There are many options for children who wish to play hockey. Ridgewood offers winter roller hockey for children in grades K-9, as well as ice hockey for children in grades K-8. The high school fields both JV and varsity ice hockey squads.
This page is designed to give you a sense of the options out there, as well as the features and commitment levels of each.
Every local rink has a “learn to skate” and/or a “learn to play” program. A list of them can be found here. Although we accept children of all ability levels on our hockey teams, it is best if a child is comfortable on skates before the start of the season for the best experience for your child.
First and foremost, we are excited to get as many children as possible involved with our ice and roller hockey programs. For new skaters, they are a great way to get a feel for the sport. For experienced skaters, they are a wonderful way to build friendships and represent the town of Ridgewood.
Season: Roller hockey is played in the winter, and ice hockey is played in the spring. The main season for the high school team is in the winter, but they usually put together spring and fall teams for interested players.
Commitment: The commitment is minimal for elementary and middle school children involved in Ridgewood roller and ice hockey. We assume that you are playing other sports or are on a travel hockey team, so there is usually only 1 game or practice per week. All games are played at local rinks. The high school’s JV and varsity squads practice more often during the winter season.
Upside: If your k-8 child wants to play hockey to try the sport or doesn’t want to join a travel “club” team, this is a great option. Some kids play ice or roller, while others play both. Even kids who join club programs still join the Ridgewood ice and roller hockey teams due to the minimal cost and time commitment. On top of that, it is a lot of fun.
Many children in town also play for a club team. These programs range in price, competitiveness, and time commitment. There are many local clubs to choose from. Tryouts are generally in April for the following school year, with practices beginning in the fall. Although the bulk of the season is in the winter, most of the programs overlap a bit with fall sports (soccer, football, etc.). If you anticipate a conflict, reach out to the team to get a sense of their schedule, as well as their policy on missed practices and games. For example, teams like the Spartans and Ice Dogs tend to be more flexible in that regard.
A few local clubs are listed below. They are listed in a general ascending order of commitment and competitiveness. However, it should be noted that each club offers different levels. For example, although the highest level Avalanche teams are the “cream of the crop” in the area, the Spartans or Ice Dogs might be competitive against some of their lower level teams. This is why we encourage you to peruse the websites, call the directors of each club, and get a feel for which one is right for your child.
Spartans: This is the newest club in the area. They practice at Fritz Dietl Ice Rink in Westwood and join “house leagues”, which means that all of their games are usually played at the same rink. The competition level is similar to what you see in the Ridgewood program, with the primary difference being the inclusion of regular practices and clinics. Like Ridgewood, the Spartans play winter and spring seasons. If there is room, all interested athletes are placed on a team.
NJ Ice Dogs: Many Ridgewood kids play for the Ice Dogs. They practice and play out of the Ice House in Hackensack. They have 1 practice per week (Fridays) and 1-2 games on the weekend. The price and time commitment are very reasonable compared to some of the higher level club programs. They encourage multi-sport athletes and have programs from 6U (6 year-olds and under) to 18U (18 years old and under). Tryouts for the next school year are in the spring (April). Similar programs include the Wayne Hockey Club, Englewood Field Club (EFC), Rhinos and Secaucus Patriots. Even though they hold tryouts some children are cut, it is our understanding that most interested athletes are placed on a team.
Ramapo Saints: Founded in 1975, the Saints is one of the oldest club teams in our area. The Saints play out of Sport-O-Rama Ice Rinks in Rockland County New York where they field teams ranging from 6U (6 year-olds and under) to 18U (18 years old and under). Within each age group, they compete at all levels from Tier I Atlantic Youth Hockey League (very competitive) to Tier II New Jersey Hockey League (average competition).
NJ Bandits: The Bandits are one of the larger club teams and based out of the Ice Vault in Wayne. They field teams for all ages, 6U to 18U. They generally practice 2 times during the week and schedule 1-2 games on the weekends.
Avalanche: The Avalanche tends to have the highest level of commitment of the local clubs. They play out of the Ice House in Hackensack and have 2 practices and 2 games per week (1 home, 1 away). The away games and tournaments tend to be further away than those scheduled by the Ice Dogs since they are looking for a higher level of competition. Tryouts for the next school year are in the spring.
Montclair Blues - The Blues play out of Floyd Hall in Montclair. Similar to the Saints, Bandits and Avalanche, there are 2 practices a week and about 2 games on the weekends.