Changes to U9 Programming for 2021/22 Season, News (Erin-Hillsburgh Minor Hockey Association)

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Changes to U9 Programming for 2021/22 Season
Submitted By EHMHA on Wednesday, March 24, 2021
EHMHA, as a member of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA), follows the Hockey Canada Player Pathways for all age groups.  

As you may have heard, there are some changes coming into effect for the upcoming 2021-2022 season for the U9 group. An amendment to Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Playing Regulation C4 was recently passed, which resulted in the removal of all competitive categories of hockey (AAA, AA, A, B, BB, C, CC, D) for U9 and below.  




This means the elimination of Representative hockey at U9 (formerly Novice).  This change had been implemented throughout most of the OHF jurisdiction following the Open Ice Summit (1999), however, is now formalized with the full implementation of the Hockey Canada Timbits U7 and U9 Canadian Player Pathways.

Hockey Canada wants every Canadian youngster to have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from a program designed to meet their specific needs, one that ensures progressive skill development through well delivered practice sessions and age-appropriate game play in an environment suited to their skill level. U9 hockey serves as the foundation upon which the entire hockey experience is built. It is a crucial piece in building the skills of players at every level - players benefit from getting the 'right start' in the game.

The elimination of Rep hockey and dividing the playing surface is a decision that has been made in consultation with experts in athlete development. It is important to understand the benefits of cross-ice hockey and why Hockey Canada has a national policy ensuring all U9 hockey is played in smaller, modified spaces.

There are several advantages to the smaller-surface games model:
-Emphasis on Skating Skills
-More Puck Battles
-Reinforce Fundamentals
-Preparation for Proper Use of Body Contact & Checking Skills
-Increased Frequency of Making Hockey Decisions
-Improved Ice Awareness & Hockey Sense

There can be concerns from parents about how small-area games may impact their child's hockey development, but parents should trust Hockey Canada and its research. Putting young players into a competitive environment too early will compromise their development; they need to be placed into competitive situations that suit their age-specific abilities. This is why Hockey Canada's Long-Term Player Development Model is so important.   

The Long Term Player Development model sets out a vision for hockey in Canada that puts the player first. The LTPD model provides age-appropriate opportunities for kids to participate in the game.  Focusing on development and enjoyment will lay the foundation for local, national and international success long into the future.

Important Links:
The Pathway Documents contains details on the philosophy of the U9 program and seasonal structure.
Hockey Canada U9 Pathways Explained
Hockey Canada's Long Term Player Development Model

If you have any questions about these upcoming changes please don't hesitate to reach out to our VP Operations, [email protected]

We will share more information as we receive it from our governing bodies.

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