Info for the “You cannot possibly be serious about absolute beginners” crowd
This is a message for any ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS out there. If COVID has taught us anything, it is that we have to try new things. As adults, it is easy to avoid brand new physical challenges that do not build on previous skills. We all LOVE to be good at things so as not to “embarrass” ourselves with anything other than competence.
That only stops us from keeping our minds open to new things. Trying something you have never done before unlocks our brains and is simultaneously phenomenal and terrifying.
Pirate hockey is about doing that with a whole bunch of supportive people that all have been there. We are telling the truth when we say you do not need any previous experience to make this happen. None. Not an ounce. One of our co-founders had played pond hockey once in 1975 and never again. Another took it up in their late 30’s. We have had players of all ages and backgrounds and sizes come play hockey having never stepped on ice in their lives.
How do we make that happen – Volunteer, dedicated team of coaches at every single practice. We focus on skills, habits and concepts. We have fun. We laugh with joy at every practice. We support our teammates when the inevitable tragedies of life crop up. Recreational sports are supposed to be about having an incredible amount of fun with a group of like minded individuals.
We also do that by not giving a hoot about the scoreboard. You pick one thing to learn every time you show up to the rink. If you learn it, see it for the first time, do part of it, realise you cannot do it yet, then you have been victorious. People forget that team sports, especially rec ones, are supposed to be fun. Come have fun in a safe and supportive environment.
For seasoned hockey players
Here is the deal. Pirate hockey is about a way to have fun doing a thing we love, have loved in the past or want to love again. It is the first and last rule of Pirate hockey. The pandemic has taught us that life can be cut short at any moment. In our hockey house, we laugh, we play hockey and we care about each other, not the score.
Oh wait, you folks are super competitive? We are insanely competitive and put it all out there in practice and on the ice. We just care more about having fun and coming together as a team. Why spend 2 hours driving one way to a rink to drive back angry or upset? Life is way too short for that.
We accept practice players as well. Come enjoy the fun. Send an email to the Pirates in order to find out more.
Our plans for the 2022/2023 season
To be flexible.
Our plan is to have 3 teams. Plans are subject to change.
We will certainly have a WCHL Division 2 team
We will certainly have a WCHL Division 5 team
We will certainly have a WCHL Division 7 team (true beginners!)
Our home ice is in Oregon, WI. For those that care, they have a Starbucks and concession stand in the building.
We play across WI and go to tournaments when people take the lead and field a team to go. The WCHL tournament alternates between Wisconsin and Illinois every year. We carpool when able and enjoy the movie, Princess Bride.
Our policy on inclusion in a nutshell
If you feel that the Women’s (which has had transgender players for at least the last 15 years) Central Hockey League is the place that is a safe place for you to play, then come have some fun. We have always had cis gender and transgender and everything in between. Safety and pronoun respect is talked about openly.
It is also important to note that we include everyone no matter their identifiers in any part of their life. We show respect for all. This does not mean we agree with everything that everyone thinks or believes. It does mean we show respect. That is something that always needs work and improvement. Like every other person in the world, we struggle with political and social views and are imperfect. The difference is that we talk about it all. Really. We also have a coach that is almost entirely faceblind and will never remember your name. They will, however, know your jersey number and exactly how you skate and play. See, it takes all kinds to make magic happen.
The Oregon rink is not near my home, are there other Dane County Teams in the league?
You betcha and at all levels as well.
Sun Prairie Rage
Madison Meteorites (yes, including former Olympians)
The Freeze (based in Stoughton)
UW Club teams (level varies year-to-year)
We will happily help you find a team that fits your needs if Pirateville is not the place for you.
You may also consider the MGHA, an all gender league focused on creating hockey opportunities for LGBT and allied individuals. They do not have a lot of practices, coaching, or instruction. This can be a difficult start for true beginners, but one can usually play for MGHA and another team with very few schedule conflicts. MGHA plays on Sunday evenings at Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton. Get started on the MGHA website.