The Unwritten Rules of Adult League Hockey

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The Unwritten Rules of Adult League Hockey
By; David Bailey

           For many hockey players, myself included, dreams of making the show faded after high school or possibly college. So the question is how do you stay in the game, without having to stay in shape? For most, the answer is men's league hockey. Anyone who has played the game long enough knows it can get pretty rough out there from time to time,even in a no hitting league. Although it is not as physical as competitive hockey, there is still a code that any mildly experienced player will follow. 

1. It is OK to be physical. But don't be "that guy" (every team usually has one) out there finishing checks and throwing elbows. Everyone will be fine with a bump into the boards or a push every now and then, we are playing hockey not basketball. However once "that guy" starts playing to his full potential, which usually only amounts to a lot of ankle bending,eyes closed hay makers, and wild slashing in front of the net, expect the game to turn into a hack show. In short play to win but don't be "that guy" there are no scouts there scoping out a future enforcer.

2. Don't complain to the Ref. If your gonna dish it out, you better be ready to take it right back. If your going out there planning on playing hard and making the other team notice you, whether you do it with trash talk or chops to the back of the legs. You better expect everything to come back around just as bad, if not worse. Don't be the Sidney Crosby of your league, and go crying to the official about a call he missed and taking every bump personally. No one on the ice will take you seriously including the officials, if every word out of your mouth is a complaint. Be a man, and unless your holding Lord Stanley's Cup over your head, there is no crying in hockey. 

3. Play until the whistle but respect the goalie. there is a fine line between digging for a garbage goal and aggravating the other team. A goaltender is a different breed of player, anyone crazy enough to voluntarily get hit with hockey pucks for 45-60 minutes at a time deserves a little respect. This means don't smack at the glove once the puck is covered, don't stop six inches from his face and snow him, and definitely don't run him. Doing one of these three things or any combination of them could very easily result in you laying on the ice looking at the ceiling.

4. Never start a fight in the handshake line. This rule seems like it should go without saying, yet it still happens. No doubt this is done by inexperienced players or someone with anger issues. When the game is over and the helmets come off is the most inappropriate time to pick a fight. During the game if your that angry, pick the guy you have been going at it with and go one on one. Nothing is worse than one idiot turning the hand shake line into an all out brawl. 

5. Do not ever be the 3rd man in. This could possibly be the most broken rule of adult league. However this is a written rule, and a penalty, but it is broken so much that it's definitely worth mentioning again for everyone to hopefully remember. If a fight does break out during a game which is somewhat rare but not impossible, let the two go at it and resolve their own problem. Even if your team mate is losing let the officials handle it, there is nothing that looks more cowardly than a sucker punch from behind. 

Keep these rules in mind before you're next game and everything should go about as smoothly as a hockey game can go. 

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