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Learn to Play Hockey


The MinorHawks Learn to Play Hockey program is made possible by a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks Organization, the Springfield Park District and the Springfield Youth Hockey Association. Together, the organizations offer a variety of fun and affordable recreational hockey programs for kids of all ages and abilities!

The 'Learn to Play Hockey' program is for boys and girls alike, ages 3-15, and is the beginner, feeder program for all other hockey programs. The program aims to provide new players with skills essential to playing ice hockey. These include; skating, stick handling, passing, and shooting.

The program is divided into two sections, Learn to Play 1 (beginners) and Learn to Play 2 (advanced beginners). Generally speaking, most participants must master the basic skills learned in the LTP 1 class, before moving on the second class.

The program is for new players, and does not require any previous skating ability. The program is eight weeks in length, and equipment is available for rent.

Upcoming Dates

The next session begins:  August 7th!

General Info:

This session runs on Saturdays from August 7 - TBD:

  • Learn to Play 1:  TBD
  • Learn to Play 2:  TBD 


Full equipment is needed, and is available for loan (see equipment fitting dates below).

Equipment can be obtained with a $125 deposit ($100 refund upon return). Players are free to keep the equipment as long as they are enrolled in a hockey program, or planing to enroll (ie, you don't need to return it between sessions).  Oftentimes, a starter stick is provided to players at no cost depending on availability.

Click HERE for information about hockey equipment, and how to dress for hockey.

Equipment Fitting Dates

Representatives will be at Nelson Center on the following dates for equipment fittings:

  • TBD

Cost & Registration

Cost for Park District Residents: $78
Cost for Non-Residents: $98

To register, complete the following steps:

  1. USA Hockey Registration (state affiliation is Missouri)
  2. Springfield Park District's online registration portal
    • Learn to Play 1:  Activity # (coming soon)
    • Learn to Play 2:  Activity # (coming soon)

Need More Information?


Jacki Patterson

SYHA VP - Developmental Hockey Programs

Phone: 217-899-3338

Marty Strieker

Nelson Center Ice Rinks

Phone: 217-753-2800 x2003

Nelson Center Ice Rinks

1601 North 5th Street

Phone: 217-753-2800

Frequently Asked Questions...

Q: When is the 'Learn to Play Hockey' Program offered?

The program is typically offered on a quarterly basis with spring, summer, fall, and winter sessions. During the peak sessions of fall and winter, the program is offered on a weekday evening and weekend morning, with parents choosing one or the other.

Each class will be broken into two 45 minute segments 'Learn to Play Hockey 1' (beginners) and 'Learn to Play Hockey 2' (advanced beginners). Your player attends one 45 minute segment with the 'Learn to Play 1' class scheduled first.

Q: How do I obtain equipment?

Full equipment is needed, and is available for loan by contacting Jacki Patterson, Vice President of Developmental Programs. Equipment can be obtained with a $125 refundable deposit (payable to SYHA). Players are free to keep the equipment as long as they are enrolled in a developmental program, or plan to enroll in a program (ie, you don't need to return it between sessions).

Q: What clothing should my player wear?

Players should wear comfortable clothing that provides a level of warmth. Sweat pants or athletic track-style pants are desirable and can be worn over shin pads in the absence of hockey socks. Further, a long sleeve tee shirt makes a great base layer under pads and jerseys. It's never a bad idea to bring a light-weight jacket or sweat shirt, as well! Finally, socks should be of medium thickness, and cover the upper ankle and extend past the foot to the leg. Please note, the Springfield Youth Hockey Association will provide a mesh practice jersey.

Q: What is the difference between LTP1 & LTP2?

Learn to Play 1 focuses on the skills essential for hockey, such as ice skating skills and technique. Some stick play will be included. Learn to Play 2 incorporates and expands on the skills gained through Learn to Play 1, and concentrates on the basic hockey skills of skating, carrying the puck, shooting, and passing. Once a beginner hockey player has a level of proficiency in the latter, he or she will be encouraged to move on to the Lower House League Developmental Program, for play.

Q: Is the sport of hockey safe for my child?

Yes. Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that ice hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth hockey is a different game than the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey places a stronger emphasis on sportsmanship and friendly competition. Contact is not allowed prior to the Peewee level (age 11 & 12). After Peewees, checking is allowed but NO Fighting.

Q: What will it cost for my child to play hockey?

There are programs and opportunities to participate that do not have to be expensive. Local, recreational hockey leagues such as 'House League Hockey' offer players an attractive, inexpensive opportunity for play.

Q: What is the commitment level that will be required for my child to play hockey?

Each neighborhood rink or local youth hockey association has different commitment levels for participation. House programs will be focused on skill development while keeping things fun on a limited commitment basis. Travel programs are more competitive and require more of a time commitment.

As part of the American Development Model, USA Hockey recommends younger players limit their ice time while maximizing fun and developing their overall athletic skills.

Fun. Fair Play. Competition. The Game Starts Here. SYHA, Since 1961.