Initiation Program

Cross-Ice Hockey

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.

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.

 

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