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I have a daughter (6) whose best friend plays hockey, and now she's frequently asking us to let her play hockey too. On one hand, I want to provide my child the opportunity to explore this further -- it might be something she loves or is even good at. On the other hand, I did a brief amount of research and it seems a bit pricey to get into (i.e. purchasing all the gear) when we're not even sure if she'll stick with it.

Are there ways to help a child test the waters with hockey and see if they like it first (before the major investment)? Or is this something where we'll just have make the investment and hope for the best?

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  • Is the friend part of some club? Are they roughly the same size?
    – AsheraH
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 10:53
  • @AsheraH Size? No. My daughter is a giant and her friend is the complete opposite. Club? I don't know, but I can look into it.
    – Gadianton
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 11:04

2 Answers 2

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Around here, youth sports tend to be organized around sports clubs (organizations dedicated to providing facilities to participate in one or more sports).

As it is well known that children don't really know if they like something until they have tried it and because in many sports the gear you need can get expensive and needs to be appropriately sized for the athlete, sports clubs can cater for this in several ways:

  • they allow people to try the sport without having to do any investment (like trying it for three weeks before you are even asked to join the club).
  • they have some spare gear for those who still in the try-out period
  • they organize or have knowledge of a market for second-hand gear

So, if your child is interested in trying out a sport, find out what club(s) organize it and check what provisions they offer for trying out the sport.

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    The OP stated they are unfamiliar with the club aspect. Do you have any suggestions for them if there is no club? I have not heard of this either in this country. Hopefully (if you don't) someone familiar with not-club-centered sports for kids will answer. Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 17:56
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    I am not familiar with a no-club situation, so I can't offer any help for that case. I would also welcome a second answer from that perspective. Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 10:55
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While you did not specify the region where you live the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League (NHL) sponsors a program called "Learn to Play" which states:

Learn to Play is a program that provides a unique opportunity for families to join the hockey community and for participants to develop fundamental skills to help them succeed both on and off the ice. Created jointly by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL). Learn to Play’s goal is to inspire youth and welcome more families into the hockey community.

Designed for first-time players between the ages of 4-9 years old.

The program is partnered with 25 NHL teams based by location and while there is a small fee to sign up the program offers:

Approximately 4-8 weeks of on ice instruction (one lesson per week).

Provides all participants with head to toe equipment that is yours to keep upon completion of the program.

Assuming that your child knows how to skate this would be a perfect opportunity to have them test out the sport in a safe and controlled way with all the necessary equipment at nominal cost.

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