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Learn to Play ... Love to Play!

Novice & Below

How a Player gets that first taste of Hockey is crucial

The FUNdamental stages of Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model 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 and it is crucial in building the skills of house league and competitive players alike.  Children learn through participating in practice drills and informal modified games which forms the basis of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD)

Transition to Cross-Ice Hockey

The goals and objectives of Initiation & Novice hockey programming are to:

  • Teach all of the basic skills of hockey so players can enjoy the game
  • Assist in the development and enhancement of physical literacy and basic motor patterns
  • Develop and encourage the concepts of being a team member through player participation in both on-ice and off-ice activities,
  • Encourage the aspects of fitness, fair play and co-operation while having fun playing the game. 
  • Age-Appropriate - Designed practice and game play that is appropriate to the age, size and skill level of the participant


Hockey Canada has established national guidelines to ensure optimal development of hockey players at this crucial introductory stage:

Game play at the Novice age-group and below will be Cross/Half-ice effective 2019-20

Programming in the Ontario Hockey Federation, which Ontario Minor Hockey is a member, will be implemented as follows: 

  1. Effective 2017-18 - Game play for the Initiation age-group (5 & 6 year-olds) will be Cross-Ice
  2. Effective 2018-19 - Game play for the Tyke age-group (7 year-olds) will be Half-Ice. 
  3. Effective 2019-20 - Game play for the Novice age-group (8 year-olds) will be Half-Ice during the first half of the season and transition to Full-Ice during the second half of the season.


The OMHA has created the following resource document to support our member Centres with the implementation and delivery of the Programming Novice & Below including Cross-Ice & Half-Ice game play.

Resource Videos

Initiation Program - An in-depth look

NHL Analytics Tracking of 8 year-old Hockey Players

A cutting-edge NHL analytics team compared cross-ice hockey to full-ice, quantifying small-area advantages​

From Child's View, Parents Find Full-Ice Hockey No Fun

Have a glimpse into what playing on a full-size rink feels like to a young player when adults are asked to play on a supersized rink.

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