What will change about the Ice Puppy program this year?
We will remain with 12 teams with 6 game times. Kids will play on half ice with two games running at a time. One line will be on the bench and then each line will play two shifts before taking a break. As a result, kids will get double the ice time from last year. Each game will have goalies.
Why do we have to implement this?
In order to improve development, Hockey Canada has issued a mandate that games for all children under 6 must be played at half ice. All associations in Canada are expected to implement in the 2017 season.
Why is hockey Canada requiring this?
Programs like these have been running in Europe and the US for years and Canada is falling behind. Some provinces have already executed with very successful results. They anticipate that player development and enjoyment of the game will significantly improve.
Are there proven benefits?
Yes, hockey Canada has done a study to show where executed there are substantially more opportunities to touch the puck with smaller ice surfaces:
- 6x more shots on goal/player
- 5x more passes received/player
- 2x more puck battles/player
- 2x more puck touches/player
- 2x more pass attempts/player
- 2x more shot attempts/player
- 2x more change of direction pivots
- 75 shots/minute vs 0.45 shots/minute playing full ice
What about my kid who is a strong skater?
We believe that this type of program will help your strong skater be an even better skater by teaching him/her how to maneuver in the corners, learn to accelerate quickly and start and stop as required to handle the puck. Traditional skating skills will also still be developed as part of practices and power skating.
Is this really ‘real’ hockey?
This type of implementation is no different than what soccer does (by offering a shorter field) and basketball does (by lowering the rim). You wouldn’t need your child to ride an adult bike to call it ‘real’ bike riding. We are still teaching the concepts of the game and developing team hockey players.
What will happen with the Select 6 program?
This program will continue to be offered for 6 year olds based on a selection process that will take place after the regular house league evaluations. There will still be an extra cost to this program. This will be identified before you are require to commit. It is still not clear whether or not the mandate for half ice is required for this program and we will advise before the season begins.