The Hockey Canada U11 program has been designed to give young players the best experience possible on the ice, which will lead to more skills, more ice time and more fun! After extensive research and studies, it is clear that age-appropriate programming for under-11-aged players helps develop the finer points of hockey, and will benefit them as players in the long term.
Q: Are local hockey associations permitted to tier U11 teams, or should all teams be balanced?
Teams are permitted to be tiered to provide a grouping of skill that allows for meaningful competition. If there are multiple U11 teams, it is recommended the teams are balanced (ie. if there are two U11 A teams in the same association, it is recommended these teams are balanced).
Q: Are teams required to reach the maximum number of recommended games or practices?
Teams do not have to play or practice up to the maximum numbers, as outlined in the seasonal structure. Many local hockey associations have different ice allocations and facility availability, so schedules can be developed based on the availability up to the maximum number of recommended games or practices.
Q: What should the content of the ice sessions be for the four development sessions prior to evaluation/selection/ tryouts?
The sessions should be focused on the fundamental skills of skating, puck-handling, passing and shooting, along with small-area games to prepare players for the evaluation/selection/tryout process. Hockey Canada and its Members have developed four sample ice-session plans for local hockey associations to utilize. The goal is to provide players an opportunity to be on the ice and revisit these skills prior to evaluation/selection/tryouts.
Q: What drills should be used for evaluation/selection/ tryouts?
The best drills are ones designed to provide evaluators/coaches with a good snapshot of a player’s ability so they can be placed on teams with like-skilled players. The onice drills should be a combination of skating, puck-handling, small-area games and game play as part of a well-rounded process. Hockey Canada and its Members have developed sample evaluation ice-session plans for local hockey associations to utilize. The goal is to provide players a chance to experience a fair evaluation of their skills, competitive mindset and hockey sense.
Q: Are seasonal breaks required?
Seasonal breaks are not mandatory but are recommended as a “good practice” for players to have a chance to re-charge, for coaches to attend professional development sessions and for families to engage in activities and not have to worry about missing scheduled hockey activities.
Q: Is it mandatory for players to rotate positions?
It is not mandatory, but it is beneficial for players to play different positions to assist in developing their overall skill and hockey sense. At the U11 level there is no need for a player to only be a right winger or left defence; rotating positions will give all players a chance to experience the game from different positions and ultimately develop wellrounded players.