By Bethany Drysdale

Las Vegas – Inspiration can come from many places and different times in a person’s life. Recently, I was inspired to try something new. It could be an early mid-life crisis, or perhaps an attempt to prove something to myself, but as a birthday gift, I am now enrolled at City National Arena’s Women’s Learn to Play Program. The six week session is currently enrolling, to begin on March 4 at 7:30pm. The program is designed to teach women, 18 and older, the fundamentals of the game, game like situations, and advance participants on to playing recreational hockey. Experience of all levels is welcomed, so I am giving it my best shot (get it, shot, ok bad joke).

I am planning on journaling my sessions each week here on Vegashockey.net. I have no expectations of how I will do, but I want to show others that if I can do it, so can they. The NHL has a motto, “hockey is for everyone,” and it truly is for everyone. To prepare myself for the experience, I have been skating a few times each week with my kids, to get used to my skates and feel more confident on the ice. My next task was to purchase the required full equipment needed to attend the class. As a family on one income, buying on a budget has been our best way to get gear. The Arsenal does sell adult starter packs, but they are out of our price range. So I started looking on Ebay, Sideline Swap, and clearance sales on different hockey websites.

My hockey stick is a Warrior Alpha, senior shaft that was broken. I am 5’7” and needed more of an intermediate sized stick. This was perfect for me. I spent $15 on the shaft and bought a blade on clearance for $5. Using a good saw, I cut off the splintered end, and attached the new blade. With the addition of a Yeti grip, my stick is sturdy and taped. There is no way I am ever going to play pro at any level, so buying a stick over $50 was not necessary. My size is also my advantage when buying. I only weigh 115 pounds, so I am roughly the size of a junior male as far as pads go. Junior equipment is typically cheaper than senior sized products. I have been able to find good, nearly new shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pants, and shin guards for very reasonable cost. Even skates, helmets, gloves, and socks are easy to find new or used for a good price.

Playing hockey does not have to be scary. I am truly looking forward to learning new things and challenging myself. For my two boys, ages 5 and 3, who are in the learn to skate program, I preach safety. When they see Mommy wearing protective equipment, it reinforces the notion that safety is part of the game. And if any readers would like to come out and watch, please do. Even if you cannot skate, I am sure it will be fun to learn more about the game.