to exchange and not exchange. While buying non-exchangeable blades may seem like a waste, there is virtually no chance for learn to skate kids to reach the end of life of the steel on one pair – they will grow out of size long before the steel runs out.

With that, pro level holders that allow steel exchanges are a nice marketing option, that probably won’t ever be exercised on your kids’ skates.

4. Sharpening and Profiling (a geeky part)

Hockey blades are hollowed at the bottom and curvy (have a round shape) to allow quick turns and changing directions. This section covers the basics of blade configuration.

The Tadius of Hollow: This is the “notch” at the bottom of your skate steel, running through its entire length. The lower the radius the higher the edges of the “notch”, allowing a player to dig more into the ice. The first picture below shows the exaggerated cross-section of the blades with different hollows just to illustrate the concept. The second picture is to scale, and you can see only a subtle difference in the height of the edges, especially between the close radius settings.


radius of hollow
to-scale radius of hollow

½” radius is an accepted modern mid-point, a safe setting to begin with. Future choices are down to the player’s preference, he/she will need to experiment a little bit. No right and wrong here.

Blade Profile: Profile characterizes the blade curvature. Or how much of a blade length will be in contact with the ice, when a player is in a perfectly neutral stance – not leaning forwards or backward. The profile is expressed as a radius of a circle, that if cut into the slices 6-10” long, would have an exact shape of youth or an adult skate blade; it’s measured in feet.

Few popular profiles for the skaters are 9, 10, 12 and 13 ft. Goalie skates are almost flat, profiled to 25 ft. There are also multi-radius profiles, usually curvy in the front part and flatter at the back of the blade. In theory, the flatter the curve, the more stable the skate, but at the expense of agility and maneuverability.

Additional parameters are addressed by profiling, which is a skate pitch or a pivot point. It dictates the direction (forwards or backwards) in which your balance is affected when standing on the skates. For obvious reasons, a neutral pitch (not leaning forwards or backwards) is recommended for both beginners and intermediate skaters. Experts may have different considerations.

Is profiling an absolute must? No, just avoid the extremely short (<8) or long (>13) profile radius. Consider this:

  • New blades come pre-profiled to 9 or 10 ft radius from the manufacturer and are neutrally pitched.
  • Profiling provides marginal gains, achievable only at advanced and expert levels. Learners won’t feel the difference.
  • Even if a player is skilled enough to notice the differences, there’s no other way to know the optimal profile for a particular player, without trying a few options. “Recommended” profiles won’t necessarily work for a specific stance and skating style.

To get an additional perspective, watch a few videos of the hockey hall-of-famer, like Bobby Orr, skating in the soft leather boots and using the unknown profiles. Pretty amazing.

If you have some extra cash on hand and feel adventurous – go ahead and try some profiles. No harm for sure.


This is a process of resetting a depth (radius) of hollow and cleaning/deburring the edges.

There are two basic types of sharpening machines:

Manual: stationary and a fairly large machine, requires a skilled operator for consistent sharpening.

Semi-automatic: very compact and portable compared to the manual sharpener. Designed for the repeatable operation without operator intervention.

Both types need to be properly calibrated to achieve even edges and can output different Radius of Hollow – make sure to specify your preferred one.

Try a sharpening shop in your area, and if something doesn’t feel right, give them a chance to correct it for you. Mistakes happen and most of the sharpeners are proud of their craft and will make sure you’re satisfied.

Used Skates

Younger kids don’t put on a lot of stress on their skates and are out of them too fast, so typically those skates are in good enough condition to serve 3-4 children.

Bring a knowledgeable person with you and use the same fit and stiffness criteria when shopping for used pairs as if you were buying a new one. Heat moldable boots will have an advantage here, since they can be re-baked for a new skater.

Look for the significant boot (inside and outside), blade holder (incl. the rivets) and blade steel damages – minor scratches and chaffing are the normal wear and tear, but the deep scars, torn stitches, and loss of integrity or missing material are a problem. Make sure the lace eyelets are well preserved.

If the blades look worn-out, allow a lot of sharpening cycles, look in the possibilities and of replacement – it might be more economical to buy a new pair.

The Most Important key point:

There’s no reason to hesitate too long when buying a perfect first pair of skates. As soon as you’ve found the right fit within your target budget – go for it.

Everybody is awkward on the ice at the beginning and having cheap or expensive skates won’t make a difference.

Want your kid to improve as fast as possible? Stop fiddling with the skates (and sticks) and invest in professional instruction.

No shortcuts here, expertise takes time, but kids learn fast with the right coaching…and then the exciting part starts!