At What Age Should Kids Start Hockey?

As parents, you want to set your kids up for success. One of the best ways is by teaching them a sport and encouraging physical activity at an early age. Hockey is one of the best sports to teach your child as it focuses on team building, coordination, and discipline. It also teaches goal-setting skills while providing plenty of exercise in a fun environment. 

At what age should kids start hockey? The answer might surprise you because it’s never too young! In fact, most professional hockey players started playing ice hockey when they were 3 years old or younger.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to keep your kids active and introduce something new into their lives – consider signing them up for hockey lessons now! 

If you are interested in learning more about what hockey is all about and what age kids should start playing the game, continue reading!

What is the best age to start hockey?

Most children can start ice skating around the age of 2 or 3. However, some might be ready as young as 18 months! Before they start, make sure to have hockey skates that fit your child’s feet properly if you choose to buy them yourself.

You can also find high-quality skate rental programs at most rinks in your area, which will encourage your child to continue playing the sport for years to come. 

While there are no restrictions on what age is the best for starting hockey, some of the best ages to start are:

2 years old (old enough to walk and then advance into ice skating)

4 years old ​(Old enough to skate without any aids. Consider ice skates and skating lessons for this age group.)

5 years old (Ready to learn hockey stick skills and play a non-contact game that focuses on skill development)

6 years old or older (Prepare your child for joining a hockey league to play organized hockey with other kids their own age that focus on learning systems and playing team vs. team games)

Whether it’s ice or roller hockey, your toddler, preschooler, and elementary-aged child will excel physically while having fun and making memories! While they might be a little sore after their first practice, the overall experience will leave them wanting to sign up for more lessons.

At What Age Should Kids Start Hockey - two kids learning to play ice hockey

Is it safe for four years old to play hockey?

When you sign up for your four-year-old’s first hockey lesson, they will be ready to start learning how to skate with minimal help. First, instructors will teach them the basics of what they need to know to keep themselves and other players safe while exercising on the ice.

The main focus, at this age, will be on skating skills, hockey skills and stick handling.

Age restrictions are less strict when it comes down to what age kids can participate in a non-contact recreational hockey league that focuses on skill development and fun interaction with friends instead of competing against their peers.

In these leagues, most children are between 5 and 8 years old, so regardless if your child is playing or watching, it’s not unusual for there not to be any younger participants involved.

Benefits of Teaching Hockey to Kids at a Young Age

While learning how to play hockey might not seem important for your toddler or preschooler, it will help them develop vital skills that they will need as they get older. For example:

Self-control – One of the most important skills needed for being successful in life is self-control. Teaching your child how to effectively control their body and stick while engaged in physical activity teaches them discipline and perseverance. 

Coordination – Coordination is a critical skill for success across the board regarding everyday activities and interactions with others. Your child will master these skills while growing their hand-eye coordination and physical awareness. 

Strength – The sport of hockey requires a lot of upper body strength to propel your body forward, make sharp cuts, and effectively handle the puck and stick while on the ice. Hockey is also a full-body sport that challenges core stability and builds functional strength throughout the legs, arms, back, and chest. 

Teamwork – Team camaraderie is what drives winning teams to be successful year after year. Organized sports, such as hockey, teaches skills such as communication between teammates, which are necessary for success in any game or situation, whether in school projects or playing with friends outside.

How do I get my kid into hockey?

Getting involved in organized hockey at a young age will give your child the opportunity to develop what they need to succeed with natural talent.

One of the best ways to introduce your child to hockey is by signing them up for a lesson with an instructor. With your child’s first class, instructors will teach what they need to know to get on the ice and skate by themselves.

If you want your child to learn how to play hockey right away, ask around at local rinks or online to see what programs are available in your area. You can find local clubs and join a team or find private lessons with few searches on the internet.

These programs typically run throughout the winter months, and most kids love the experience of joining a team that gets together every week for fun games!

Young children playing ice hockey for a team

At what age do hockey players develop?

Three years of age is typically the earliest that most kids will be ready to learn to skate when they start playing hockey. Once they master what they need to know on the ice, your child can begin joining a team for fun games with other players their own age.

By the time your child is eight years old, they will be fully developed and ready to start competing as a hockey player against their peers.

What Can I Expect From Ice Hockey?

Ice hockey is a full-body sport that requires strength, endurance, speed, and quick thinking skills. As a hockey parent, your child will be challenged to develop what they need to stay safe on the ice while mimicking what professional players do during games.

Depending on what league your child decides to join for their first experience with competitive hockey, they can expect:

Practice once or twice a week – Focus will be mostly on skating drills and playing fun games for skill development. 

Games every weekend – Players have equal time playing offense and defense; the focus is on teamwork.

Coaches who care about each participant’s performance – Classes are individualized based on what you want your kid practicing at home 

Special events such as tournaments, parties, and awards – These encourage your child to work hard and have fun learning what’s needed for hockey

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hockey Dangerous?

As with any sport, hockey has a risk of injury. Therefore, it’s important to provide your child with the right hockey gear and equipment to ensure their safety playing hockey.

What is Full-Contact Hockey?

Full-contact hockey is exactly what it sounds like – full contact! Players have permission to touch one another in an attempt to steal the puck or block shots, along with other strategies that teams use to win games.

How will my child’s skills develop from playing hockey?

Playing hockey is what your child needs to improve their body control, reflexes, reaction time, and speed on the ice. They’ll also have the chance to strengthen what they need to perform well while keeping a cool head during intense situations while focusing on their teammates.

Is Hockey Expensive?

Hockey can require what you want your child to get what they need out of it. So whether you choose to purchase what’s needed for practices and games or go with what you have at home, your kid can still be a successful player while keeping what they already own and learn how to make do with what they have on hand.

What Can I Do To Protect My Child While Playing Hockey?

The best way you can protect your child when they play is by teaching what needs to be practiced at home so they can be prepared for what’s coming out on the ice. This will include learning proper equipment care and being able to perform what’s needed to stickhandle, skate, and shoot what they need.

Is There Body Checking in Kids Hockey?

Body checking is what your child needs to be fully developed to understand what’s needed for them to keep what they have on hand while learning what’s necessary so they can defend themselves with proper body positioning, quick reactions, and what their arms and legs need to do when checking another player.


Hockey is what your child needs to learn what’s needed when they play hockey. It requires a lot of strength, speed, agility, and quick thinking skills that teach what’s necessary while keeping safe on the ice.

Once you make sure your kid has what they need to play hockey, then you can start looking for a local league where they can begin playing! If you have any questions about what kids need to know before playing hockey, please leave them in the comments below!

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