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01-02-2011, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Country: Canada
Posts: 489
vCash: 50
I coach an Initiation team in Alberta although we call ourselves Tom Thumb because our team is mostly 6 year olds in their second or third year of hockey. We play full ice games, although we are in one tournament later this year that will be half ice. I like full ice for games because it allows players a little more time and space with the puck. Is there really a big benefit to more touches on the puck when all the player has time to do is clear it blindly up ice? I definitely see the advantage of close quarters games and use them as scrimmages in practice often but I find that at this age games are about excitement as much as development. A player who is not excited about hockey will not remain a player for long.

This link is to Hockey Canada's Initiation manual, pages 10 and 11 discuss several models to design an Initiation program around based on the makeup of your team, interesting reading if you are a coach at this level.

We do play away games in two arenas that have slightly smaller ice surfaces (70'x160' or so) and these are great for our guys but they are still way bigger than half ice and have proper boards all the way around. As for decreasing the net size, this seems a little silly to me, although if you took away the top 12" where one in 20 kids can raise it and the goalie can't reach that might be an OK idea.

That brings to mind another question, do the rest of you assign positions at this age or dress goalies? We split our team into two groups and play one as forward and switch them every 4-6 weeks with the defenceman taking turns at goal rotating shift by shift (no goal pads, just a goalie stick). We are considering assigning positions at the end of the year based on where they have played best and playing a tournament or two like that. Hope you don't mind the hijack OP.

Last edited by madmutter: 01-02-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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