With USA Hockey’s Red, White and Blue Hockey program — which promotes the integration of cross-ice practices and games into youth hockey — we can raise the level of creativity among players, increase player participation, and create a positive environment for kids to learn and play.
This Infographic explores the stats of cross-ice compared to full-ice for players at the Mite/8U level.
As it relates to cross-ice practices and games, you may be asking yourself a lot of whys and hows. “Why should my son or daughter practice in a way that doesn’t look like how I perceive hockey to be? How will they learn the game if they’re on the ice with 40 other kids?” Well, let’s start with this fact:
HOCKEY WAS THE ONLY MAJOR SPORT THAT DIDN'T SHRINK ITS PLAYING SURFACE TO MATCH THE AGE GROUP.
We would never consider having our children at 8 years of age play on a big league- sized diamond. Instead, they play on an appropriately sized Little League diamond. When attempting to teach your 8-year-old to play golf, you would not have them tee off from the black tees. Football shrinks the playing field. Soccer uses a smaller ball and smaller field. Basketball uses a smaller ball and lowers the rim.
In hockey, we have 6- to 8-year-old kids skating the full rink surface, hardly touching the puck. How can we expect our kids to develop their skills — or a passion for the game — if they aren’t really participating?
Playing cross-ice hockey works for hockey players of all ages. From Mites to Olympians, players split up the ice surface to hone their skills. Not only that, but it’s fun for everyone because everyone is involved. And with kids, the more they’re participating, the more likely they’ll develop a passion for the game.
More Puck Time - Smaller spaces mean more opportunity for a player to touch the puck – and ultimately improve their game.
Age Appropriate Training - By shrinking the ice down to their level, kids can get more involved and learn skills quicker and easier.
Cost Savings - Because multiple teams share the ice, parents save on ice time costs.
Increased Competition - A smaller ice surface makes players of all skill levels think and act quicker, resulting in more frequent battles for the puck.