How a Player gets that first taste of Hockey is crucial
The Initiation Program 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. The Initiation Program is crucial in building the skills of house league and competitive players alike. Children learn through participating in practice drills and informal modified games. The Initiation Program is closely aligned with Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model.
What is the Initiation Program?
The Initiation Program is Hockey Canada’s premiere ‘Learn to Play’ program and is the foundation of skills development for hockey in the OMHA.
The Hockey Canada Initiation Program is designed for players 5 and 6 years old but is suitable for any entry level hockey player and clearly lays out how to get them started in hockey so that they will: have fun; learn skills, and develop confidence.
The program consists of four phases of instruction, designed for any entry-level hockey player, helping introduce the skills of skating, passing, puck control and shooting in a progressive, one-step-at-a-time manner.
4 oz. Lightweight Blue Puck
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.
Cornerstones of the Initiation Program
Cross-Ice & Half-Ice hockey allows each player to spend developing skills for future success and enjoyment in the game.
For more experienced players, instead of the comfort of open ice, they are forced to make quicker decisions because the game area is smaller - which makes them better. The players that are less experienced improve because they spend more time with the puck.
For all players, more ice-time and more repetitions mean increased development.
Hockey Canada Mandate
To accept the recommendation that the Initiation age group shall only use cross ice, or half ice for all game play effective the 2017-18 season. Full ice games shall not be permitted.
The OMHA has created the following resource document to support our member Centres with the implementation and delivery of the Cross-Ice & Half-Ice hockey this season including what 'Game Day' looks like and several options for rink configurations.
Initiation Program - An in depth look
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