Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:15 PM
This turned into a fun little topic!
Me, I've been playing street hockey since I was about 10, always goalie. Since I really didn't have ice hockey in high school or college, I never made the jump but I always kept up in dek leauges and pick up games. Recently, however, I finally took lessons to learn how to skate for goalie. Started with the generic group learning sessions at the Ice House and then moved on to private lessons with a goalie coach at Chelsea Piers, my thinking being that I might as well learn goalie skating as it's entirely different than regular skating. Not a bad move, but I quickly realized that I needed to get great on skates before even attempting the goalie position, so after three months or so, I stopped the lessons. So, I suppose the end result is I can skate pretty well but not well enough to play goal...yet.
As for dek hockey, I currently play in a very organized dek leauge in NYC called BTSH. They have twenty teams, four divsions, playoffs, standings, a whole "media" who does team previews, game previews, etc...pretty legit! They play during the summer at Tompkins Square Park down in the East Village. If you ever find yourself in NYC during the summer and swing by Tompkins on Sunday between 1 and 5, you'll see us there playing. It's not pickup and you need to be on a team to play, but it's damn good fun. Plus, the focus is really more on the after game drinking than the game itself, so it's a great environment.
Back on task, I feel that hockey, more than any other sport, requires you play it to get it. Especially in Jersey, where you have so many other things competing for your attention, I think a fair amount of hockey fans have played the sport at least a pick up level, even if they've never skated. Being so far out of our national exposure, hockey is one of those things you have to experience to get, either by playing or being introduced to it.