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Initiation Program

Learn to Play ... Love to Play!

The Initiation Program is Hockey Canada’s premiere ‘Learn to Play’ program for beginning hockey and is the foundation of skills development for hockey in the OMHA.  

The OMHA believes that players who learn the skills of the game are more inclined to enjoy playing. If they have the skills to play, they will love the game.

Hockey Canada developed the Initiation Program to make children's first contact with hockey a safe and positive experience. It's a structured, learn-to-play hockey program designed to introduce beginners to the game's basic skills. It enables participants to become contributing members of a team effort, develop self-confidence, and experience a sense of personal achievement. These goals are achieved in an atmosphere of fun and fair play.

Initiation Program - An in depth look

Benefits of the Initiation Program include:

  • Fun for all participants

  • Age appropriate skill development

  • More puck touches

  • Maximum ice usage

  • Increased competition for all players 

Initiation Program | Curriculum & Resources

Cross-Ice Hockey | Reduce the Space. Increase the Fun!

The Initiation Program provides children to learn fundamental movement and fundamental sport skills in a quality sport program tailored just for them. The program maximizes ice utilization through the use of Teaching Stations and Cross-Ice Games. More puck touches means more skill development and more fun! in the Cross-Ice environment, a player's activity increases and so does their skill set and love of the game!

Like other sports, in addition to reducing the size of the playing surface, the OMHA also uses the 4 oz. Lightweight Blue Puck, giving players the opportunity develop confidence in their puck control and shooting skills.

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.

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​

How to Implement in your Association

Implementing the Initiation Program in your minor hockey association is easy and we have all the reources to help get your program started. Its because of the emphasis on fun and skill development that we are asking associations, teams, coaches and parents to include the benefits of cross-ice hockey and station-based practices and adopt the Initiation Program. Doing so is an important part oif the development process at this age.

Need help getting your program going? Contact the OMHA and our consultants will work with you to implement a quality Initiation Program!

Host an IP Fun Festival

Initiation Program Fun Festivals were created as a venue to showcase the Initiation Program in communities and expose players, parents, coaches and minor hockey association administrators to the benefits of the program.