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U9 & Below Programming Model and Structure for 2023-24 Season

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 03/17/23, 10:00AM EDT

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Minor Development, Select, House League, Local League will be categories

The Pyramid has been the sporting model for generations. A wide base of new participants narrows quickly, and only the elite competitors climb to the top of the pyramid.

TODAY'S BROKEN MODEL
PYRAMID DOES NOT MAKE ROOM FOR ALL CHILDREN

But what about everyone else? The pressure to climb the pyramid, at the expense of long-term participation and well-rounded skill development, has parents, coaches, and program leaders looking for guidance and a different approach. They’ve seen too many kids drop-out, and they’re not alone.

This concern exists in almost every youth sport and the impact is real. Sports participation is declining. Without positive sport experiences, we see less demand for sport programming, fewer opportunities to participate, declining activity, and the absence of valuable life lessons that kids learn through sports.

SPORT FOR ALL, PLAY FOR LIFE MODEL 
BROAD ACCESS LEADS TO SUSTAINED PARTICIPATION
*Source - Canadian Sport for Life–Long-Term Athlete Development

OPPORTUNITY-BASED PROGRAMMING

A key philosophy in the Canadian Player Pathways at U9 and below is to provide equal opportunity to programming based on the desire of the player versus the skill of the player.

All players regardless of skill level must have the same access to ice if they desire to develop in the Hockey Canada system.  

This means that any Association offering Minor Development (MD) or Select in these age groups must provide an equal programming opportunity for any HL/LL player who wishes to participate at that frequency, regardless of that player’s skill level.

If Minor Development (MD) teams receive three (3) ice times per week, HL/LL Players must have the same opportunity to have access to Three (3) ice times per week if they desire.

Programming Benefits: 

  • Player focused program offering
  • More players developing, creating larger talent pool.
  • Greater retention of participants.
  • Meaningful competition - like-skill players playing against like-skill players
  • Better partnerships between Associations in geographic areas.
  • Ability to counter entrepreneurial hockey.

Effective the 2023-24 season, Minor Development, Select, House League, Local League will be the recognized categories for U9 and Below.

AGE

CATEGORIES

 

U9

Minor Development, Select, House League, Local League - Tiering of Players with no Streaming of Players in accordance with the U9 Player Pathway Under 9 years of age as of December 31st of the current season

U7

Minor Development, Select, House League, Local League - Tiering of Players with no Streaming of Players in accordance with the U7 Player Pathway Under 7 years of age as of December 31st of the current season

 

Seasonal Calendar

PREP PHASE

  • May begin Aug. 28 through Sep. 10
  • All players have access to a minimum of four (4) sessions prior to formal player evaluations.

EVALUATION PHASE

  • All Players must have at least three (3) evaluation sessions prior to tiering of Players.
  • No Evaluations the first week of school - Evaluations may begin Sep. 11

DEVELOPMENT PHASE

  • Must be a minimum of 14 days regardless of start date. 

 

Associations can provide sanctioned individual skills training or hockey schools beginning August 28, with the regular season starting as soon as October 2. All teams must be engaged in meaningful competition until March 1, 2024.

CLICK HERE FOR U9 and BELOW PLANS AND RESOURCES

Read More: ASPEN INSTITUTE – PROJECT PLAY Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game


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