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It's Graduation Day!

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 01/15/20, 1:00PM EST


Major Novice (U9) players can now transition to full ice

Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

Today is the day! Since the start of the season, players have been focusing on developing the basic skills of hockey through increased playing time and puck touches on a half-ice playing surface. Now, Major Novice (U9) players can transition to a full-ice playing surface for their practices and games. Major Novice (U9) teams can also participate in full-ice tournaments.

With the transition to full-ice comes changes to how the game structure will be called. Offsides and icings will be called by the officials as well as penalties.

The coaches responsibility remains to develop all players to contribute to the outcome of a game, regardless of skill or ability. Fair and as close to equal ice time should be given to every player on the team, including on special teams and end of game situations.

Seasonal and Game Structure Changes After January 15th

  Before January 15 After January 15
Ice Surface Size Half-Ice Full-Ice
Game Format 4 vs. 4 5 vs. 5
Nets Small or Regulation Regulation
Shift Length Timed/Buzzer Regulation
Number of Officials 1 or 2 2
Face-offs Start Game Regulation
Offside and Icing No Regulation
Penalties Yes - Modified Regulation
Score No Regulation
Standings No Regulation


Note: This transition is only for Major Novice (U9) teams. Minor Novice (U8) teams will continue to play half-ice for the remainder of the season. For clarification please reach out to your local association.

The transition is part of the Player Pathways released by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Hockey Canada based on the Long Term Player Development Model. The Pathways are a progressive, learn-to-play teaching curriculum that prepares players to graduate from one age group to the next. The curriculums introduce, develop and refine the skills of skating, passing, puck control and shooting in a progressive, step-by-step manner.

The primary focus of the youth hockey system is to develop a lifelong passion for sport, develop important life skills through hockey, and provide young players exposure to a development system that is progressive in nature and meets their needs based on age-specific and skill-appropriate programming.

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