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How Your Kid Benefits from 3-on-3 & 4-on-4 Hockey

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/26/20, 6:15PM EDT


Focus remains on fun, skill development and teamwork

Photo Credit: Tim Bates/OJHL Photography

As we slowly return to the game we love, hockey will look different from what we have grown to expect every season. As associations and players work through the stages of Return to Hockey, Stage 3 includes modified gameplay formats with the safety of the player in mind.  

Modified gameplay will be delivered in either a 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 format and although this breaks from tradition, the focus remains on fun, skill development and teamwork. With fewer teammates on the bench and more space on the ice, players will have increased opportunity to utilize skills developed in practice. 

Many coaches practice plans will include small area games which translate directly to modified gameplay. These situations give players the opportunity to work on their skills more frequently as they are getting more puck touches, covering more ice and engaged in the play for longer durations. The additional time and space that these players create will lead to an increase in offensive opportunities. Players will also be in situations where they have to defend more often which will increase their hockey IQ on both side of the puck. Goalies will also need to be more engaged throughout games as transitional play will be frequent and scoring opportunities will occur more often. With an increase in skill repetition, players will gain confidence in their ability, to execute these skills in game-like situations; tools they can carry with them regardless of the format. 

The additional time and space that these players create will lead to an increase in offensive opportunities. 

Coaches will also be challenged creatively when planning for practices and games as the format has changed. Coaches will need to re-think drill design and game execution to put their players in situations where they can be successful.

While the season is going to look different from every other season, the goal remains the same; to create the best minor hockey experience in Canada, doing everything for the betterment of the game, creating better people and stronger communities.

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