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The Start of a Hockey Addiction

I fell in love the moment my skates touched the ice for the first time. Or maybe it was before that even… in the dressing room, as I clumsily put my gear on for the first time. Although, it took a few tries to figure out the order of what goes on first! Two and a half years later, hockey has become my entire world. I spend at least six hours on the ice every week, and some weeks up to 14 hours. I spend countless hours on top of that reading about hockey, watching videos, doing dryland training, stickhandling and shooting at home, and inline skating. I can’t get enough of it! I live and breathe this sport. And yes, I have a full time job too!

It was my mom who suggested that I try going to the beginner ladies shinny at our local rink. So, at 24 years old I decided to give it a shot. I haven’t looked back since! I can still remember clinging to the boards every time I got on and off the ice, or using the boards to stop. Looking back, I’ve come a long way since then, and looking ahead, I have a long way to go! That’s what I love about hockey, there is always so much more to learn, and so many areas to work on and improve no matter what skill level you are at.

I was absolutely addicted after those first few minutes of trying hockey at that shinny. I continued to go to the beginner shinny several days a week, and would get on the ice early to get some tips from the other players. The ladies were very supportive, and some would even stay out after shinny to teach me things! This student has now become the teacher and it makes me so happy to get out and run clinics and skills sessions for these same ladies whenever time allows! On top of the support from the shinny group, I began watching videos on YouTube and started going to stick and pucks or public skating to work on my skills! It’s pretty amazing what you can learn and how far you can take yourself using online resources! I’ve also met a lot of friends and coaches along the way through public skates and shinnys, and am so grateful to have had their help and coaching along the way.

Nine months ago, I decided to start an Instagram account (@never2late2learn.hky) to document my progress. I now have over 10,000 followers bringing an amazing amount of support! I’ve met so many coaches and friends on Instagram, a lot who have made the effort to meet and train with me in person—even though we live thousands of miles apart in some cases. Instagram has brought about so many opportunities to connect with amazing people, companies, and products for training. It has also been a great tool for getting feedback on my videos, and online advice on how to get better and what to work on next. It’s fantastic to hear so many different ideas and opinions from followers on a variety of topics. The advice comes from so many different people: professionals, elite coaches, junior players, adult recreational players and even minor hockey players!

Right now I play on a recreational team. Our women’s recreational league has several tiers, and I’m currently playing in the second tier. Many of my teammates have played college/university level hockey and I think all of them grew up playing the sport, so I’m doing my best to keep up with my short two and a half years of experience! I love being on a team where I am a weaker player—it challenges me to get better. My goal is to play Tier 1 hockey eventually!

If you’ve thought about trying hockey, I’d definitely say to GO FOR IT! It’s such an amazing sport and the hockey community is full of amazing people!

~Ali

 

Ali Stead

@Never2late2learn.hky

(Instagram, Facebook and Twitter)


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