Seasonal Structure for U11 Hockey
Learn about the annual calendar and seasonal phases
The U11 level is the first to differentiate between recreation and competitive programming. The timelines for each phase are meant to be maximums, but each phase can be shorter based on local logistics. The number of games and practices are also recommendations by Hockey Canada supported by the Long-Term Player Development Model.
The Ideal Season
Young players have an opportunity to continue their development while having a positive and fun hockey experience. The ideal season does not conflict with the start of the school year, provides a fair evaluation/selection/tryout process and is structured to maximize development o pportunities.
The U11 Player Pathway and corresponding coaching materials provide progressive and incremental skill development. By using the Hockey Canada Skills Manuals on the Hockey Canada Network and Drill Hub, coaches are provided with the framework for practice sessions that meet the needs of their players. The seasonal goals should correspond with the U11 Skills Matrix (Section 5) that outlines the skills players should be exposed to throughout the season.
Annual Calendar and Seasonal Phases
PHASE 1: Preparation/Evaluation Phase
(Up to 2 weeks)
- No evaluation/selection/tryouts during the off-season phase (March through August).
- No evaluation/selection/tryouts prior to the first week of school, or during the first week if it starts the week after Labour Day.
- Where school starts prior to Labour Day, there must be four skates/ practices starting the week following Labour Day before evaluation/ selection/tryouts commence.
- Minimum of four practices/skill sessions prior to formal evaluation/ selection/tryouts starting.
- Minimum of three formal evaluation/selection/tryout sessions.
- One skills session, one small-area games session, one game.
- Players should be encouraged to play both forward and defence.
- Players should be selected based on skill, not positional preference.
PHASE 2: Development Phase
(Up to 4 weeks)
- Ideal practice-to-game ratio is 2:1 – two practices to one game played.
- Focus on skill development:
- Fundamental movement skills: striding, turning, stopping
- Manipulation skills: shooting, passing, puck control
- Motor skills: agility, balance, coordination
- Fun and safe environment to promote self-confidence.
PHASE 3: Regular Season Phase (Up to 22 weeks)
- Recommended maximum of 46 games per season (exhibition, league, playoff/tournament).
- Recommended seasonal breaks:
- Season should allow for two seasonal breaks (not including Christmas/long weekends).
- Minimum five days without a scheduled game or mandatory practice.
PHASE 4: Playoff/Tournament Phase (Up to 4 weeks)
- Tournament-style playoffs (no elimination rounds).
- Continue to reinforce skill-development elements in practices.
Seasonal Structure - Recreational
Seasonal Structure - Competitive