While a number of sports provide excellent cross-training for hockey during the off-season, hardcore players won’t be willing to give up their favorite game just because of the melting ice. For those who find traveling to the local rink may inconvenient or costly, street hockey can be a great way to continue development when temperature rises. Street hockey can also be a way to introduce a friend to the game of hockey before committing to purchasing a bag full of equipment. If you think you might want to get started, read on.
When selecting a location, choose an enclosed area with a smooth surface. Tennis courts and basketball courts surrounded by a chain link cage are ideal because the puck or ball will stay contained. Parking lots can work, but unless they have some kind of border, participants might find themselves retrieving the ball more often than they like.
Puck or Ball?
If the surface is smooth enough, a puck will work fine. The IDS pucks with eight small plastic pads on each side are my personal favorite and Franklin makes a decent look alike. They come in a variety of colors so try to choose one that contrasts your surface well.
Where a puck is not an option a ball may be substituted in its place. The advantage to using a ball is that it will be easy to move around on rougher surfaces, keeping the game fast-based. However, a ball landing on the cement will bounce whereas a puck will absorb most of the shock when hitting the ice. To reduce the rebound, manufactures produce hockey balls varying in hardness. A softer ball will perform better when it’s cold outside because the temperature causes it to contract slightly. Play with that same ball in the heat and it will expand, causing it to feel almost like wad of used tape. Balls are usually color coded to aid your quest in selecting the right one, so be sure choose a hockey ball with the correct temperature rating.
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