Frameworks for Running Pickup Hockey?

Framework likely isn’t the correct term but neither is rules or how-to. What I wanted to share are a few of the ways I’ve seen pickup hockey games actually run. I’m curious to hear any comments and suggestions on how you’re running your games?

Picking Teams?pick

Obviously the intent here to achieve some semblance of balance. Typically the person organizing the game has the most knowledge of skater’s skill levels. Some games, the organizer selects the teams, telling each skater who should wear dark or white. Another option is to pick two captains and literally pick teams in the dressing room. The obvious annoying part here is someone gets picked last.

Most games leave this to randomness in that people jump on the ice with whatever sweater they put on. Then during warmup, the organizer works on adjusting to get the numbers per side correct and possibly some balance.

On our side, we’re testing some features where we select teams for our games. One has us informing you of your team in your gameday reminder. Then we keep track of which team ‘won’. We assign a point to each player on the winning team. The idea of the points is to allow us to balance the teams each better each week.

Keeping Score?

The most common approach is to not formally keep score. In this case goalies typically switch ends of the rink at the halfway point. My personal preference, however, is that you do keep score, playing mini-games to 5. When the first team reaches 5, your goalies switch ends and you start a new mini-game.

Resetting the score between mini-games helps to keep one team from completely running up the score. It can quickly become demotivating if you’re down 10 – 2, even in pickup.

We also have some regular weekly games who maintain teams from week to week, as best they can. They run a bit of a season where they keep track of wins. I believe at the end of the season the losing team pays for food and drinks on a night out.