Are You New To Hockey?

Below are some resources and answers to frequently asked questions to help you along your way.  If you're not able to find an answer to a question you have, please reach out to any of the board members.   Have a question regarding COVID and SYHA, check out our COVID Plan


Are you new to hockey?

What Equipment is needed?

SYHA has equipment for rent.  This helps keep your cost down.  You can also look at Play It Again Sports in Onalaska for reasonable priced items.  Your gear does not need to be new or top of the line to play hockey.


Selection of hockey equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors:
1) make certain the player is adequately protected and
2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills.

By carefully considering these two factors, your child will be more comfortable and will have more fun playing hockey.

A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost. Shop around for the best values and remember that you need not buy the most expensive equipment. Inquire about local equipment swaps and team discounts, but keep in mind the equipment must fit properly to provide the maximum protection.

Skates – Purchase skates that will fit your child today with no more than ½” allowed for growth. Seek adequate protection in the ankle, toe and instep areas, improperly fitted skates will hamper your child’s ability to skate.

Helmet – Must be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC). Must be sized at the time of purchase to fit properly. The chin strap must always be fastened.

Facemask – Must be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC).

Mouthpiece – A mouthpiece is required for all youth players through the Junior age classification.

Stick – Length should generally extend from the ice to the players chin (with skates on). Quality and price differ greatly, so the choice is yours.

Shin Pads – Check for proper lengths so they protect the knee and skin completely.

Supporter and Cup – Essential protective equipment for boys and girls.

Gloves – Check for proper fit with good finger and hand mobility.

Shoulder Pads – Adjust to fit the individual at the time of purchase. A fiber cap is extremely important in preventing shoulder separations and should extend to the tip of the shoulder.

Pants/Breezers – Held in proper position by suspenders. Pants provide protection for the lower spine, hips and thighs.

Elbow Pads – Properly fitted so they do not slide.

For goaltenders, special equipment is necessary such as gloves (catching and stick), chest and stomach protection, goalie skates (with protective shell), leg pads and shoulder and arm protectors. The goaltender’s equipment is especially important, so seek advice from a knowledgeable source.


How do I dress my skater?

Getting dressed is one of the tougher tasks for a skater.  Especially when it comes to tying skates, getting your jersey on and buckling your helmet. 


How do I dress my goalie?

Goalies have different equipment than skaters do.  Watch this video to see how to get your goalie dressed properly. 


Get your answers here!

What will hockey teach my player?

Its's more than a game.
Hockey develops skills on the ice that build a foundation for a lifetime. In addition to athletic prowess, hockey promotes confidence, pride, focus and responsibility. With an emphasis on fun, hockey is a game to be played and enjoyed for life.

Life-long Friendships.
Starting with the bonds created in the locker room to the relationships formed on ice, hockey creates life-long friendships. This camaraderie shared on and off the ice encourages teamwork and the natural development of leadership skills.

Setup for success.
From learning to balance school, responsibilities at home, time at the rink and playing with friends, hockey encourages kids to learn time management skills that will later serve them in all facets of life. Hockey’s unique source of physical fitness promotes healthy living.


Is hockey safe for my player?

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 14U level (age 13 & 14). At Bantams, checking is allowed but NO fighting.


What will it cost to play hockey?

When talking about the cost of hockey lets look at these few points:

  • Season length
  • Registration
  • Tournaments
  • Equipment

Most youth sports seasons are 5-7 weeks long.  SYHA's hockey season is 19-21 weeks long.   Most teams practice between 2 and 4 times per week and have between 30-40 games per season.  With the length of the season, players are able to take what they are learning and apply it week after week and not worry about the season being over before they start getting good at the sport. 

Looking at the larger picture, you get a season that is 3 to 4 times longer than regular youth sports.  This reduces the overall cost per practice to between $2 - $6. Here are some comparisons of other youth sports in Sparta:
  • Youth football: $2 - $4 per practice (3 per week)
  • Youth wrestling: $4 - $6 per practice  (2 per week)
  • Youth baseball: $5 - $8 per practice   (2 per week)
  • Youth gynmastics: $4 - $7 per practice  (2 per week)
  • Youth soccer: $5 - $8 per practice (2 per week)

SYHA has very competetive and reasonable registration prices.  Registration primarlly pays for ice time and referees.  Find out more about registration


When it comes to purchasing gear for your player, SYHA offers equipment rental for a $50 deposit.  Once the equipment is cleaned and returned your $50 is returned.  SYHA's equipment is available on a first come first serve basis. 

If you wish to purchase equipment, we suggest starting out at Play It Again in Onalaska as they have a great selection of used hockey gear for reasonable prices.  As your player grows, you can look to other places like Pure Hockey or Dick's Sporting Goods.  


What team will my player be on?

Teams are based on your players birth year and skill.  Check out the registration page for more information on birth year and what level they will be for a given year.  If there are enough players registered at a given level to have more than 1 team, your player will participate in tryouts to determine where your player fits from a skill level. 


What kind of time commitment is there?

There are two types of time commitments with SYHA:
  • Player
  • Family

The player is expected to be to the rink, ready to get on the ice at their designated practice time.  They are expected to also show up early for games and tournaments.  If the player chooses to do extra activities outside of regular practice and games, that is up to them.  Your player can expect between 2-3 one-hour practices per week and between 2-5 one-hour games per week. 

As a family, you're expected to put in at least 20 hours of volunteer time per year.  SYHA is a volunteer led and run organization. Running a rink and hockey program is not the same as running football or basketball program.  Check out more information on volunteer hours.


Who can I contact if I have questions?

Get in touch with one of the board members if you have questions.  They can get you an answer or find someone who can get you an answer. 


Can I be on the SYHA board of directors?

Yes. Any adult family member of SYHA can be a board member.  You don't need to know anything about hockey either!  If you want to help make a difference with the SYHA program, please get a hold of one of the current board members