Hockey Canada has approved national policies that mandate all U9 aged players receive age-appropriate programming on half-ice surfaces effective for the 2019-20 season. This mandate will see U9 game play in HEO move to a half ice format for the start of the 2019-20 season.
In response to this new mandate, and the changes it required, Hockey Eastern Ontario created a U9 Task Group with representatives
from HEO, HEO Minor, Districts, MHAs and Officiating. The role of the task group was to develop a Branch plan and strategy for the implementation
of this policy mandate.
FAQsWhat is the the key driver for the shift to the new U9 format?
Hockey Canada developed the program to ensure that a child’s early experiences with hockey are delivered in a safe and positive experience.
The program enables participants to become contributing members of a team effort, develop self-confidence and experience a sense of personal
achievement. The goals of the program are:
• To have fun while playing hockey and engaging in physical activity.
• To learn the fundamental skills required to play the game of hockey.
• To develop and refine basic motor patterns.
• To be introduced to the concepts of cooperation and fair play.
• Get small kids off full size adult rinks and into an age/size appropriate game playing area
• Get kids more engaged in game play, provide more enjoyment for kids in the games and less boredom
• Increase skill development in games by decreasing space and increasing the puck touches and skill executions
• Provide a more logical progression from cross ice game play at U7
Who is developing the changes to the U9 program?
Hockey Canada has established a “Task Team” made up of representatives from all of the branches across Canada including HEO. This Task Team has been meeting for several months and is developing a set of consistent policies and standards for implementation in 2019-2020
How can we be sure that the Hockey Canada policies will accurately represent issues relevant to Hockey Eastern Ontario?
HEO has a representative on the Hockey Canada Task Team. In addition, as part of the HEO Development Committee, a HEO/HEO Minor U9 Sub-Committee has been struck. There are representatives from Districts and Associations within the branch to reflect our local issues and concerns.
Will the half-ice program be mandatory?
Yes. However, it is understood that there is a wide variety of programs with different local conditions so as the policies are developed, they will de designed with some degree of flexibility so local conditions can be accommodated.
WiIl the new U9 program be open to U7 players?
No. Players under 7 years of age will not be permitted to play in the U9 program.
Will there still be “tiering”?
It is still anticipated that there will be tiering (where registrant levels permit) to reflect the difference in skill levels.
It’s possible that there could be changes to the existing tiering models or the number of tiers as the teams continue their work.
What will happen to the U9 competitive programs?
Hockey Canada has not taken a position on competitive hockey only that all U9 programs must be delivered in half ice format.
This will be discussed as part of the HEO Development sub-committee
Will the number of players per team change?
This is one of the issues that will be reviewed by the HEO Development Sub-committee.
Will the new program impact program costs or result in increases/decreases in registration costs?
Although the specifics of the program is still in development, it is not expected that this will have a material impact of costs either up or down.
How does this differ from U7?
Many of the differences are subtle but represent the natural progression from the U7 cross ice model:
• The space is bigger when moving from the cross-ice model to the half-ice model.
• Goaltenders are now included in the 4-on-4 half ice model.
• Full size nets are now in use.
• Half ice hockey is played "North-South" rather then "East-West...more like the "North-South" nature of full ice.
• Referees are now added to the game.
Half Ice hockey allows U9 kids to move from the cross ice model in a progressive manner while maintaining the age appropriate programming required to focus on all the objectives of the U9 program.
For more videos visit the HEO YouTube Channel
U9 Task Group
|Greg Clarke - Task Group Chair, District 10||Krista Outhwaite - Bytown District|
|Gary Hopkins - HEO Minor President||Paul Barnes - District 11|
|Reg McDonald - District 9||Chantal Brule - District 10|
|Pat MacLeod - District 2||Tom Meagher - HEO Minor Alternate RIC|
|Cory Gregory - District 12||Jeff Robert - HEO Development Programs Offcier|
|Grayson Foley - District 9||Brian Gillam - Hockey Canada U9 Task Group Rep|
|Brent Gould - District 5|
Ottawa 67s Half Ice Game Play
Half ice game play is so effective that even the Ottawa 67s play it!!
Cick to enlarge pictures.