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Youth divisions: Age ranges and skill level?

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07-17-2013, 03:12 PM
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CharleeMum
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Youth divisions: Age ranges and skill level?

We're a Canadian family who will be moving to the US shortly. Our daughter (will be 6 in October) has been playing hockey for the last 2 years and I'm sure what division this would put her into when we move to the US. Or what the age ranges are etc.

Note that in our town (a Canadian hockey development center) the kids spend the first two years doing primarily skills practice (two 1 hour sessions per week) and playing short scrimages only. i.e. she has not played a full game of "real" hockey.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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07-17-2013, 11:54 PM
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Depending on where you go most likely they will be using the ADM model there.

She will be playing Mites 6u cross ice games. It is supposed to be restricted to 1 practice and 1 game a week, but most places tend to do more games which I am not really a fan of. I'd prefer 2-3 practices a week with 15 minute scrimmages at the end. Kids that young driving around to play insignificant games really defeats the purpose of ADM but every place seems to do it, unless you do house league.

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07-18-2013, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleeMum View Post
We're a Canadian family who will be moving to the US shortly. Our daughter (will be 6 in October) has been playing hockey for the last 2 years and I'm sure what division this would put her into when we move to the US. Or what the age ranges are etc.

Note that in our town (a Canadian hockey development center) the kids spend the first two years doing primarily skills practice (two 1 hour sessions per week) and playing short scrimages only. i.e. she has not played a full game of "real" hockey.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
As Beardacus says, it will depend on where you are, but will likely be ADM. I am in a fairly good hockey area for the US and a 6 yr old will typically be in mini-mite or if experienced enough, mite (8U). Hard to say where your daughter would be without seeing her, but again, it will likely depend on the area. I had a 6 yr old on my mite team this year who was ok. Hard to say if he will play up his entire career or not. There is a bit of a schism right now at the U8 level though where USA Hockey mandates no full ice games and station based practices. This is the ADM and the idea is to make it like pond hockey where things are tight and the players get lots of chances with the puck and learn to be creative as opposed to being locked into systems and positions. There are some associations though that don't buy into this and have broken away. So, there are 8U associations that are playing full ice.

In our association, when we do play games, we just let them play. We don't keep score (although the kids do) and there are no defined positions or rules really. It's just 4 on 4 doing what they can with the puck. So, even the 7 and 8 yr olds haven't played "real games" as you call it. But my 8 yr old is in a summer program where he is practicing with 10Us (squirt) and they played a full ice game the other day and other than off sides, he did fine. I'm with Beardacus in that, I think skills and low key games are best for the kids at this age, and traveling for games is a diminishing returns proposition. I think in general, the ADM is a good direction for youth hockey.

Where will you be moving to?

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07-21-2013, 01:12 AM
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This is the ADM and the idea is to make it like pond hockey where things are tight and the players get lots of chances with the puck and learn to be creative as opposed to being locked into systems and positions. There are some associations though that don't buy into this and have broken away. So, there are 8U associations that are playing full ice.
I haven't seen it yet but I am reading that a lot of the better programs in the NE are moving away from the ADM model for 7-8 years old and dividing Mites into Mite Major/Minor and having 2nd year (majors) play full ice. I think a lot of programs are having trouble with kids who never played full ice jumping right into it at Squirt level.

I like what the ADM model inspires to be but I just feel like many rinks are just using it as an excuse to stuff more kids on the ice. I have read that there are actually a lot of rules to ADM besides just cross ice and no score keeping, but most programs dont bother using them.

I know this involves starting another topic but the hypocrisy in many programs and ADM is pretty sad imo. Instead of promoting the sport I think all they are doing is stuffing rinks/organization pockets but not really doing what is necessary to grow the sport at a longer term level. I had to learn things on my own but I was lucky to have friends with kids slightly older than mine to learn what is really going on before shelling out unnecessary $$$.

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07-22-2013, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Beardacus View Post
I haven't seen it yet but I am reading that a lot of the better programs in the NE are moving away from the ADM model for 7-8 years old and dividing Mites into Mite Major/Minor and having 2nd year (majors) play full ice. I think a lot of programs are having trouble with kids who never played full ice jumping right into it at Squirt level.
I've heard this before, but to me, it's just goofy. It really doesn't take that long for the kids to pick up full ice. The only issue really, is the off sides. If it's that much of a problem, then why not do the major/minor at the squirt level rather than mite? I just don't get it. From what I saw this past spring, it took the new squirts about 2 or 3 games to figure out off sides for the most part. Yes, there were a few laggards, but really not a big deal. In a fall/winter season, with several weeks of practice, it shouldn't be much of an issue at all. What other sport on earth (soccer, baseball, football, basketball, etc. etc.) has their 8 yr olds playing on a field/court/rules the same dimensions as adults? None that I can think of. Ok, maybe curling. Seriously though, it's not just hockey, the basic tenets of the ADM are taken from the LDM, which is a broad youth sport development model that has been adopted by most major Olympic sport organizations around the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beardacus View Post
I like what the ADM model inspires to be but I just feel like many rinks are just using it as an excuse to stuff more kids on the ice. I have read that there are actually a lot of rules to ADM besides just cross ice and no score keeping, but most programs dont bother using them.
Well, if they're using it as an excuse to stuff more kids on the ice, based on USAHs most recent participation numbers, it isn't working very well. I don't necessarily see this where I am, but my experience may not be broadly applicable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beardacus View Post
I know this involves starting another topic but the hypocrisy in many programs and ADM is pretty sad imo. Instead of promoting the sport I think all they are doing is stuffing rinks/organization pockets but not really doing what is necessary to grow the sport at a longer term level. I had to learn things on my own but I was lucky to have friends with kids slightly older than mine to learn what is really going on before shelling out unnecessary $$$.
This probably depends on where you are. I'm not sure what they need to do to grow the sport. Reverse global warming? Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on your perspective), it's always going to be a fringe sport in the US. I'm not sure how you'd grow the sport numbers wise, but you can develop the quality of the sport with good youth programs for those who are in it.

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07-22-2013, 12:48 PM
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Being the father of a mite (2006 birthyear), cross/half ice simply makes sense. The stat that really caught my attention is that it takes a 7 years old the same amount of strides to skate half of the ice than it does an adult to skate the full lenght of the ice.

However having watched this in action IMO it keeps the kids much more involved and they have a lot more touches than full ice. It also creates something that actually looks like hockey instead of the better skaters taking the puck and going in on breakaway after breakaway.

The only other suggestion that I would make for ADM would be to make the goal smaller. I know that they want to encourage scoring, but if they are going to make the playing field proportional to the size/age of the kids, the goal should also be smaller. It's hard enough for young goalies to skate around in goalie gear, but it's extremely hard for a kid who is under 4 feet tall defend a goal that is 4x6.

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07-22-2013, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com View Post
Being the father of a mite (2006 birthyear), cross/half ice simply makes sense. The stat that really caught my attention is that it takes a 7 years old the same amount of strides to skate half of the ice than it does an adult to skate the full lenght of the ice.

However having watched this in action IMO it keeps the kids much more involved and they have a lot more touches than full ice. It also creates something that actually looks like hockey instead of the better skaters taking the puck and going in on breakaway after breakaway.

The only other suggestion that I would make for ADM would be to make the goal smaller. I know that they want to encourage scoring, but if they are going to make the playing field proportional to the size/age of the kids, the goal should also be smaller. It's hard enough for young goalies to skate around in goalie gear, but it's extremely hard for a kid who is under 4 feet tall defend a goal that is 4x6.
My son is an '05. So, last year he was a first year. At the end of the season, we had a coaches v players game on the big sheet. They hadn't played any full ice all season, so, they were kind of excited to be playing coaches and playing on full ice. Unfortunately, some of the coaches got carried away and controlled the puck a bit too much. After the game, I asked my son how he liked it and he said he hated it. I asked him why and his response,.. "I never touched the puck". Kids want to touch the puck and be involved. Small area games do that. Next year he will be an 8 yr old mite and is a good skater. On full ice he would be skating circles around most of the 7 yr olds. On half/cross, he'll have to get more creative. Everyone is engaged and happy.

It totally makes sense to me too, which is why I'm always at a loss when I encounter somebody like one of my beer league teammates who put his 7 yr old son in another association because he didn't want him "doing any of that cross-ice BS".

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07-22-2013, 09:51 PM
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My son was in the first grouping of cross ice as a Mite....he is an 03. Playing all those small area games was critical in his skill development. ANYONE who says it doesnt make sense simply doesnt get it.

Find a program that adopts the ADM model and make sure your Mite has fun and the rest will fall into place. If you are in New England feel free to PM me with questions.

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08-05-2013, 09:36 AM
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My 7 year old son was asked to fill in for a AAA mite team in goal this past weekend. I didn't realize until we got there that they play full ice so this was my son's first experience in a full game (13 minute stopped clock) playing full ice. After watching the game, I can say that I am fully on board with cross/half ice games for kids under 8.

Full ice games become a track meet for the faster skaters as the number of breakways and odd man rushes in the game far exceeded anything you would expect to see in a hockey game. On the flip side, there would be 3-5 minutes where there wouldn't be a single scoring chance, let alone a shot on goal.

Even if my son wasn't a goalie I wouldn't feel any differently. Kids don't get nearly as many touches in a 39 minute game as they would in a cross/half ice game and you can see by the 3rd period that the kids didn't have nearly as much jump as they did in the first period.

Every other sport shortens the playing field for younger kids. There's no reason why hockey shouldn't do the same.

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