Smaller playing surfaces for 5-6 year olds mandated
By Stewart Grant
This week, Hockey Canada released a new mandate for five and six year olds requiring that these young hockey players learn the game “on cross-ice or half-ice surfaces” beginning with the 2017-18 season. Per Hockey Canada vice-president of membership development Paul Carson, “You would never put a five-or-six-year-old child on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball without any adjustments made for their size. Hockey is no different.”
The press release from Hockey Canada was met with agreement from St. Marys Minor Hockey Association (SMMHA) representatives who proactively decided to move in this direction three seasons ago for the young age groups known as Jr. Mite, Sr. Mite, and Tyke. Dan Murrell, Mark Brintnell, Scott Richardson and Reg Clinton are members of the Skill Development Committee for St. Marys Minor Hockey who have overseen this change in strategy.
“Every other sport reduces their field size for young players,” agreed Murrell. “This promotes skill development in the best interests of all kids. A smaller playing surface gives players of different skill levels more opportunities to handle the puck, participate in the play, and most of all have fun.”