Beer League Hockey – What is it? Best Videos & More

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: October 13, 2021

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If you are like us at Sound Brewery, anything with the word “beer” in it probably draws your attention immediately. If so, you might have had some questions when you heard about beer league hockey being played in the US and Canada. One of those questions is definitely “do you play and drink beer at the same time?” Well, there is certainly no rule preventing it from happening…

Should you give a puck about beer league hockey? Does it involve beer? Let’s find out.

What Does Beer League Mean?

Beer league is a term that is meant to describe an amateur league meant for recreational adult players. You can find beer league baseball, basketball, and hockey throughout North America.

Sure, you could call it adult league hockey, but where’s the fun in that?

What Does That Mean For Amateur Hockey?

Beer league hockey is only for adults. Men and women can play, but you have to be 19 years or older to join. The reason the term beer league stuck is all thanks to a tradition that the players get together after practice or games and drink beer together. Of course, there is also nothing stopping players from taking a swig of beer while they are on the bench or in the locker room.

Beer leagues aren’t just for recreational players, however. Many leagues have experienced players who have simply aged out of their respective professional bracket. They still want to play, but they can’t compete with the younger pros.

Check out a few matches:

And no, you’re never forced to drink beer to be part of a beer league hockey team.

Protocol and Rules of Beer League Hockey

Beer league hockey is also known as recreational adult hockey, and because of that there are varying levels of skill. Some regions in North America have a ABCD+ ranking system that separates recreational players based on their skill and age. A- and B-league players are often former pros, high-level collegiate players, or those with many years of experience.

Most beer leagues are a mixture of rankings, because the population of hockey players is often limited.

Check out this comparison of skill level between a beer league goalie and pro goalie:

Don’t Hit Your Friends or Fight in Beer League

One of the major differences between NHL hockey and beer league hockey is the lack of fighting. Okay, there really is no difference when you watch a game. However, the rules of beer league hockey does state that you shouldn’t check your opponents. That often results in a 2-minute penalty.

That doesn’t mean you won’t get pushed into walls or fall over, though. Beer league hockey can be just as physical as pro level.

Fighting is also not allowed. Does that mean the ice stays fisticuff-free? No. Fortunately, fighting is a punishable offense and could mean suspension or expulsion from the league. Since the punishment is so severe, fights don’t happen as often as they do in the NHL.

But, as you will see in the video below, it can get pretty hot out on the ice:

Want to Get Started With Beer League Hockey?

There are a few things you need to know before you go dusting off your hockey stick and blades:

This video outlines some beginning techniques you can practice to get started (or to brush up your skills):

Planning on starting your own beer league hockey team? You’re going to need a fun name. It’s tradition among the recreational leagues to have whimsical or downright offensive team names. Maybe you have heard of one of the following?

  • San Jose Sharts (given the track record of the professional NHL team, the Sharks, Sharts is a hilarious name for the amateur league)
  • Mighty Drunks
  • Drunk and Looking to Score
  • Here for Beer
  • 12oz Curls
  • Parking Lot People
  • 3rd Liners
  • Puck Buddies
  • Dusters
  • Ankle Benders
  • Hip Czech
  • Check Republic
  • Mid Ice Crisis
  • Cluster Pucks
  • Puck My Life
  • Morning Sherwoods

Wrapping Up

So now you know, beer league hockey doesn’t have much to do with beer. If you’re thinking “H-E-double hockey sticks, beer league hockey looks fun,” why not give it a shot? Hey, you might find a bunch of beer lovers just like you while you’re at it!

FAQS About Beer League Hockey

What is beer league hockey?

Beer league hockey refers to an amateur league for recreational players. All players must be 19 years or older to participate.

Can you hit in beer league hockey?

No, it is against the rules to hit anyone in beer hockey. Does that mean you won’t get hit? Also no. There is plenty of evidence that brawls break out on the ice all the time during beer league matches.

How many periods are there in beer league hockey?

Beer league hockey games consist of 3 periods that run 10-20 minutes long. Some leagues keep a running clock while others use stoppage time.
There is rarely any shootouts or overtime in beer league hockey. This is typically because teams pool money together to rent a rink to hold a match and will not be allowed to go over their purchased block of time.

What are the levels of hockey leagues?

There are seven levels of hockey leagues, though each of those also have their own levels within them, based on wins and losses and the skill or age of the players. Descending from the top, the levels are National Hockey League (NHL), minor league professional hockey (for semi-professionals), college level hockey, recreational league (ABCD+ ranking), high school hockey, junior hockey, and then minor hockey.