It’s part of what happens off of the ice that shows how hockey is creating positive change within the game. Using modified ice surfaces and small area games to keep players involved with more puck touches creates and age-appropriate environment where players are encouraged to have fun and grow their skills.
“It’s a great example of willingness to change. We’re recognizing these are little kids, much like school – smaller desks, smaller chairs, smaller bikes – so we’re reducing the size of the playing surface to allow them to be more engaged,” said Ian Taylor, Executive Director of the OMHA.
“It’s nothing short of revelatory. At the house league level, where you have a wide array of children coming in at six, seven, eight into the system with kids who have been on the ice since they were two. They can play their cross-ice game on one-half of the sheet and they can still work on their skill,” echoed Fitz Gerald. “That kid who is the fastest on the full sheet of ice, you get the puck at your end and you’re gone, it’s just a race. They have to work on lateral mobility, quick movement with their feet, quick decision making. Children on the other side still get the confidence and develop at their own speed because they’re playing against children of their own ability. They can grow and feel confident and have fun that you’re playing, that you’re not getting wheelhoused.”