Hockey Canada developed the Initiation program to make children's first contact
with hockey a safe and positive experience. It's a structured, learn-to-play hockey program designed to
introduce beginners to the game's basic skills. It enables participants to become contributing members of a
team effort, develop self-confidence, and experience a sense of personal achievement. These goals are
achieved in an atmosphere of fun and fair play.
'As a National Spokesperson for the CHA's Initiation Program, I believe it is important for every player to
have access to the best program in the world for developing skills while having fun.'
- Paul Kariya
'This program sets the foundation for all future enjoyment and success our young players will have in the
sport of hockey.'
- Jayna Hefford
'Learning the basic skills in practice at a young age is so important, because it allows the children to
skate more, make more passes, take more shots on net and have the puck on their stick more than in any
- Paul Kariya
'How a player gets that first taste of hockey is crucial. If the beginner has fun, developing some basic
skills and building confidence, there is a good chance that player will go on to enjoy hockey for many
- Jayna Hefford
The Goals of the Program are the Following:
• to have fun while playing hockey and engaging in physical activity
• to learn the basic skills required to play the game of hockey
• to develop an understanding of basic teamwork through participation in a variety of activities and adapted
• to create and refine basic motor patterns
• to be introduced to the concepts of cooperation and fair play
• developing basic hockey skills:
• puck handling
Under 7 Years of Age as of December 31ST of the Current Season
The age and skill level of the players defines the seasonal plan. The Hockey Canada skills development
programs are based on progressive steps and follow the appropriate allocation of time illustrated in the
skill development pyramid.
Goals for the Initiation Age Category are:
• introduction of basic skills
• reviewing of basic skills
• refining of basic skills
The Initiation Program Recommends the Following Practice Time Allotment:
• 85% technical skills
• 15% individual tactics
• 0% team tactics
• 0% team play
• 0% strategy
Hockey Canada's Initiation Program has four levels of instruction designed for beginning hockey players. Each
level represents a different set of skill progression. At the beginning of the program, players are evaluated
according to ability and placed in the appropriate program level.
Each level consists of eight lesson plans that follow a defined path of progression. As players move through
the program, they improve on both hockey skills and self-confidence.
The program emphasizes the basic hockey skills: skating, puck handling, passing and shooting.
Each skill is introduced and refined in a progressive one step at a time manner.
Children learn and develop through participating in practice drills and informal and modified games (such as
shinny, freeze-tag and obstacle courses)
Although the Emphasis is on Fun and Progressive Skill Development, the Initiation Program also Allows
Youngsters to Experience:
• Fair Play