question about HNA

Discussion in 'The Rink' started by piper, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. piper

    piper Registered User

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    I am female and in my early 40's and I want to learn to play hockey. Ok, stop laughing! But seriously, I've always wanted to play but when I was a kid, girls weren't allowed to (at least not where I'm from). I heard about a league called HNA that plays not too far from where I live. I called them and they said they encourage women to play, but I'm wondering if any of you have played in the NJ league and what your opinion of it is. I'd be in the beginner league so have you ever seen any women playing and if so, is it a supportive environment? Or are there a lot of goons/meatheads? I'm just looking to have some fun, get some exercise and learn more about a sport that I've always wanted to play before I get too old to give it a try. There are women's leagues, but they are for more experienced players. I plan to join one of those when I get good enough.
     
  2. dannythekid

    dannythekid Registered User

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    I don't know what the NJ Hockey scene is like, but I would be really surprised if they put men and women on the ice together for a game. I have yet to see that outside of just rec league or roller hockey play, but it could be the same for ice, who knows.

    As far as the environment, I don't think it would be any different from the guys leagues... most people I've run into are super supportive of the people on the ice just learning, as it's better to be out there and stink it up than not be out playing at all. Just get out and have fun and don't worry about what people are thinking, no one was able to just step out onto the ice and be a superstar.
     
  3. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    Are their no beginner women's leagues in your area? My mom played in a beginner women's league when I was younger and she absolutely loved it. If it's a true beginner men's league that should be OK too, but make sure it's actually full of beginners and not just "low level" (i.e. ex house league) players, because those guys would likely still have quite a bit of experience compared to you. Also, you'll have to make sure there's somewhere else to change, a spare change room or some such thing.

    Also, if rinks near you have stick and puck sessions those are a great way to quickly improve your skating, shooting, puck handling etc. in a no pressure environment.
     
  4. JLHockeyKnight

    JLHockeyKnight IMA Real American

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    I play in the Central/North Jersey area, so feel free to ask away and I'll try to help.

    For the record, I started inline hockey at age 19 and ice at age 21, so I know what it's like to not start as a kid. Beginner leagues or most teams in general are very supportive, and I've never seen anyone really bash someone for trying to learn. There are always a few meatheads, but even they don't usually cause any problems.

    I've played with and against women who were playing in Mens leagues. Some had about the same experience, others clearly had more. I've never had a problem with them, nor have I really seen any. I've had one or two times where I've bumped them to the ice, but I never barrel through anyone and it was the usual incidental contact. If a guy had been there, the same thing would have happened. I know people who "hold up" on women because they're women. I usually don't, as they're wearing a suit of pads, and once you fall down the first time you realize it doesn't hurt, so it's not a big deal (and if anyone has a problem with that, tough. Women fought for and gained equal rights and have had them for decades now. They're not sissies, they're HOCKEY PLAYERS). I obviously don't try to barrel through anyone unless they have it coming their way (aka meatheads, as you put it). I know generally women's leagues tend to be small. If you find a place that has a good one I recommend joining it. But don't throw the idea of joining a beginners men's league out either. Most rinks that know a team has a women will supply them with their own locker room too.
     
  5. JLHockeyKnight

    JLHockeyKnight IMA Real American

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    I highly recommend that as well.
     
  6. piper

    piper Registered User

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    I live in the same area. Where do you play?

    I've been looking for a women's rec league but have not found any. There is a league called the MAWHL but it seems to be for experienced players, not beginners. I live near the Union Sports Arena and the one in Woodbridge. They both have leagues but seem to be for men. I have to look into it more. HNA is farther from me, but I thought since it's for beginners it might be a good idea.
     
  7. adaminnj

    adaminnj Leafs out = SPRING!

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    I have not played in the HNA at mennen arena but it looks like a good program and I posted a link to them in another thread
    http://www.hna.com/leagues/custom_page.cfm?leagueID=0&clientID=2296&pageID=570

    I'm sure that it will suit your needs to start.
    I started to play in my 40s so it's not so laughable but woman are goons especially in the corners! :) I get roughed up in the corners when I play with woman at shinny. Men tend to be gentle with woman especially with beginners. In most adult beginner leagues any contact will happen from skating with your or their head down.

    Just do it! it is the most fun you will have ever if you really want to learn.
    search through this site and look at all the stories about (Older) beginners who get on the ice with a stick and a puck for the first time and are hooked.

    I started 3 years ago and I improve every time I get out there and I'll be moving back to Jersey (Morris county) eventually, and I hope to be pined on the boards by you by then. (I'm telling you woman are rough on the boards and in the corners) The HNA looks like they have the stuff together for safety and hockey education from what they have posted on there website.
    Aspin Ice has some leagues but I don't get the same feeling from my contact with them as I do from the HNA site.

    I played net in a "coed" beginner league over the summer here in Canada and there where a few guys who played a long time ago and just wanted to tune up for the next beer league season and as hard as they where on me (OUCH) They where easy on the beginner men and all the woman.

    Have you met Beth? she has a thread she started and might be able to help you a bit.
    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=831857

    Good lady who is just starting her hockey career.
     
  8. Skraut

    Skraut Registered User

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    I play in the Cleveland HNA league. I was an absolute beginner last season, and into our 2nd season now.

    Yes, teams are co-ed, yes there's no issue with women beginners.

    The nice thing about HNA is that you all start together as a team going to 8 weeks of "Training Camp" where they help you work on your fundamentals, where to be on the ice etc. In Cleveland this training camp was run by Jock Callander, it was a little intimidating learning from someone with his name on the Stanley Cup, but Jock really spent a lot of time with each of us, helping us with everything from how to skate backwards to how to take a wrist shot.

    As I mentioned, the best part is that you all start at the same time, you form a team that bonds really well. The worst part is that you all start at the same time. Meaning your team is facing off against the team that was new the previous year, and the team that was new 2 years ago etc. Every minute on the ice is invaluable and the longer you've played together as a team the better you are. As I mentioned it's my team's first full year, and we consider a "win" when we lose by less than 10 goals. It's something that every team told us would happen, and they've all gone through it. We see ourselves getting better with each game, and eventually will be closer to the skill levels of other teams.

    Again, as far as women go, we had one lady on our beginning team at training camp, who played the scrimmages that first season with us. She was however the wife of another player on another team, and so after she had the basics of the game down, left to play with them. We have since added another woman to the team, who's a bit of a ringer, but we need all the help we can get ;)

    Rinks have always been accommodating, providing a separate changing room for the women. Most teams in our league have one if not more on the team.

    Having played in HNA, and a summer league at a the local rink, I MUCH prefer HNA. It's a bit more expensive, and the fact that they keep all the stats encourages teams to run up the score a bit, but there is a level of professionalism, and sportsmanship that I didn't find in the house league. When we were absolute beginners fresh out of camp, and playing scrimmages against other teams, they'd help us out "Hey I'm wide open, somebody should be covering me!" Even now in our "regular" games there's guys that'll offer pointers after the handshake. When battling somebody in front of the net, I go down, and the first thing the opponent will ask is "are you OK?" We had a guy in our last game go into the boards awkwardly, the other team's bench cleared almost as fast as ours as we went to check if he was ok.

    I've gone on and on a lot more than I thought I would, feel free to ask me any other questions.

    One final suggestion, I took a lot of figure skating classes at my local rink and they helped me immensely, I recommend them to everyone starting out.
     
  9. beth

    beth Registered User

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    Yay! Piper! You're in the same boat as me! Come join the noob thread!
    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=831857

    That HNA beginners league sounds great, and you should totally go for it. We have something similar here in the coed league, but I missed out on the lesson part in the fall, but might try out the next one. I'm looking to join the women's league here soon, though. You might want to ask your local women's league what the skill level is like. The one here has a mix of experienced players with beginners, and they balance the teams out. If you ask, you might find that your womens league welcomes beginners, so don't be shy. The women's league here is so welcoming, and I'd imagine it would be the same there. Let us know how it goes!!
     
  10. piper

    piper Registered User

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    Wow, everyone here is so helpful and supportive! Beth, I will definitely join the noob thread. It's good to know I'm not the only one crazy enough to give this a try. :handclap:

    I e-mailed the two women's teams closest to me. I heard back from one that told me to take a learn to skate class first and then think about joining a league. Haven't heard back from the other one yet, but they both play in the MAHWL league that seems to be almost like a semi-pro league, so that's not an option for me at this point.

    I'm from upstate NY originally where hockey is a main sport and I learned to skate in my backyard on figure skates. That was many years ago though so I'm sure I've forgotten how to skate. I will look into taking a skating class while I'm on vacation next week. The HNA league doesn't start until late January so I have some time to get ready.

    Skraut, thanks for the info on the HNA. It sounds like a good league. It's been around for years so it must have a good reputation. It must have been amazing learning from an ex-pro!
     
  11. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    FWIW here in Minny we have a lot of rec leagues and usually women are just one of the guys. We've had several on our team on the past and right now, both gay and straight, doesn't make a difference so long as they're good players and get along with everyone. Only thing I know about the women's leagues is quite a few of the players are gay, not sure if that makes a difference for women or not (a lot of guys I know would be uncomfortable in a room full of gay guys).

    Greatest thing about hockey, especially in lower levels, is that everyone's really supportive and you end up making a ton of friends.
     
  12. beth

    beth Registered User

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    Piper, is this the league? Looks like they have a beginner division, but I guess you'd need to find a team at that level to join.
    http://www.mawhl.org/join.html

    Jarick, it doesn't make a difference. :) And I might be totally generalizing here, but all the gay women I know are some of the most hilarious and outgoing people ever, and I noticed those same fun personalities in the women's league. I totally want to party with these girls, gay or straight.
     
  13. piper

    piper Registered User

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    Beth, Yes, that's the league. Even the lowest level requires that you know how to play and skate at a decent level so it doesn't seem like it's for beginners. Plus, they travel to neighboring states which isn't something I have time for right now.

    Jarick, I've been playing sports forever and, yes, there are a fair number of lesbians who play sports. There are also a few gay men where I work, but who cares? I feel whatever people do in their private time is up to them and as long as they don't bother me about it, it's fine. I was actually thinking that playing co-ed hockey would be a good way to meet men! My only concern playing in a co-ed league is safety. I play soccer and I would never think of playing against men, so that does concern me a bit.
     
  14. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    Yeah it doesn't bother me...I only mention it because probably only a few percent of men's rec leaguers are gay but the percentage in the women's league is much higher. It also seems like most of the women I've played with have kids who play hockey. Or maybe they just like to talk a lot more than the guys :D
     
  15. Pierre Gotye

    Pierre Gotye Registered User

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    I play on a co-ed team, even though the Men in our league greatly outnumber the women. Like 17:1.

    Nothing to shy down on, we even have one on our team. My past team had a goalie and defenseman.

    We all had to start somewhere, and yes I spent a few seasons in I league before graduating to D2 and then into D league.

    Learn what you can. Many posters on here have good tips, so don't shy about asking questions.

    The best way to get better on your skating, positioning and stickwork is to get out on the ice as much as you can. Go to drop-ins, as much as you can. Maybe even some off-ice things can help you.

    I have found I learn quicker by playing against players who are better than me, but some people seem to think they do better by playing against lower level talent(and I have never seen that).

    But at any rate, welcome to the game, it's addicting and a ton of fun! Hockey can be a blackhole for your bank account though!

    The culture of Hockey is truly unique and unlike any other major sport. You will meet and greet lots of people in your tenure, and if you progress enough be asked to sub for other teams, which is a benefit.
     
  16. shoeshine boy

    shoeshine boy Registered User

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    HNA is a GREAT place to start. my gf started playing there when she still lived in Boston and she was about as beginner as you can get. that was in 1998 and now she's gotten so good that people ask her if she played in college!
    and Jarick is right to a point. you probably have a higher percentage of lesbians among female hockey players than you do gay men among male hockey players but the percentages overall are probably still pretty close to society at-large.
    on my women's team (yes, despite the screen name I am female) we have about 40-50 people and only about 5 or 6 of us are gay. there have been past years where there were more and there have also been years when we had less.
     
  17. adaminnj

    adaminnj Leafs out = SPRING!

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    Happy people are fine by me, as long as they want to play hockey! ;) Especially if they are goalies. :)
     
  18. JLHockeyKnight

    JLHockeyKnight IMA Real American

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    I've played with women @ Protec in Somerset, my mind doesn't serve me as to the other place I played with them (I think Woodbridge) but I play at Aspen Ice at Randolph now, and I see young girls all the time (under 16). I don't think they have a women's league, but I'm sure they'd be fine with having a woman in the men's leagues.

    And for the record, I've always thought Woodbridge's ice sucked...pretty badly. Some of the worst ice I've ever skated on.

    Never really got into HNA though. Don't like having to play at different rinks personally, and outside of an organized national championship, I'd rather just play in a rink league. All personal preference though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  19. JLHockeyKnight

    JLHockeyKnight IMA Real American

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  20. piper

    piper Registered User

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    I've heard the Woodbridge ice sucks. I go roller skating there but I've never tried the ice personally. I might check it out next week.

    About HNA: I heard about that beginner class they have coming up. The beginner classes are held at Mennen in Morristown so it doesn't move around to different rinks. I figure that once I get through that class, I'd play somewhere closer to me. Some of the rinks they play at are too far and their rink times are too late. Playing at 11:00pm on a weeknight isn't going to work. Randolph is too far for me and so is Somerset. The closest rinks to me are Woodbridge and Union. I plan to check out Union today because they have skating classes. Thanks for the tips!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  21. JLHockeyKnight

    JLHockeyKnight IMA Real American

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    I haven't played at Union but my friend said it's a good rink, he's shown up there a few times for open hockey. I honestly felt like I struggled at Woodbridge because of their horrible ice. I would recommend Union. At Woodbridge, you also get a lot of Long Island goons that show up just to get into fights. It's funny at first but gets annoying after a while. I don't know if Union has this issue, but I do know Woodbridge has those from experience.
     
  22. adaminnj

    adaminnj Leafs out = SPRING!

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    piper, and beth,

    I was watching I robot with my son and wife today on Space (the Canadian SiFi channel) and there was an add by the I think it was hockey canada that encouraged older woman to start playing hockey.

    All the woman in the ad where beginners, and between the ages of 35, and 50 digging playing hockey.

    I'll see if I can find the ad on line and post it for you.

    I'm posting this in both strings, this and the other noob.

    As well I'm trying to get my wife to take an interest in playing. She watches with me al the time.
     
  23. Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter Avs/Leafs fan

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    Sorry, can't really answer your question, just wanted to say their's nothing funny about that! Seriously, I'm 20 and have been playing ice 2-3 years and went to a begginer's only skate-n-shoot type deal, and their was a lady late 30's early 40's who completely out classed me in every aspect of the game. Luckily, she was on my team and was incredibly nice and literally cheered every time I touched the puck. I felt like a 12 year old, but felt pretty good about myself too hahaha. Don't let anything stop you from learning this amazing game we all love. There's always time to learn. Hahaha same place had a 70 something year old just learning to skate. Never too late
     

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