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
young players:
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.

File attachments: 
2017-18 IP relaunch - FINAL.pdf398.22 KB

Rogers Hometown Hockey Trick Shot Contest

HEO Minor's streak continues with Roger's Hometown Hockey.  Steffan Schilkie of the Muskrat MHA entered at the Petawawa stop and is the national champion.  Here is an excerpt from the HomeTown Hockey facebook page.

Way to go Steffan Schilkie from Town of Petawawa! Your incredible #trickshots skills brought the win in the Rogers Hometown Hockey Trick Shots competition and you'll be heading to Windsor for the Memorial Cup!


Branch B Championships

This past weekend saw the culmination of the season with the annual Branch B Championships.  This year marked the 38th edition and for the first time in memory the four divisions were held at a single location on the same weekend.  By all accounts the format was well received and a tremendous sucess.

The Champions are:

Novice: Mississippi Thunder Kings

Atom: CharLan Rebels

PeeWee: Ottawa Sting

Bantam: Stittsville Rams

The winning teams pictures are in our slider.

Denis Dumais and the rest of the Executive offer congratulations to Marc Richer, HEO Minor Director at Large, and his organizing committee for the successful weekend.

Thanks are also extended to the Associations and teams that worked all season to be able to qualify for the tournament.

Here is a note from the OBMHL that we received.

On behalf of the OBMHL and our teams I would like to thank you all for the Branch Championship weekend.

All of our teams had a great time and enjoyed the experience.

We have had only good things said about the tournament format weekend and glad that we could help make this event a success.

Yours in minor hockey,


Robert (Bob) Picard

Cell: 613-295-1567

OBMHL President

Manitoba response to half ice requirement

Hockey Canada is making it mandatory that its youngest players get introduced to the game on pint-sized ice surfaces, but the just-announced policy isn't anything new in Manitoba. 

Hockey Manitoba executive director Peter Woods said that change was made in Manitoba about two years ago and they plan to take it a step further.

"Hockey Manitoba certainly supports it. This is a national initiative that's gone across the country now," he said.

"We introduced this regulation into our program two years ago, so we've been operating under that premise for the last two years, so the rest of the country is just catching up to us right now."

Hockey Canada said the mandatory policy of half-ice, or cross-ice, for its initiation programs for five and six-year-olds will take effect for the 2017-18 season.

Woods said Manitoba Hockey received a little bit of pushback when the initiative was first brought in, but the results speak for themselves.

"Anytime you make the space a little bit smaller you are increasing the pace of the game, so that means the reaction times for players have to be increased," he said.

Kids are having more contact time with the puck, pushing players to refine their skills.

Woods said Manitoba is taking one more step moving seven and eight-year-olds to half-ice, too.

"It's just a progression, so they will be doing that for the first half of the season up until Dec. 31, and from Jan. 1 on they will be playing full ice. So it's a transition," Woods said.

"It's an opportunity for them to still refine their skills at a smaller ice-surface level and then expand that after the new year into the full-ice."

While there may be a bit of backlash to begin with, Woods said he expects the change to also be embraced not only in Manitoba but across the country.