If you have been interested in picking up hockey as a hobby, or have a child that has been wanting to play; you may find it intimidating or not know where to begin. Below is a bit of information that hopefully will help get you started.
Learning to Skate
The first step in playing hockey is learning to skate. You don't have to become a master skater, but having basic skating ability will greatly improve your enjoyment when you start playing; as it will allow you to focus on playing the game rather than trying to keep your feet under you. Skating lessons are one of the most common ways people learn to skate, and most ice rinks will have a learn to skate program for children and adults. If you don't want to take lessons it is also common to learn from friends or family during public skating sessions.
Clinics and Beginner leagues
After learning to skate try looking for some programs targeted to beginners or novices. Many facilities will have novice adult leagues or clinics that provide a great environment for the first time player. If you have a child that are just starting many of the youth hockey organizations have house leagues that are great for beginners as they largely focus on player development and enjoyment of the game rather than being competitive. Youth organizations will also sometimes also offer "try hockey for free" events that let children try out hockey without having to commit to buying equipment.
A basic set of hockey equipment will consist of the following.
-helmet and mouth guard
-Goalies will have their own variations of all of these pieces of equipment
Equipment can be purchased locally in hockey shops or used sports equipment shops, It is generally advisable avoiding the big chain sporting good shops for hockey equipment as they will have a limited selection and their staff will be less knowledgeable about the equipment. There are also a number of on-line retailers that cater to selling hockey equipment if you rather purchase through them.