Hockey Canada has approved national policies that mandate all Initiation-aged players receive age-appropriate programming on cross-ice or half-ice surfaces (effective for the 2016-17 season) and Novice-aged players for the 2019-20 season. A key aspect of each policy is that each of Hockey Canada’s 13 branches can develop a provincial model that best meets the needs of its participants.
In February, Hockey Alberta distributed a Memorandum outlining the key principles that would be the foundation for this province’s Intro to Hockey - Novice Program starting in 2019-20.
Hockey Alberta is now releasing its complete Intro to Hockey Model for all players aged 5-8.
This Memorandum provides more details on Seasonal Structure, Grouping of Players, Practice Environment, and Game Format requirements for Initiation and Novice hockey, starting in 2019-20. In general, the requirements include:
- 2:1 practice to game ratio.
- Seasonal structure divided into Developmental and Regular.
- Participants divided into single birth years.
- Game format is 4 on 4, plus goalies; no score kept.
- Games played on a surface size no larger than 100’ x 85’.
A full overview is available in the Intro to Hockey document (enclosed). Also enclosed is an overview document created by Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta that provides more information on the background and rationale for the new policy and new Intro to Hockey Model.
In March, Hockey Alberta hosted a day-long session with representatives from 14 MHAs across the province. The session yielded important discussion and some possible solutions regarding potential challenges and issues associated with the new novice policy.
Please review the documents fully (link below) and distribute to appropriate staff members and volunteers within your organization and attend to the Spring Meeting prepared to discuss the future of Intro to Hockey in Alberta.