Imagine. You’re with your best friends. You’re strapped into $1,500 worth of gear, balanced atop your custom-fit and newly sharpened hockey skates. The referee blows a whistle, and you may not know the rules, but you know which way to skate. Your teammate tees up the puck, you brace to cushion the pass, and – bam – you’re checked. Your helmet hits the ice. And you vow to never, ever try to play hockey again.
There’s a better way.
Hitting the ice unprepared is a great way to ruin a wonderful sport. Fortunately, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex has the solution in what it calls “The World’s Greatest Learn-to-Play-Hockey Program for Adults.” The Never Ever League is an in-depth 11-week co-ed program for first-time players ages 18 and older. With four seasonal sessions, it runs year-round. Instead of rushing unprepared players into competitive play, this league puts in the time to develop a strong foundation of basic skills. You don’t even have to have ice skating experience to participate!
Start where you are.
The Never Ever League maintains an “insanely positive, judgment-free atmosphere” so that adults can gain access to hockey over time. There’s no checking and no heckling. One of the first things you learn is how to fall and get back up. Once everyone has gotten comfortable being on skates, instruction moves on to stick handling, shooting, and passing, and then progresses to the fundamentals of the game. The 11-week session culminates, with much fanfare, in a friendly game known as the Never Ever Cup.
The Price of Happiness
Few things in life are more satisfying than learning a brand-new skill or achieving something you never thought possible. While hockey has the potential to bring joy to new players, the price of gear and ice time can be a significant barrier to attaining that experience. Cost is another way the Never Ever League makes hockey accessible. By offering rental of all the essential gear – including skates – for just $100, the Iceplex gives players the opportunity to decide whether they even enjoy the game before buying all that costly equipment. Session registration, which includes all your ice time, costs just $250. While this deal won’t make hockey the most affordable hobby under the sun, it just might be enough to keep you from saying you’ll “never ever” learn to play.