Dont know if this will help but i play for Peterborough Phoenix (Rec Team) as a Nettie and have never done any form of training or grading prior apart from playing back in my school days but again didnt do any grades or anything. About 10 years ago i played as a D man back home for a good 3 years, left school, moved etc and then showed up in peterborough end of last year and they helped me out with kit etc threw me on the ice and said there ya go lol so im "Self teachin" as we dont actually have a "Coach" really just some guys who "Take Charge" and run the show/orgonise games. So from my experience id say you dont HAVE to have any grades etc to play but thats just my experience.
After 23 pages its pretty much as I predicted, lots of interest but the people starting it dont realise how difficult it is. Step one failed, probably for the best as it would have been difficult to run a hockey team from scratch