The beginning of a new season is here as kids, parents, officials and volunteers head back to the rink for the 2019-20 hockey season. Hockey Canada is looking forward to the upcoming season with many opportunities for new and returning players.
With athletes of all ages hitting the ice over the next few weeks, there are several exciting opportunities for skaters, parents and officials alike. This includes programs for age groups ranging from Timbits Initiation to adult rec programs, and development opportunities for coaches and officials.
“Starting a fresh hockey season is always exciting, no matter what capacity you’re experiencing it in,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “From experience, having a new season to focus on is wonderful, whether it be as a player, a coach or a parent. There are so many opportunities out there where we can come together and share the love for the sport.”
Through the season Hockey Canada provides players, parents and coaches with tools to help improve and elevate their game, starting with tips for evaluations, resources like Tom’s Talks, the Hockey Canada Network, and Hockey Canada Skills Academies across the country. These resources are created with the athletes’ best interest in mind and makes it easier on coaches and parents to help create an atmosphere of fun and learning for athletes of all ages.
Novice hockey moves to half-ice
With the new season, minor hockey associations across the country are embracing the move to half-ice hockey in their Novice programs. When the change was introduced in 2018, many regions embraced it for the 2018-19 season, and experienced first-hand how it helps the development of novice-aged players.
“We’re tremendously excited to see players across the country experience the benefits of half-ice novice hockey,” said Renney. “The focus is about making hockey more for these kids. They get more puck touches, more scoring chances, and ultimately, they have more fun.”
The program, which is now mandatory across Canada, offers Novice-aged kids a better chance at development, while increasing the fun they have while on-ice. Half-ice hockey has proven to provide kids more puck-touches, more passing and better development in tight spaces.