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Learn to Play ... Love to Play!

At the OMHA, we believe 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.

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.

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 

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!

  • Half-ice/cross-ice hockey at the Initiation age effectively right-sizes the playing surface for young players:
  • Cross-ice/half-ice hockey allows young players the opportunity for more puck-touches which promotes greater opportunity for skill-development (puck-handling, shooting, skating, coordination) and decision-making
  • Players on cross-ice/half-ice have been shown to receive five times more passes and take six times more shots than when they are on a full-sized rink

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.

Resource Videos

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​

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