Initiation Program (Beginner, TIMBIT, Squirt) Program 2017 - 2018, News (Milton Minor Hockey)

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Initiation Program (Beginner, TIMBIT, Squirt) Program 2017 - 2018
Submitted By Tanya Croke on Tuesday, May 30, 2017
 In March of this year Hockey Canada mandated changes to the Initiation Program that will impact our TIMBIT and Squirt Programs. Hockey Canada’s decision is game changing as it is changing the Initiation Program to adopt cross-ice games for all 5 and 6 - year old players. MMHA is in full support and will be modifying our programs, as required.  

We do not however anticipate making any changes to the Beginner Program (2013 Birth Year) for the upcoming season as this program is already compliant with the Hockey Canada Mandate.   A couple of years ago, USA Hockey completed a study by tracking a group of five- and six-year-olds in half-ice, cross-ice games. What they found was that with less space, there were twice as many puck battles, six times the number of shots on goal, 1.75 shots per minute compared to 0.45 shots per minute on full ice, twice the number of pass attempts, five times more passes received and twice as many changes in direction per player.   We believe this is a significant win for our players. As ice time is becoming scarce in our community (and many others), it allows four (or six) teams on the ice at the same time instead of just two. This will allow more players to be enrolled in Initiation Programs. However, the main thrust of the initiative is to give players of all skill levels more of a chance to shoot, stick handle and battle for pucks rather than chasing it around a full ice surface. It increases the pace of play and forces them to make quicker decisions in small spaces.  “They’re learning to do something and it’s only when they start to put things together that they actually start to reach success,” sports psychologist Dr. Stephen Norris said in a Hockey Canada video on the subject. “The research clearly shows, and parents should be looking at this, that their children are more actively engaged, which means they have the puck with them a greater number of times, they have the puck on their stick for a longer period of time, they’re interacting with the other players to a greater extent. They’re having to make more decisions, they’re having to control their bodily motions. So the whole milieu of key performance indicators is raised.”   I know there will be some parents in our Association who think this is not a good idea. Some of them say that players aren’t learning about the real game, like offsides. At this young age they don’t need to know the minutia of the rules as much as they need the opportunity to try to master the skills it takes to be successful in the game. Young players in North America in general, and Canada in particular, are thrown into hyper competitive game situations far too early. This is a way to delay the competitive game situations and focus on development for all players.   Although we are still finalizing the make up of our season, I wanted to share our mandate and communicate our direction. For the upcoming session, we will be eliminating the Squirt Program and Super Six Team. We will be creating 24 TIMBIT teams of approximately 12 players per team. TIMBIT teams will be divided into Blue and White Divisions based on birth year.  I will communicate more details as we finalize our updated Initiation Program.  More information on Hockey Canada’s direction for the Initiation Program can be found at https:// www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/Hockey-Programs/Coaching/Initiation. 
Should you have any questions in the mean time please do not hesitate to contact me directly.  
Best regards,
Paul Bradshaw
[email protected]
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