The Oakville Hornets are excited to embrace and implement Hockey Canada’s new development model for tyke and novice players. At a recent OWHA conference Hockey Canada offered reasons why they are taking a new approach to engaging and developing youth players.
A couple of highlights that caught our attention included:
- Hockey is one of the few sports that does not have age appropriate development programming. Think about soccer and the small area games and small nets, and volleyball with small court sizes and lower nets.
- Canada is one of the last jurisdictions to offer age appropriate programming for youth hockey players from ages 4 - 8.
Why is this a good thing for youth hockey organizations?
- It encourages increased engagement and movement in practices and games
- Kids touch the puck more and have more opportunities to stop a play or start a play
- Kids are engaged as soon as the puck drops
The Hornets introduced Hockey Canada’s new format at the tyke age group last season. The program included one weekly practice with stations for kids to practice a variety of skills in a small area. In addition to a practice there was a cross-ice and/or half-ice game each week. The program had an in-house festival tournament and a festival with Mississauga. The feedback from parents was positive. Parents appreciated the following about the new format:
- how engaged their daughter was in multiple practice stations - lots of movement and not standing around
- how involved their daughter was in small area games - having the opportunity to stop and score goals frequently
- Getting to play every second shift in games amounting to significantly more ice time compared to a full ice format
Tyke format for 2018-19
- Format similar to last season - skills development, small area games, cross-ice, and leading to half-ice games in second part of season
- Four teams up to 16 players - teams have blended practices where players are mixed with each other grouped by skill levels
- Hockey Canada rules require girls born in 2012/2013/2014 to play tyke
*NEW* Novice format for 2018-19
- There will be two divisions of 4 teams separated by age groups
- Girls born in 2010 will play full ice games after the first 8 weeks
- Girls born in 2011 will play half-ice games for the full season.