The Social Benefits of Playing Hockey

social benefits of playing hockey
Photo by Tony Schnagl

Ever thought about the social benefits of joining a hockey league? They’re just as important as the physical! 

By Jordan Fuller

Joining a hockey team is the ideal way to experience the social benefits of playing hockey

One of the most amazing things about sport is their ability to unite. People of different backgrounds, various living situations, a multitude of careers, and personalities of every type come together for a common goal… and magic happens. 

Today, social media and online experiences have become so common that sports can seem like something from the dark ages. But sitting behind a screen fails to give something that’s very important for our health and well-being: socialization. 

We can exercise at home. We can stay in touch via text messages. But the social benefits of playing hockey—or any other team sport for that matter—are far beyond what you can get from the internet. If you are not already playing this amazing sport, here’s why you should definitely consider it. 

The Social Dilemma 

The world has become digital. Everything from the way we work to how we form and keep relationships has been affected by this digital trend. And although it’s contributed positively in some ways (think technological advances and new, efficient ways of doing things), it’s also created some negative consequences. 

One of those negative effects is a lack of socialization. We’re more isolated than ever, and it’s already begun to affect us in many different ways. Digital interaction is no substitute for in-person socialization—there’s just no way to accurately replicate face-to-face time with friends. And, of course, you can’t get that amazing team-spirit feeling when you’re looking at a screen. 

Research backs up the idea that not socializing can have some devastating effects. And they often build up slowly over time, making it even more dangerous. Although the links between social isolation and negative consequences are still in the infancy stages of research, here’s what science has revealed so far: 

Physical Effects 

Studies in various medical journals show that socially isolated people have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, strokes, dementia, obesity and more. Ultimately, those who are socially isolated have a higher risk of early death due to poor health. 

In many cases, the lack of accountability for physical exercise and a healthy diet is also to blame when people are socially isolated. This means it becomes an ongoing cycle—isolation leads to poor health, which leads to more isolation, and so on. 

Mental Effects 

The negative mental effects can be even more damaging than the physical effects. Especially after the pandemic and the resulting social isolation and digital communication, we’ve lost valuable social skills. This leaves many of us feeling awkward and uncomfortable in social situations, which means we’re likely to avoid them even if we feel lonely. 

This can lead to things like high-stress levels (and nobody to talk to about it); low self-esteem (beating ourselves up for not having friends); anxiety (especially when we do have to leave the house) and more. All of these things not only make it easier to spiral into more severe mental illness aside from physical health. 

The Social Benefits of Playing Hockey: How It Can Help 

So how does playing hockey help all of these things? The truth is, it’s not easy to just “go out and socialize,” especially if you don’t have close friends. But joining a team that gets together not just for the sake of it but with a purpose (practicing, strategizing, etc.) is one of the least intimidating and most productive ways of socializing. 

Here’s why you should definitely consider joining or signing your kid up for a recreational hockey team

Healthy Activity

Social activities like sports are healthy, plain and simple. It’s easy for socially isolated people to fall into unhealthy activities like video gaming, binge-watching TV and poor eating habits. None of these are inherently unhealthy on their own. But they can quickly get out of hand in the context of being socially isolated. 

Playing a team sport like hockey gets you out of the house, interacting with people, moving, and using your critical thinking skills. It’s a very well-rounded thing to do. 

Keeps You Active 

Things that keep you fit and active are ideal for both mental and physical health. Losing weight, getting your heart rate up and racking up more steps (or general movement) throughout your day go a long way toward improving overall health and reducing the chances of medical problems such as those mentioned above. 

Plus, losing weight and improving your skills helps to boost self-confidence, so you’ll be more likely to be comfortable in social situations going forward. And is there anything more fun to do than lacing up and playing hockey?

Keeping You Accountable 

Another great perk of joining a team is that you’ll be surrounded by people who help to keep you accountable. This means you can’t just skip your game or decide not to come to practice; you’ve got people relying on you as part of the team. 

This can be very motivating for those who are used to being isolated. Rather than having to push yourself to improve your skills, stay fit and so on, you’ve got others to motivate and inspire you. 

Clearing Your Mind 

There’s nothing quite like getting out on the ice, playing hard and interacting with your teammates to help clear your mind of stress. Whether it’s related to work or family or some other source of stress, physical activity and meeting up with other people for a while is a great way to reframe your mind. 

Playing hockey is also a good way to learn how to channel stress into productive things. If you can take the feelings created by stress and redirect them into your game, you’ll not only boost your skills faster, but you’ll find it becomes easier to let go of stress when you’re on the ice. 

Foundation for Solid Friendships 

Some of the best friendships are built from playing hockey. It’s an excellent way to meet people who have some of the same interests as you and a great way to ensure that you see each other regularly. Aside from the personal benefits, hockey opens up a world of networking opportunities.

Playing hockey together isn’t just about having fun together. These are the people you’ll brainstorm with about new strategies. The people you’ll work in formation with on the ice; those you’ll pick up when they fall (and who will do the same for you); and the people you’ll either celebrate (or cry) with after a game. That’s where close relationships are formed and one of the best benefits of joining a team. 


There are really no negatives to joining a hockey team. It’s the ideal way to experience the social benefits of playing hockey; a great way to make friends, learn new skills, stay fit and active, have fun, let go of stress, and much more. So if you (or your kid) are looking for something that’s going to benefit you in so many ways, hockey is an excellent choice. 

Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence, and other sports-related sites. is reader supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

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