For those that have played competitive hockey growing up, the next evolution is beer league hockey. So the question remains, is beer league hockey competitive hockey? First, for those not familiar with the beer league, the above jersey and name alone should sum it up for you. Some beer league hockey fanatics believe the best approach to the sport is pre-game carb loading. Others, are advocates of post game relaxation carbs as a sleep aid. Ofcourse, there are some that feel pre and post game carb loading is the essential. So, if you are still in the dark, you shall remain there. Competitive hockey is how you define it and where you play it. As for me, I have been playing in the beer league for 18 years and 8 years prior to that in high school and college (it was kind of the beer league in high school and full fledged in college). All 26 of these years and 7 years prior to this can all be defined as competitive hockey.
Interestingly enough, although the NHL seems to be lacking in fan participation and tv coverage, hockey has grown tremendously with player participation. For a lesson in the leagues that you can start at and graduate to, it goes like this; mite hockey, squirt hockey, pee wee hockey, bantam hockey, midget hockey, high school hockey, college hockey, minor league hockey and the NHL. Varying levels of play include house league hockey, minor league hockey, all-star hockey, travelling team hockey and more.
For the 11 years I have played Arizona hockey in the beer league, we have grown from 3 ice rinks to 11 ice rinks. Hockey may lacking in fan participation but if there was one sport that growing up kids wanted to play most or wish they played is hockey.