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The Adult Hockey Player’s Bucket List

By Steve Mann, 11/02/21, 11:00PM MDT



For most adult hockey players, “living the dream” means simply lacing up the skates and hitting the ice one or more times per week with your buddies.

At the end of the day, it’s about the experience. And in the game of hockey, there are many amazing experiences to be had – from meeting personal goals, to playing for hardware, to hockey-themed road trips and fun with friends and family. Here are some things that should be on every adult hockey player’s “bucket list” (in no particular order):

  1. Have an epic post-game barbecue.
  2. Play goalie at least once. Goalies, try playing out at least once.
  3. If your climate allows, build a backyard rink.
  4. Attend a U.S. Women’s National Team game.
  5. Sign your team up for a destination USA Hockey Adult Classic Tournament, presented by Labatt Blue.
  6. Attend an NHL Winter Classic.
  7. Try a lacrosse move from behind the net.
  8. Play in the USA Hockey/Labatt Blue Pond Hockey National Championships in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
  9. Save up for that stick or those skates you’ve always wanted.
  10. Play roller hockey.
  11. Tour the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn.
  12. Go into work exhausted because you were watching/playing hockey deep into the night.
  13. Call in sick to watch/play hockey.
  14. Organize a team, weekly skate or annual game with your coworkers.
  15. Try the spinorama. 
  16. Rollerblade to work.
  17. Host an NHL video game tournament.
  18. Visit Lake Placid, N.Y. and Herb Brooks Arena.
  19. Attend the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament.
  20. Check out some college games at venues like the The Whale (Yale), Yost (Michigan), the new Ed Robson Arena (Colorado College) and the soon-to-be-complete rink at Arizona State.
  21. Get some USA Hockey gear, for you and your loved ones.
  22. Get a picture with the Stanley Cup (touch or no touch, that is a personal choice).
  23. See your favorite NHL team on the road.
  24. Attend a sled or special hockey event.
  25. Introduce a friend (or child) to the sport. 
  26. Play in USA Hockey’s Adult National Championships down in Florida.
  27. Volunteer to help your local youth organization. 
  28. Attend a Premier Hockey Federation game (formerly National Women’s Hockey League).
  29. Set up a shooting/stickhandling area at home.
  30. Watch/stream multiple games at home.
  31. Grow out your hockey hair.
  32. Give back to the hockey community in some way, whether it’s your local club/association, The USA Hockey FoundationNHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone.
  33. Attend the NCAA Frozen Four with your hockey buddies.
  34. Say that you need a new stick even though deep down you know it’s not the stick.
  35. Watch a game in Madison Square Garden.
  36. Start a jersey, puck or card collection.
  37. Coach hockey.
  38. Rewatch the 1980 or 2018 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal games, the night before your big game.
  39. Plan a trip to Boston for the Beanpot.
  40. Officiate a hockey game.
  41. Play boot hockey.
  42. Play fantasy hockey.
  43. Attend the World Junior Championship and catch a glimpse of the game’s future superstars.
  44. Host a NHL Entry Draft watch party.
  45. Go five-hole on a breakaway.
  46. Go backhand, top-shelf.
  47. Attend an American Hockey League game for one of their many entertaining promotional nights.
  48. Have someone complain to you about the smell of your equipment.
  49. Explain the hockey stink to said person.
  50. Love the game for life. 

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The Over-80 USA Hockey Team, comprised of players from eight different states (New Hampshire, Minnesota, Alaska, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, Florida and California), came together in the Fall of 2023 to compete in the Canada 150 Cup tournament in B