In the winter, it’s pretty easy to find ice. Here in Maryland, shallow ponds for skating and stick work are easy to find. But what about in the summer time? It’s nearly July and there’s absolutely no ice to be had. Here are some ideas on how to “get your hockey on” even during the dog days of summer.
Hit the Rinks
You’re local ice rink offers public skating, stick ‘n puck, and/or pickup hockey all week, every week. In fact, sessions for each are likely offered on multiple days and at varying times to compensate for even the most rigid schedules. They usually cost anywhere from $7 - $12 per person for 90-120 minutes of ice time depending on the activity. For those who can’t always get to the rink. There are a few other options...
Roll With It
Remember your Rollerblades? You know, those boots with wheels you bought about 15 years ago when roller hockey was all the rage? Well, dig them out of your garage and dust them off. Inline skating isn’t EXACTLY like ice skating, but it’s close enough. Find an empty tennis court somewhere and get moving. The skating alone is a great workout. You’ll quickly learn (or remember) inline skating is a lot more work than ice skating. The friction between your wheels and the surface is much greater than your blades against the ice - so it’ll kick your butt. But strengthening your stride can only help your game. As for skills, there are plenty of pucks and balls designed for all types of indoor and outdoor surfaces. Grab whatever works for you and run some stick and puck handling drills.
This is not only a smart option, but also a cheap one. There are good skating surfaces available everywhere for FREE. From tennis courts to parking lots, from basketball courts to community parks, there are tons of places to skate that won’t cost you a cent. All you have to do is look around.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks. For one, it gets HOT in the summer. Most hockey players tend to handle cold better than heat (duh, considering hockey is played on ice). So some days it may just be too hot to skate. Also, if the heat doesn’t get you, the erratic summer storms will. All it takes is one quick downpour to ruin a skating surface for several hours. So, then what?
Home Sweet Home
Many of us have a driveway, garage, basement or unfinished room we can use to knock a puck around. If you’re one of the lucky ones with this advantage, use it! You may not have a ton of room to skate. But you should be able to work on some stick action and possibly some shooting techniques. You can enhance this experience even more if you have some spare cash to invest in some excellent gear:
Shooting Pad - a flat, tiled surface designed to mimic the way a puck glides on ice. It’s an amazing tool for working on your shooting and puck handling skills in a very small space.
“Powerslide” slide board - a flat, plastic surface designed to mimic the way your skates glide on the ice - and it works beautifully. With the special booties provided on your feet, the Powerslide simulates a pretty authentic skating feel.
With both of these awesome tools, you can work on your stride, as well as lateral movement while puck handling, shooting while moving, and more - all from the comfort of your own home. HowToHockey.com has an excellent review of this product along with a demonstration video. Check it out here: http://howtohockey.com/hockey-slideboard-review-powerslide
What About You?
How do you work on your game when you’re not on the ice? Enlighten us with your comments below. Thanks!