JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Apple Valley Intermediate League Open For Sign-ups!

by ericmjorgensen


JMS Hockey is expanding JMS Hockey Clubs to Apple Valley this summer!

Starting on Thursday, June 19th and ending on August 28th, this season will be our first offering targeted at intermediate skaters (those in JMS levels 2 through 4).

The Details


Games will be every Thursday from June 19th to August 28th except for July 3rd due to the holiday. Game start times are between 8:30 and 9:45 PM.

Eligible Levels

JMS skaters in levels 2, 3, and 4 are eligible for this season.


Early-bird registration is $159. If you already have a set of JMS Hockey Clubs jerseys (one white and one black), you are all set. If not, there is a one-time $20 jersey fee.

After the early-bird period ends, the league registration fee goes up to $179. Get your spot now!

Click here to sign up

The Stick Magnets are Champs!

by ericmjorgensen

Congratulations to The Stick Magnets, the JMS Hockey Clubs Winter Champions!


With two seasons now in the books, JMS Hockey Clubs is off to a great start. For more information about future league seasons, follow @jms_hockey on Twitter, like us at Facebook, or visit the league page of our website.

Get notified when a game is available at a rink you want to play at

by Andy Baird

A long requested capability of the website is to know exactly when a game that you are interested in is available. As of today, our automatic notification feature is now out of beta and available to anyone who is interested. You can setup your auto notification preferences here:

How it works:

  1. Select the rinks you want to be notified for
  2. Select the types of games you want to be notified for
  3. Select what days of the week you want to play on
  4. Choose the frequency at which you want to be notified

Depending on how you’ve setup the frequency of your automatic notifications, you’ll receive notifications any time a game is available and you are eligible to signup for that game for the rink you are interested in.

Questions or suggestions? As always, e-mail our support at and we’ll be happy to help.

JMS is 10 years old!

by barbaragarn

Hard to believe this winter marks a decade of JMS! I started the program towards the end of 2003–I began booking ice so I could skate with other beginners and at least have a chance to touch the puck.

The first JMS game was at Brooklyn Park and the website was based off my Comcast e-mail, designed with an $8 program from the bargain bin at Office Depot. As I got more e-mails, I invited more and more people, who responded to the message to sign up. I added the new folks to the roster and uploaded the page anew every night.

A few years later, I made two big changes around the same time: separating by skill level and asking trusted JMSers to run the games when I couldn’t be there–the first JMS Captains. We had moved from collecting cash in the locker room to punch cards.

The website was still Office Depot bargain bin crummy and I had a few offers to take a run at it with varying degrees of success. In 2007, I approached Andy Baird about updating the website. Andy just took the website and ran with it, creating things I never knew JMS needed but then realized we could never do without. I can’t even imagine where JMS would be without Andy’s hard work, ideas and partnership.

We’ve refined things in the ensuing years, tweaking everything from how players get assessed to how captains get rosters and make level changes. Time sure flies. Dan Ginter has been helping us with social marketing (that’s him making all the posts on the Facebook page!) and Eric Jorgensen has come on as the third admin. Andy and I didn’t realize we were stuck in a rut until Eric joined in, a very welcome third voice who pushed us to try new things–like the JMS Hockey Clubs!

Eric also took on the revision of the JMS logo–the new design is a bold shout-out to old-school hockey, celebrating our roots in the State of Hockey. You’ll see a lot more of the new JMS logo as we update across our platforms.

Primary Logo
New Brand System

We’ll also start offering JMS products with the new logo, first of which are black and white jerseys (currently unprinted and waiting in some Rubbermaid tubs under my stairs). We hope to hold some fun contests and surprise giveaways with our new logo items to help get them out into the skating population.

We are so happy to be here, and to be ten years old this winter. Thank you for being a part of JMS and with us for what the future brings!

JMS Hockey Clubs Expansion

by ericmjorgensen

Coming soon: JMS Hockey Clubs winter season in North St. Paul and Eden Prairie, for players Levels 3, 4 and 5. Each season is 10 guaranteed games plus a championship for the two top teams.

Games will start December 1 at Polar Arena and January 5 at Eden Prairie. All games are Sunday nights, refereed 17 minute run-time. Start times are 7:45 and 9:00 at Polar and in the 7:30 to 9:30 window at Eden Prairie.

Hockey Clubs members will get a white and a dark JMS Hockey Clubs jersey and access to the special Hockey Clubs portion of the JMS website. Cost is $150 for games and $20 for two jerseys (participants in the Fall JMS Hockey Clubs season will get a credit for the jerseys they already own).

Applications for team captains are open now, and general player signup will open on November 2. Players may sign up for specific teams and choose their team name as a group.

We hope you can make it! We are exploring new locations and the possibility of adding an option for lower level players in our spring league. Details will be posted as we have them!

One dollar more

by Andy Baird

JMS has been around for nearly a decade and for years the mean skater price has remained at $15 for a 90 minute skate. In those years, rink prices have increased and we’ve managed to keep our prices constant. We’ve been able to do this as we’ve become better at promoting games, scheduling where the demand is and managing overhead costs.

With the fall calendar starting we saw another price hike across many rinks in the Twin Cities and we knew it was time. Starting November 1st, JMS games will be $16.

Rink Pricing Economics

Rink pricing in Minnesota is a fascinating lesson in the balance of economics and community services. Most rinks exist so the community’s youth have a place to play hockey (which is why youth associations get first dibs and we skate later in winter, after them). Because profit is not the rink’s the primary objective, many rinks operate at a net loss, their existence underwritten by the city and justified by contributing to the citizens’ quality of life.

As costs (power to chill the ice, fuel for the Zamboni, pay for the workers) increase, the rinks up their prices. A significant proportion of the cost increase is passed along to outside groups, defraying the cost for the rink’s local users–who the rink exists to serve, after all. And so we regularly see increased pricing from some of our favorite rinks — some we are now priced out of completely after seeing a 30% increase over the last 5 years.

This is all just economics; we’re not upset at the rink managers or the city councils that set the prices. It’s just business. JMS does try to negotiate where we can, but ice–especially during the hockey season–is most definitely a seller’s market. If we don’t take it at the offered price, more than one group is waiting right behind us and IS willing to pay the asking price.

A note on Prime vs. Off-Prime ice

While rinks vary in price and we choose as economically as we can, all rinks do charge more for prime hours (about 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.) than during the day when demand is almost zero.

Some people pay five bucks at lunchtime and don’t understand why JMS costs what it does. Rinks give “dead ice” to open hockey and can afford to charge a low price for it–even five bucks a skater is better than the ice just sitting there.

But prime hours are something very different. Most kids and adults can only skate after school or work, so those hours are the most in demand. Like anything else in demand, the price goes up.

In a recent Star Tribune story, the associate director of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission made the same point: It’s not that there isn’t enough skating time, Barclay Kruse said, just that there aren’t enough ice hours that are considered convenient. “The prime hours for youth hockey are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.,” he said, “If you asked [the hockey associations], they’d all love to skate at 7 every night at a rink 5 miles from their house.”

We know that’s how JMSers feel, too, and we work as hard as we can to make that happen for as many of you as we can–at an affordable rate that keeps the program sustainable for the future.

Thanks for your understanding. Questions or want more detail? E-mail


JMS Is More Than Me

by barbaragarn

I know a lot of people think “Barbara Garn” is synonymous with “JMS Hockey,” but that’s not the case any more. People post and direct e-mails to me, but the truth is that there are three admins running the program now.

I want to make sure that credit goes where credit is due.


Andy Baird joined JMS in 2007 and his programming expertise vaulted JMS further than I ever dreamed it could go. Andy is one of the most innovative, standup guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I’m lucky to work with him and JMS is lucky to have him.

Andy’s JMS hours are mostly tech-related; he works to make the site function quickly and smoothly. He also sets up the information architecture for any program changes (like Community Sessions) or additions (like JMS Hockey Clubs).These are both huge and require many hours of planning and coding.

But Andy is very much a part of administrative decisions, from answering questions sent to to initiating new program-wide developments. While I run the program, it’s definitely Andy who has come up with the cool ideas.


Eric Jorgensen started helping with admin work last year, but he’d been playing JMS long before that. His leadership capabilities and decisionmaking made him a clear choice for captaining. Soon after, we asked if he’d consider joining the admin team and were so happy he accepted.

Eric’s fresh–and frank–perspective means Andy and I no longer have the same discussions we’d been having for years! He works on tech stuff with Andy and has contributed much of the polish to the current version of the website. It looks clean and uniform largely because of Eric’s work. Eric also helps with non-tech stuff, like answering the random questions that come to the support line or designing JMS materials–among many, many other things.

And he pushes us to try new things: the JMS Hockey Clubs are totally Eric’s program. He had a vision and a plan and now it’s a reality–soon to be expanded to new locations and levels.

Eric hasn’t been with us long, but he has brought so much to JMS that I can’t imagine the program functioning without his ideas and analysis.


The three of us partner to keep the JMS Hockey program running, changing and growing. We spend a lot of time–more than you can imagine–keeping things going. But our work would be for nothing without the help of the JMS captains.


Some captains spend an hour or more before each game–reviewing the roster to see who wants to change levels, and other admin work. They have the leadership role at the game, watching every player and paying special attention to the new ones, the ones who want level changes, or the “special cases” who may need a reminder about long shifts or less hacking.

Captains try to see everything, but they’re just one person. Think of what NHL officials miss–and there are four of them at every game. Your captain is there to help your game run smoothly, but he or she can’t read minds; if something’s bugging you, they can only fix it if they know about it.

And after the game, the captain fills out a detailed report with the notes they took time out of the game to write. Players are counting on them to make level assessments and captains take this responsibility seriously.

It’s not unusual for a captain to be expected to evaluate four or five players in one game. Nobody wants them making snap decisions, so they must watch each player during each shift and analyze the skater’s performance in light of the desired level. It’s not easy and it’s not quick.

Captains play for free, but it’s in recognition of the many hours they spend before and after games, and the time taken away from their game when they need to be watching certain players.

It is the JMS captains, not the three JMS admins, who make the level change decisions–they are the ones who keep the parity in your hockey games and we couldn’t run JMS without them.


JMS is a hockey community, and that community is reflected in our vibrant Facebook presence.

Dan Ginter is a talented social media expert and probably also a magician. I don’t know where he gets his stuff, but his news is always fresh and interesting. Dan handles our Facebook presence and does an amazing job. The last time I tried to post something I thought was new and exciting, Dan had already had it on our wall for three days. He’s always got a good conversation going and we thank him for keeping the JMS community strong and connected.


All of these people come together to make the JMS Hockey program what it is today. They are smart folks who care about hockey and want you to enjoy playing JMS and being a part of the JMS community.

JMS is more than just me. If it were just me, JMS Hockey would be small and staid. Instead, we have Andy and Eric and Dan and all the awesome captains, and JMS is vibrant and dynamic and a wonderful program.

And we all, all of us who work together on JMS, we thank YOU wonderful players for being a part of the JMS community. We’re glad you’re here and we’re glad you’re having fun!

Protect Your Neck

by barbaragarn

The player almost bled out. 

I’ll tell you right now that this story has a happy ending, but the details will chill you–and hopefully impel you to buy and wear neck protection.

A JMSer recently sent me this account of a near-tragic skate-to-neck incident:

I wanted to share this story with the JMS community. Everything ended ok, but it was very nearly something tragic.

 I was playing a regular hockey game, fun and unremarkable until suddenly one player tripped and his skate kicked up very high. 

The blade hit another player in the neck and severed a small artery. Blood was pulsating out of his neck, but very fortunately, he was close to the bench and there was a physician present and he applied pressure very quickly.

Since is was a small artery, the bleeding stopped without much blood loss, but the cut was very deep and very, very close to his carotid artery. The physician told us later that if the cut had been a fraction of an inch to one side, he was not sure that he could have been able to control the bleeding.

 Tragic injuries like this have occurred in the NHL with horrible outcomes. And the NHL has full medical support on site. At 11 p.m. in an empty rink, there’s not much that can be done. 

 I’m a pretty strong advocate for safety equipment–it actually drives me crazy that guys play with no pads or face protection. This particular incident was very, very close to something tragic… and fairly avoidable. I wanted to get the word out to JMSers that it does matter if you wear a face shield and a neck guard. 

 I know some people think they are “wimpy” or “for Mites and Squirts.” I have only been playing hockey a few years and I’ve already seen someone get hit in the face with a puck just a quarter inch of an inch from their eye (they would have doubtless lost the eye in a direct hit), someone crack a mouth full of teeth, and then this event where the player was literally less than an inch from possible death, right there on the ice at the local rink at 11 at night.

I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but this stuff actually happens and is almost completely avoidable with minimal cost or discomfort.

Happy Ending Part 1

I did hear that the injured player had to have vascular surgery on the artery. He’s going to be okay, but he was told again that an inch to the side and he likely would have bled to death. Scary.

Happy Ending Part 2…

… is up to you, the reader of this blog. 

Hopefully this story will encourage you to get and wear protective equipment. It’s a small cost and minimal discomfort, but worth a lot when protecting your safety.


Here are some links to get you started:–bearings—-misc–more-protective-gear.html

Wacky injuries

by barbaragarn

Claud Giroux was in the news this week after a golf club shattered and splinters sliced open his index finger, damaging some tendons. Yikes!

I was thinking about other wacky hockey injuries. First to mind is Pancakegate, from 2012. Dustin Penner threw out his back eating a stack of delicious pancakes. He wrote a hysterical open letter to fans and conspiracy theorists, very tongue in cheek.

Here are some others:

  • Glenn Healey of the Maple Leafs lacerated his hand while cleaning his bagpipes.
  • Wade Belak (also of the Leafs, hmmm) had to sit out a game due to a spider bite.
  • In another freaky back injury, Brent Sopel of the Canucks suffered spasms after bending over to pick up a cracker his young daughter had thrown on the floor. Hint: get a dog.
  • Remember Erik Johnson’s golf injury? He got his foot stuck between the accelerator and the brake on a golf cart (or did he??) during a team outing.
  • Manny Legace injured his hip after stepping on the red carpet placed on the ice to honor Sarah Palin (then VP nominee, who was dropping the puck for the ceremonial face-off).
  • Beware the deadly blister:  Mikael Renberg (during his Maple Leafs tenure–what IS it with this team?) got a blister. From tying his skate laces. It got infected enough that Renberg was hospitalized with a dangerously high fever. Doctors actually considered taking his hand off. Poor Renberg had already faced the thought of amputation a year earlier while boating: he jumped in the water to retrieve the anchor and the propellor sliced through his right bicep!
  • Let sleeping dogs lie: when Sharks goalie Arturs Irbe was doing sit-ups next to his sleeping pet (“Rambo,” no joke), he spooked the pup, which attacked Irbe, damaging the goalkeeper’s hand.
  • Don’t look into the light: In 1988, Sylvain Turgeon (Hartford Whalers) was working on his car. While welding, he looked into the torch light too long and suffered welder’s burn to his eyes.
  • Popcorn purple heart: Mark Reeds (now assistant Ottawa coach) missed a part of the 1987 season after suffering second- and third-degree burns on his hand during a “popcorn making accident at home.”


I bet we’ve all heard some good excuses from pals when they miss a game! Share in the comments below.

League play with JMS Hockey Clubs!

by ericmjorgensen

For years, JMSers have been asking for a league play option. We want to keep the quality you expect but provide the options you’d like. After a lot of thinking and planning, we are ready to test this new concept.

Launching in September as a small pilot program with the potential for expansion to more teams, JMS Hockey Clubs adds a dash of competitiveness and teamwork to the existing JMS formula that people love — fun, friendly, fair and safe hockey.

We are testing at Eden Prairie on Friday nights and have invited a small group of JMS regulars to try the program and work out any bugs. The pilot program will be just eight weeks long, and we’re starting with upper level skaters (Levels 3 -5). We hope to expand if this test program works well.

The four teams will play one another in refereed games with three 17-minute stop-time periods. Each player will receive a JMS Hockey Club jersey in the colors of their team. Team captains and JMS admins will set the rosters and monitor play throughout the season. Each club of the four JMS Hockey Clubs will have its own special section of the JMS website.

JMS Hockey Clubs is fun competition with players you already know and like — to play with and against!

We hope this pilot program goes well and that we can expand offerings soon.

If you are interested, please let us know by contacting JMS Support at


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