Minnesota Hockey has announced that the Board of Directors adopted a rule to allow for sanctioned cross/half ice tournaments at the Mite/8U Girls level. The rule was passed at the Minnesota Hockey Board Meeting held at the Marriott Minneapolis West on Sunday, June 23. The rule change is intended to promote play on a smaller ice surface while introducing competition at the Mite/8U levels and the experience of playing in a tournament.
These sanctioned cross/half ice tournaments will be allowed to keep score, maintain brackets and have teams participate from within their District, within 30 miles of host association or with District Directors approval.
Similar to tournaments at other levels, hosts will be required to apply for sanctioning through Minnesota Hockey and are expected to follow the established guidelines for sanctioned cross/half ice tournaments. Minnesota Hockey will not charge a sanctioning fee.
“Minnesota Hockey is focused on continually assessing the best ways to enhance skill development for our players,” said Dave Margenau, president of Minnesota Hockey. “The introduction of cross ice tournaments will allow the Mite/8U players to continue to benefit from increased puck touches and the ability to work in small areas while experiencing the competition and fun atmosphere of Minnesota Hockey tournaments.”
The approval of cross ice tournaments is the latest in adjustments made by the Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors to emphasize age appropriate skill development at the Mite/8U level. In April, Minnesota Hockey was granted an exemption from the USA Hockey rule to allow older, experienced and more skilled Mite/8U level players to play up to 10 full ice games or limited number of additional full ice games with District Director approval. Full ice games are to be played after December 31. This provision was made to ease the transition from the Mite/8U level to the Squirt/10U level. At the Mini-Mite/6U level of younger, beginner and less skilled players all games are to be played cross or half ice.
Minnesota Hockey believes the focus of the Mite/8U level should be to teach and develop the basic skills of skating, puck handling, shooting and passing. As an affiliate of USA Hockey, Minnesota Hockey supports the American Development Model (ADM), which provides age-appropriate guidelines and curriculum to hockey associations, assuring that more players will play, love and excel in hockey. Minnesota Hockey encourages all of its local hockey associations to design their programs with the goal of providing an experience where players can develop and have fun.