The first years of hockey need to be a positive experience. A fun and exciting start gives young players the opportunity to enjoy hockey for life!
If a beginner has fun, develops basic skills and builds confidence, there is a better chance they will enjoy themselves. But if the early experience is unrewarding, they may never discover all Canada’s game has to offer.
U9 hockey should be delivered through a progressive, learn-to-play teaching curriculum for 7-8-year-olds. Children learn best through practice drills and skill sessions, as well as informal games like shinny, freeze tag and obstacle courses.
The skills of skating, puck control, passing and shooting are introduced and refined one step at a time. The focus should always be on fun and skill development, but the early years of hockey should also allow youngsters to experience fitness, fair play and cooperation.
To ensure a positive experience, a coaching clinic has been designed for the on-ice coaches that focuses on communication, teaching skills, leadership, skill analysis, lesson organization, and safety and risk management.
Hockey Canada wants every Canadian youngster to have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from a program designed to meet their specific needs, one that ensures progressive skill development through well-delivered practice sessions and age-appropriate game play in an environment suited to their skill level.
U9 hockey serves as the foundation upon which the entire hockey experience is built. It is a crucial piece in building the skills of players at every level – players benefit from getting the ‘right start’ in the game.
(My son) seemed to catch on to what he needed to do (to) get the puck more, get himself open and positioned to take a pass, give a pass, take more shots on net.”
– Alberta hockey mom’s observations on her son’s experience with half-ice games