As you may be aware, in 2017 Hockey Canada mandated progressive, age appropriate modified ice hockey for players born in 2011 or later. The MHL and our Area Association partners are committed to following the Hockey Canada mandate. These programs are intended to provide a positive experience full of fun and excitement while ensuring progressive skill development through age-appropriate practices and game play in an environment suited to their skill level. This mandate for your children began with cross-ice hockey programs in the 2017-2018 season IP programs followed by the half-ice hockey program implemented for Minor Novice in 2018-2019. The smaller ice surface programs provide a number of advantages:
- Increases the emphasis on skating skills, including elements like agility, balance and quickness
- Increases the number of puck battles, puck touches, and shots
- Puck control and puck protection skills are enhanced
- Fundamentals of skating, puck control, passing and shooting are reinforced at a greater rate
- Less time and space increase the frequency of making hockey decisions
In this current season we have seen first-hand the player development benefits from this age appropriate programming. The kids get more ice time than in past years, they have much more opportunity to be engaged in game action and develop the foundational skills required to enjoy the game throughout their lifetime. It has been fantastic to see the red cheeks, sweaty heads and most importantly, smiling faces at the end of every game. We have also experienced a few challenges, mostly logistical, implementing this new program and we thank you for your patience with these. The Tomken staff have been terrific to work with, and very helpful, but the rink itself isn’t ideally suited to our programs. We are currently working with the City of Mississauga to move next year to a facility that is more suitable to the half-ice programming.
As we prepare for the 2019-2020 season, we are building the program for the final year of modified ice programming for your children. Next year in Novice your children will start the year playing half-ice hockey and then will transition in January to playing full-ice hockey in preparation for their move into Atom hockey the following season. Full-ice games will see the introduction of the full rules of hockey including offsides, icing and face-offs after every stoppage in play.
Hopefully you and your child have enjoyed the Minor Novice experience, and you have witnessed the development of their skills. We are excited to continue to build programs that enhance skill development and build passion and enjoyment of the great game of hockey. We hope you are all looking forward to the move to Novice in 2019-2020. Should you have any questions, or suggestions for program improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
MHL Operations Committee