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Youth Hockey Question-Canada

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01-16-2010, 12:21 PM
  #1
Bruwinz37
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Youth Hockey Question-Canada

How is youth hockey formatted in Canada? Do Mites (Atoms?) play a full ice format or do they do cross ice?

Reason I ask is that a new American Development Model is being put in place where Mites will play cross ice (only some states are doing this right now) and ultimately Mites wont play full ice at all until they graduate to Squirts.

Reason behind this is to give each kid more touches on the puck and develop skills without chasing down a puck on a big sheet.

There are certainly pros and cons to this but from what I have seen it is working well as kids do get the puck on their stick a lot more than they would have and it keeps kids engaged in the game where they may be left out on a full ice.

So long question short....how does Canada format youth hockey? Both Travel and House. I guess the biggest difference is that kids in Canada likely get a lot more ice time based on having easy access to frozen ponds where even here in the Northeast it tends to be hit and miss and for much shorter durations.

Any and all thoughts welcome...European input would be great too.

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01-16-2010, 12:39 PM
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rtl1334
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It may vary in different parts of Canada but my experience has shown they play on a full sheet of ice from Tyke (Mini Novice) and onward. They are definitely on a full sheet of ice by Novice (7-8).

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01-16-2010, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
How is youth hockey formatted in Canada? Do Mites (Atoms?) play a full ice format or do they do cross ice?

Reason I ask is that a new American Development Model is being put in place where Mites will play cross ice (only some states are doing this right now) and ultimately Mites wont play full ice at all until they graduate to Squirts.

Reason behind this is to give each kid more touches on the puck and develop skills without chasing down a puck on a big sheet.

There are certainly pros and cons to this but from what I have seen it is working well as kids do get the puck on their stick a lot more than they would have and it keeps kids engaged in the game where they may be left out on a full ice.

So long question short....how does Canada format youth hockey? Both Travel and House. I guess the biggest difference is that kids in Canada likely get a lot more ice time based on having easy access to frozen ponds where even here in the Northeast it tends to be hit and miss and for much shorter durations.

Any and all thoughts welcome...European input would be great too.
As with frozen ponds as a rule you will not see alot of practices out doors for many reasons.Sure kids where go and play pick up but you won't see team useing frozen ponds they might now and then but thats rare.Icetime in canada in most citys is hard to come by.

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01-16-2010, 01:50 PM
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When I was in mite/tyke and novice, both the practices and games were on full ice

Fast forward a decade with the arena crunch in Alberta, mite and novice have practices in half ice and games on full ice

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01-16-2010, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wjhl2009fan View Post
As with frozen ponds as a rule you will not see alot of practices out doors for many reasons.Sure kids where go and play pick up but you won't see team useing frozen ponds they might now and then but thats rare.Icetime in canada in most citys is hard to come by.
The point about ponds was that kids have more time to play hockey in general...not for practices whereas in the US a lot of kids are ONLY playing on rinks so one school of thought is that 5-8 year olds on full ice sheets dont get enough "touches" on the puck hence the move to cross ice.

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01-16-2010, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
The point about ponds was that kids have more time to play hockey in general...not for practices whereas in the US a lot of kids are ONLY playing on rinks so one school of thought is that 5-8 year olds on full ice sheets dont get enough "touches" on the puck hence the move to cross ice.
That is a good point

Alot of people are pushing for half ice games for the kids, 4 on 4, with two games going at once. It is also wanted to help with the lack of ice time issue.

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01-16-2010, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CanadaBacon View Post
That is a good point

Alot of people are pushing for half ice games for the kids, 4 on 4, with two games going at once. It is also wanted to help with the lack of ice time issue.
We have done both half ice 4 v 4 and cross ice 3 v 3. At first I was opposed but on both the travel team I coach and house league I see a wide spread improvement from all players where I dont think (although I dont know) I would see the same development. Its an interesting discussion anyway and although I fought it at first I think it will be better for the development of the kids and thats what it is about.

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01-16-2010, 02:43 PM
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Kids here play full ice, with black pucks and pegs in the goal posts from day one (age 4).
In some areas outside of the Toronto area they use the blue (lighter) pucks from age 4 to 6.
Also there is no age limitation on slap shots here either and they allow tag up offside.
Sorry but the US rules suck IMHO. When my son played down there at age 9 it was a joke. No pegs in the goal posts and the goalie would just conveniently push push the net off when in trouble, no tag up offside and no slap shots

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01-16-2010, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Nbr-17 View Post
Kids here play full ice, with black pucks and pegs in the goal posts from day one (age 4).
In some areas outside of the Toronto area they use the blue (lighter) pucks from age 4 to 6.
Also there is no age limitation on slap shots here either and they allow tag up offside.
Sorry but the US rules suck IMHO. When my son played down there at age 9 it was a joke. No pegs in the goal posts and the goalie would just conveniently push push the net off when in trouble, no tag up offside and no slap shots
I have never once heard of a limitation on slap shots. Your "assesment" seems to be based on one specific area that I dont think is universal to US hockey.

I believe the lighter blue pucks are good for kids in developing their stickhandling however.

No offense but you sound like you are more caught up in the score of the game than how the kids actually develop their skills.

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01-17-2010, 01:46 PM
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Some input from Europe. In Switzerland it's 4:4 cross-ice until the age of ten (This year: kids born in 99 and younger). Checking and slap-shots not allowed. Regular pucks.

Most of the more skilled players will also play in the next higher category (97/98): full-ice, no restrictions. Kids are allowed to play in both categories.

I think it's optimal to do both. Cross-ice develops mobility/agility. 4:4 keeps things simple and the kids develop passing among them (it's easy to remember to play in a square, less distance between them calls for passes), lower distances do not favour one player to be ahead of everybody else).

It's definitely a plus for the goalies: much more shots, more traffic in front of the net.

Remember: full ice is meant for professional athletes. It's probably way too big for all of us beer-league players

Two years ago they tried to introduce full-ice 7:7 for U10. A total disaster. Much too complicated...


Last edited by krax: 01-17-2010 at 03:03 PM.
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01-17-2010, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krax View Post
Some input from Europe. In Switzerland it's 4:4 cross-ice until the age of ten (This year: kids born in 99 and younger). Checking and slap-shots not allowed.

Most of the more skilled players will also play in the next higher category (97/98): full-ice, no restrictions. Kids are allowed to play in both categories.

I think it's optimal to do both. Cross-ice develops mobility/agility. 4:4 keeps things simple and the kids develop passing among them (it's easy to remember to play in a square, less distance between them calls for passes), lower distances do not favour one player to be ahead of everybody else).

It's definitely a plus for the goalies: much more shots, more traffic in front of the net.

Remember: full ice is meant for professional athletes. It's probably way to big for all of us beer-league players

Two years ago they tried to introduce full-ice 7:7 for U10. A total disaster. Much too complicated...

I dont find it too big for beer league. All it does is give you more area to wheel

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01-18-2010, 09:45 AM
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We are in the VA/MD area, but have played a bunch in the N.E. For the Mites/Squirts (7-8, and 9-10Yo) I've seen full ice, and for 6 and under its was 1/2 ice. No slap shots allowed until PeeWees (well kinda, you can go up to your waist, and no higher) and to be honest most of these kids have a decent front hand, and NO backhand, and I would think more work is needed on the "simple" shots....its also a safety issue...how high the sticks get up....

I also include the Montreal, Quebec, Ontario and Boston AAA Squirts teams in that summation...decent slap shot (which the refs allowed b/c it was "Boston" hockey and they don't follow all of US Hockey rules ie these AAA Squirt Minors were in a checking tourney last summer) but none had a decent backhand shot or pass....not a one.

Tag up offisdes would be ok for the higher levels, but A leagues have a hard enough time just getting kids to stay onsides normally.

I think the 1/2 ice for 3-6 YO's is good....there's no reason to have a neutral zone....or huge O and D zones ..course these are all IMO

I've only seen one team use the blue pucks....maybe for 3 and 4 YO's...but 6 or 7 ?? I wouldn't think so...

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01-18-2010, 06:20 PM
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I have never played a league game half ice, since 3 years, always full ice, black pucks slap shots allowed but no checking for some unknown reason.we went down to buffalo at age 8 first time and we were doing circles cause they played half ice, no tag up offsides, blue pucks and only one of the nets had pegs. I hate no tag up offsides seems lazy, conditioning is key to sports and especially in hockey. gotta train them at a young age to get the motive going.

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01-18-2010, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gojacketsgo61 View Post
I have never played a league game half ice, since 3 years, always full ice, black pucks slap shots allowed but no checking for some unknown reason.we went down to buffalo at age 8 first time and we were doing circles cause they played half ice, no tag up offsides, blue pucks and only one of the nets had pegs. I hate no tag up offsides seems lazy, conditioning is key to sports and especially in hockey. gotta train them at a young age to get the motive going.
I gotta say that I know my kids skate more during a 3 v 3 cross ice than full ice. My better kids probably skate a lot on the 5 v 5, but some of the other ones will give up hope of getting the puck.

At 5-8 I dont think that conditioning should be the key especially if they are getting more time with the puck on their stick. Also, I think the 3 on 3 makes for a lot of stops and starts which is a key to future success.

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01-18-2010, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
I gotta say that I know my kids skate more during a 3 v 3 cross ice than full ice. My better kids probably skate a lot on the 5 v 5, but some of the other ones will give up hope of getting the puck.

At 5-8 I dont think that conditioning should be the key especially if they are getting more time with the puck on their stick. Also, I think the 3 on 3 makes for a lot of stops and starts which is a key to future success.
yeah, but I do like 5v5 because it makes the transition easier. Also from 3-10 practices were always circle drills and random skating drills, coach only had 2 pucks for warmup's in games lol. But I still stand by my point that tag up offsides should be for every age group.

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01-20-2010, 05:04 PM
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In rural Manitoba the Squirts (Timbits) which are 6 and under play full ice, no rules like offsides etc. The Novices, 7/8 year olds, play full ice with regular hockey rules just no body contact. Atoms, 9/10 year olds, same rules as the Novices. Pee Wee's, 11/12 play full body contact.
I couldn't imagine playing half ice. I think its great that the kids get to play full ice and start to learn the different zones of the ice and all the proper rules. I personally wish body contact was in it from the beginning but thats for another topic.

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01-21-2010, 07:30 AM
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In rural Manitoba the Squirts (Timbits) which are 6 and under play full ice, no rules like offsides etc. The Novices, 7/8 year olds, play full ice with regular hockey rules just no body contact. Atoms, 9/10 year olds, same rules as the Novices. Pee Wee's, 11/12 play full body contact.
I couldn't imagine playing half ice. I think its great that the kids get to play full ice and start to learn the different zones of the ice and all the proper rules. I personally wish body contact was in it from the beginning but thats for another topic.
At the younger ages, pre 7 yrs old, I dont think full ice is necessary at all. There is no need to worry about zones, or checking, or offsides. Just let them skate, handle the puck and have fun. They will develop much better skills that way.

Even for the older kids who do play full-ice 5-on-5 in the regular season, I think playing 3-on-3 on half ice is a great way to practice skating and skills. My kids (girls) play 3-on-3 against boys in the spring and they love it.

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01-21-2010, 08:41 AM
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At the younger ages, pre 7 yrs old, I dont think full ice is necessary at all. There is no need to worry about zones, or checking, or offsides. Just let them skate, handle the puck and have fun. They will develop much better skills that way.

Even for the older kids who do play full-ice 5-on-5 in the regular season, I think playing 3-on-3 on half ice is a great way to practice skating and skills. My kids (girls) play 3-on-3 against boys in the spring and they love it.
I didnt say pre 7 year olds play with zones etc. Our squirt program (pre 7) plays with no rules and full ice. Having the full ice is nice because they arent always crashing into each other. Its pack style hockey at this age and its nice having the open ice for the kids utilize. It also really helps with their skating which is the most important part of hockey. Is it absolutely necessary to play full ice at this age, maybe not, but if you can, why not!
Our Novice (7/8) plays full rules and full ice. Remember, true skill development is done in practice, not in a game. That is where they get to showcase/practice the skills that they have learned in practice.
Unfortunately at the younger ages, the better players have the puck a heck of a lot more than the weaker players.

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01-21-2010, 01:36 PM
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Remember, true skill development is done in practice, not in a game. That is where they get to showcase/practice the skills that they have learned in practice.
That is a good point that I think gets overlooked. I think kids play too many games at the younger ages especially. My youngest is in her first season of rep hockey (minor Atom 9years old) and when you add up the all the games she will probably play this season in pre-season, tournaments, regular season, playoffs, provincials etc it could easily top 60 games, thats just for her girls rep team nevermind anything in the spring or summer. I vote less games and more practice.

Two of the girls on her rep team are also on a boys minor Atom AA team, I have no idea how they juggle that schedule?!

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01-21-2010, 04:55 PM
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That is a good point that I think gets overlooked. I think kids play too many games at the younger ages especially. My youngest is in her first season of rep hockey (minor Atom 9years old) and when you add up the all the games she will probably play this season in pre-season, tournaments, regular season, playoffs, provincials etc it could easily top 60 games, thats just for her girls rep team nevermind anything in the spring or summer. I vote less games and more practice.

Two of the girls on her rep team are also on a boys minor Atom AA team, I have no idea how they juggle that schedule?!

I agree totally. We have a 2:1 ratio with practices vs games here. However, last year my son played close to 90 games. He played for his own age plus full time with the group above. He practiced with both teams so he still kept that ratio. That was alot of hockey but he kept asking for more! lol

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01-21-2010, 05:05 PM
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Whatever works now, seems to do just fine. No reason to change it.

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