Initiation Program - JUNIOR PANTHERS, News, Junior Panthers, 2017-18 (Pelham Minor Hockey Association)

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Initiation Program - JUNIOR PANTHERS
Submitted By PMHA on Saturday, August 26, 2017
The Pelham Minor Hockey Association is supportive of the new initiatives put forward by Hockey Canada regarding the changes to the 6 and under hockey program for associations.

We are currently entering our fourth year of running this type of programming in Pelham !

For more information about the Initiation Program being used, please continue....

Pelham Minor Hockey Association
& Canadian Hockey Initiation Program (IP)


What is it?

  • A comprehensive program for the development of young children as hockey players.
  • The main focus is on development and "Fun".
  • Aims to create participants and instructors who will continue in the game.
  • Resources include four program manuals, and an instructors manual.
  • All on ice Lead Instructorsmust attend an Initiation Program instructors Certification Clinic, and be IP Certified to instruct.

We divide our program in to TWO groups:

Panthers Hockey School - Ages 4 to 5 by Dec 31st, plus new to hockey 6 year olds 

Junior Panthers - Ages 5 and 6 by Dec 31st - that are in their second or third year on the ice in PMHA, and have "graduated" from the skill evaluation in the Hockey School program

We schedule our players for approximately 40 hours of on-ice hockey drills, skills, instruction, games and FUN in the season.

Players will be on the ice for one 50 minute session during a weeknight, and one 70 minute session on Saturday morning from the end of September until the first weekend in March!

The PMHA also uses our on-ice bumper boards and custom made mini-nets (exactly 2/3 size regulation nets) to assist the players in having an enjoyable & successful half ice game of hockey experience!

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 games basic skills. It enables participants to become contributing members of team effort, develop self confidence and experience a sense of personal achievement. 

These goals are achieved in an atmosphere of fun and fair play. PMHA will be following Hockey Canada's recommendation that player development be built on practicing technical skills 85% and individual tactics 15%. The IP program will focus on the following objectives;

Fundamental Movements 

Manipulation Skills
•Puck Control

Motor Skills

PMHA's goal is to make the first impression of hockey a positive one for the player and parents.  

MHA also provides complimentary use of goalie equipment for willing participants who would like to play the position when the time arrives that the program considers the use of goaltenders - but we may not do this until January.

For Parents: 

Hockey Canada developed the Initiation Program to make a child's first contact with hockey a safe and positive experience. It is 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.

Recognizing the necessity to provide a positive experience for the beginner hockey player, the Initiation Program builds upon a number of values providing a qualitative experience, which include:

  • Providing a safe environment in which to be introduced to hockey's fundamental skills.
  • Developing an understanding of basic teamwork through participation in structured activities and adapted game-like situations.
  • Introducing participants to the concepts of fair and co-operative play.
  • Refining basic motor patterns and building self-confidence.
  • Providing an environment that challenges individuals positively and rewards the participants for their efforts.
  • Provides opportunities to experience a number of activities related to the building of a lifestyle of fitness and activity.

For Coaches:

The Instructors Manual was designed to give coaches the necessary information needed to teach hockey skills to beginners.

The areas discussed include leadership, communication, teaching skills, and lesson organization. Each of these components contain valuable information when it comes time to implement each of the Lesson Manuals.

The Initiation Program manuals are a compilation of ideas from top hockey people across the country. Prior to printing, the lesson plans were tested in several provinces in communities with widely-differing circumstances, and found to be very effective.

The Lesson Manuals consist of four phases, each with eight on-ice sessions. These lessons map out easy-to-follow lesson plans. Beginners progress throughout these ice sessions to the point where they can start playing hockey and enjoying it.

  • The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Coach 1 - Intro Coach program has been updated to deliver instruction on age-appropriate programming.
  • Resources such as Hockey Canada Drill Hub and the Hockey Canada Network - a best-in-class skill-development resource geared to coaches - features information on the purpose of cross-ice hockey and how to run effective on-ice sessions for the five- and six-year-old Initiation age group.

Cross / Half Ice: 

Hockey Canada believes that hockey should be, first and foremost, fun for all participants. A big part of delivering on that is ensuring the programming is age-appropriate.

Cross-ice/half-ice hockey has always been part of the Initiation Program, but has not been implemented in the same way in every community - beginning this fall (2017-18 season), cross-ice/half-ice is mandatory at the Initiation level.

Cross-ice/half-ice hockey at the Initiation age effectively right-sizes the playing surface for young players:

  • You don't put five- and six-year-olds on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball on a full-sized court with no height adjustments - hockey is no different.
  • Cross-ice/half-ice hockey allows young players the opportunity for more puck-touches which promotes greater opportunity for skill development (puck-handling, shooting, skating, coordination) and decision-making.
    • Players on cross-ice/half-ice have been shown to receive five times more passes and take six times more shots than when they are on a full-sized rink.
    • Small-area games are used at all levels of the game - including senior national teams and the NHL.

The benefits of cross-ice/half-ice hockey go beyond player development; the special boards and bumpers allow minor hockey associations to alleviate pressure around scheduling and ice-time availability by safely allowing multiple practices and games to take place on one rink at the same time.



The Initiation Program serves as the foundation upon which the entire minor hockey association

is built. Youngsters at every level of play benefit from getting the “right start” in the game. The

Initiation Program is crucial in building the skills of house league and competitive players alike.

Children learn through participating in practice drills and informal modified games. The

Initiation Program is closely aligned with Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development

(LTPD) Model.




·         A progressive learn to play teaching curriculum

·         To ensure that the child’s first contact with hockey is a safe and positive experience.

·         To have fun while playing hockey and engaging in physical activity

·         To learn the fundamental skills required to play the game of hockey - Introduced through

·         stations/small spaces/small area games

·         To develop self-confidence, and experience a sense of personal achievement

·         To create and refine basic motor patterns

·         Emphasis is on fun and fundamental skill development, while also allowing youngsters to

·         experience fitness, fair play and cooperation and to ensure a positive experience for

·         children

·         Age-Appropriate - Designed practice and game play that is appropriate to the age, size

·         and skill level of the participant




Designing practice and game play that is appropriate to the age, size and skill level of the





· Age-appropriate skills programming

· Introduced through Skills Stations/Small Spaces




· Age-appropriate modified games

· Introduced through Small Area Games and Cross-Ice / Half-Ice games


* Increased emphasis on skating skills including agility, balance, coordination and quickness
* Number of puck battles increases significantly
* Puck control and puck protection skills are enhanced resulting in more confidence with the puck
* Fundamentals of skating, puck control, passing, and shooting are reinforced
* Less time and space increases the frequency and speed of making hockey decisions
* Offers a more challenging environment to improve ice awareness and elevate hockey sense
* Increased intensity of competition results through the progressive skill improvement of players

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News ArchiveOther Recent Articles
  • 26
    2017-18 Junior Panthers
    Please find the link below which will take you to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association website page on the Initiation Program. There are great video links, and some informative pdf files to read.
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    Here are a number of interesting videos to view regarding the Initiation Program.
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