The Name Does Not Always Tell the Story
I am an avid recreational hockey player, and my love for the sport runs deep! The preceding line describes nearly anyone participating in a good, organized Beer League. Beer League hockey is hockey at its best short of professional hockey. No, we don’t have kegs of beer on the bench, and we don’t play with a bunch of alcoholics (at least not to my knowledge). It provides an escape from one’s daily life and an outlet for a bit of release.
Beer League Hockey derived its name from the bars, pubs, taverns, or restaurants that sponsored the teams, provided the jerseys with logos, and perhaps supplied beer at the local bar afterward. Sponsorships are still prevalent today but not as easy to get. To give you some perspective on sponsors, they can now range from chiropractic offices, local hardware stores, and the ever-obvious dental offices. Beer League as we know it today consists of several teams playing organized hockey and sharing a case of beer after the game. These leagues can be pretty competitive and are officiated by referees to enforce rules and infractions.
Skill levels are all over the boards, and depending on what league you are playing in; the skill levels are handled differently. I have seen several systems used; it can be a draft league where a player is rated 1 through 10, where 1 is the highest skill level, etc. Some clubs go with a 1 through 5 where each group can have so many of each number to keep the teams even. Each league is handled differently depending on how it is constructed.
My friend and I came up the ranks together and are similar players in our skills. When we started 20+ years ago, we looked around the locker room, and we were the young runts with the “old guys.” Now we look around the locker room, and we are the “old guys” surrounded by young runts. It’s funny how fast that flipped. The key is to have fun, make friends, and not forget to bring the beer when it’s your turn!