Cross-Ice Hockey, Reduce the Ice, Increase the FUN!, News (Guelph Minor Hockey)

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Cross-Ice Hockey, Reduce the Ice, Increase the FUN!
Submitted By Jen Brisbin on Friday, September 22, 2017
Hockey Canada believes that hockey should be, first and foremost, fun for all participants. A big part of delivering on that is ensuring the programming is age-appropriate. Cross-ice/half-ice hockey has always been part of the Initiation Program, but has not been implemented in the same way in every community – beginning this fall (2017-18 season), cross-ice/half-ice is mandatory at the Initiation level.

The Initiation Program serves as the foundation upon which the entire minor hockey association is built.  Youngsters at every level of play benefit from getting the “right start” in the game. The Initiation Program is crucial in building the skills of house league and competitive players alike. Children learn through participating in practice drills and informal modified games.  The Initiation Program is closely aligned with Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model. 

Cross-ice/half-ice hockey at the Initiation age effectively right-sizes the playing surface for young players:

  • You don't put five- and six-year-olds on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball on a full-sized court with no height adjustments – hockey is no different.
  • Cross-ice/half-ice hockey allows young players the opportunity for more puck-touches which promotes greater opportunity for skill development (puck-handling, shooting, skating, coordination) and decision-making.
    • Players on cross-ice/half-ice have been shown to receive five times more passes and take six times more shots than when they are on a full-sized rink.
    • Small-area games are used at all levels of the game – including senior national teams and the NHL.The benefits of cross-ice/half-ice hockey go beyond player development; the special boards and bumpers allow minor hockey associations to alleviate pressure around scheduling and ice-time availability by safely allowing multiple practices and games to take place on one rink at the same time.

For more information please take a look at the Hockey Canada and OMHA websites.
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