This is a guest post from AJ Lee of Pro Stock Hockey. Now, if you don’t know what Pro Stock Hockey is, let me tell you. It’s a kick ass website where you can go and get sticks, helmets, gloves, skates, or jerseys that are the exact same thing that the pros use.
“When you shop with Pro Stock Hockey, you’ll be buying 100% authentic NHL pro stock hockey purchased directly from an NHL locker room. Our staff makes sure every item that comes into our warehouse is 100% real NHL gear, made for NHL players.”
They have worked with How-to Hockey’s Jeremy Rupke in the past on his Coach Jeremy Youtube channel. If you saw the Beer Leaguers use Zdeno Chara’s stick video, that’s a stick from Pro Stock Hockey. Check it out below!
So with all of that being said, Beer League Heroes is happy to partner up with Pro Stock Hockey to give you some wicked grade A tips on how to improve your Beer League game. I know I’m going to need to up my game a bit this season and these tips will be put to use!
OH! One more thing, at the end of this post is a discount code that you can use at Pro Stock Hockey and the first ten people that use the code get the discount! So hurry up and get ‘er dun!
In general, you’ll find two types of hockey players at a beer league game: the kind who are happy to be there with their friends, and the kind who want to win the league championship like it’s the Stanley Cup itself. If you feel like your skills align more closely with the first type than the second, there are a few steps you can take to make your game better and your team better.
Skate, Skate, Skate
The most fundamental aspect of hockey is often the one in which the most players struggle: skating. Whether you’ve been on the ice since you were a tot or you just picked up the game a few years ago, everyone at every level can benefit from working on their skating skills.
Whenever you have the option to get a bit of ice to yourself, at a rink’s stick and puck or open skating session, lace your skates and practice. Straight-line skating helps you build burst power, great for getting to a loose puck before the competition, but working on agility will make it a lot easier to move the puck up the ice. Line up cones to skate around, or go from faceoff dot to faceoff dot. Work on your edgework and crossovers in the faceoff circle at center ice. The quicker your feet, the easier it is to change direction and free up space for you and your teammates.
Picking Your Shots
Half the time in beer league games, a player with the puck in the offensive zone will fling it at the net and pray for something good to happen. While a lot of hockey players will say there’s no such thing as a bad shot on goal, the more you can improve your shot and your decision-making, the less you’ll have to rely on luck to score a goal.
Start by practicing shooting from inside and outside the faceoff circles: When you’re in the faceoff circles (or the slot), try to go high and beat the goalie glove — or blocker-side. If you’re outside the circles, try shooting low to create a rebound for teammates crashing the net.
Practice concealing your shots, as well: Use tricks such as head fakes and kicks to get the goalie to go down, and try to shoot through defensemen’s legs so that they act as a screen. The less predictable you can be, the better your chances of finding the twine.
Rough-and-tumble hockey players may not be into the newest workout fads, but there’s a lot to be said for trying a new routine. Star center Ryan O’Reilly credits yoga for his success in the game, claiming that it’s not just the most beneficial training he does, but also the most difficult. There are plenty of unorthodox workouts out there that can work out muscle groups that might get overlooked in a normal gym session. Consider workouts, sports or even martial arts that force you to work toward exhaustion so that you build endurance for your next shift. NHL players aren’t lifting weights for a “beach body” over the summer. If you want to notice a difference on the ice, drop the curls and increase the squats.
By definition, a beer league is one in which players don’t care much for denying themselves unhealthy habits. In fact, the oldest joke in recreational hockey is that they only play the game so that they can drink afterward.
While the intense nutrition regimens of pro players aren’t necessary at the recreational league — such as Steven Stamkos’ famously strict offseason diet — simple changes can make it possible to get better performance on the ice. Complex carbs and lean proteins (and no beer) are best before games, and can give you the energy to play through three 20-minute periods. Drinks and pizza after the game can be tempting, but will only weigh you down the next time you get the puck.
But hey, you’ve made it this far – cheers!
Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Specialist at Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. Lee picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and hasn’t put it down yet.
Here’s your discount code: BLH10