Hockey Canada Relaunch of the IP Program
Beginning in the 2017-18 season, Hockey Canada is implementing a new policy that mandates cross-ice/half-ice hockey for players at the Initiation age level (traditionally 5- and 6-year-olds).
While the policy making it mandatory is new, half-ice/cross-ice hockey has been part of the Initiation Program since it was first developed more than 35 years ago. The purpose of the IP is to introduce the basic skills of the game, and make a child’s first introduction to the game one that is safe, enjoyable, and fun:
• Make it a positive experience for kids and their families – focus is on fun, learning, and playing in a team atmosphere, not on structured games
• Build the player’s confidence and give them a sense of accomplishing a skill while developing as a young player
The program is based with the players’ development in mind, starting with basic, technical skills.
• 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
• Half-ice/cross-ice hockey at the Initiation age effectively right-sizes the playing surface for
o 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
o 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
The Re-Launch bulletin with links to important information is attached below.