Novice Half Ice Program

Hockey Canada has mandated half ice hockey for the 2019-2020 hockey season for all Novice players. The cross-ice practicing and playing model has been used in many of the leading hockey nations in the world for a number of years and has stood the test of time. It has been shown that children who begin their ice hockey training in this environment have an outstanding hockey experience.

It is important to fully understand and appreciate the benefits of cross-ice and half-ice hockey and why Hockey Canada has a national policy ensuring all Initiation and Novice hockey is played in smaller, modified spaces.

Some very simple statistics illustrates highlight the advantages to the smaller surface games model.

  • 2x the puck touches– All players are close to the play at all times and have much more opportunity for puck touches. Regardless of the skill level or the ability of each player, their opportunities to be engaged in the play are doubled when the playing area is smaller.
  • 6x the shot attempts– There are six times as many shots at goal in a cross-ice or half-ice game, because players are closer to the puck at all times and the puck finds its way to the net much more often.
  • 3x the shots on goal– Players are much closer to the net, skate shorter distance from goal to goal and have increased opportunities for offensive play.
  • 2x the pass attempts- Players are observed passing and attempting to pass the puck more often due to proximity to other players.
  • 5x the passes received- In smaller spaces, more passes are attempted and most of these passes are five to 10 feet in length. When passes are shorter, accuracy improves and players have more success receiving the pass. Players also start to understand the important of team puck possession.

There are many research studies on this topic and the benefits it provides to our youngest players, both those new to hockey, as well as others who have played hockey for a number of years.    The links below provide just a sample of the information available.   We will continue to update this site with additional information.