Initiation (U7) Program (Cross-ice / Half-ice hockey)
The U7 “initiation program” is a hockey program designed for 4, 5 & 6-year olds. It is Hockey Canada’s premiere “Learn to Play” program and is the foundation of skills development for all hockey in the Mississauga Hockey League. The goal is to make a child’s first contact with hockey a fun, safe, and positive experience. The fun, non-competitive environment allows beginners to learn age appropriate skills and become contributing members of a team, develop confidence, and experience personal achievement. The U7 Program promotes the belief that if the introduction to hockey is a positive one, the players will develop a lifetime love of the game.
Cross-ice / half-ice hockey has always been part of the initiation program, but has not been implemented in the same way in every community across Canada. Commencing for 2017-18, cross-ice / half-ice hockey is mandatory at the Initiation level.
Cross-ice / half-ice hockey at the inititation age effectively right-sizes the playing surface for young players:
- You don’t put 5 & 6-year olds on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball on a full-sized court with no height adjustments – hockey is no different.
- Cross-ice / half-ice hockey allows young players the opportunity for more
puck-touches which promotes greater opportunity for skill-development (puck-handling,
shooting, skating, coordination) and decision-making.
- Players on cross-ice / half-ice have been shown to receive five times more passes and take six times more shots than when they are on a full-sized rink.
- Small area games are used at all levels of the game – including senior national teams and the NHL.
For further details, or to download program guides and other material, please visit Hockey Canada at,
Shrink the rink to increase the fun!