U7, U9, and U11 Player Pathway Implementation for 2020-2021, News (Hamilton Huskies)

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U7, U9, and U11 Player Pathway Implementation for 2020-2021
Submitted By Web Admin on Thursday, March 12, 2020
Effective for the 2020-2021 season, minor hockey associations across Canada, including those in the Ontario Hockey Federation’s Member Partners (Minor Hockey ALLIANCE of Ontario, Greater Toronto Hockey League, Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association) will be following the U7, U9 and U11 Player Pathways.




With the implementation of the U11 Player Pathway in the 2020-2021 season, key changes
have been made to the Player Pathways at U7 and U9. This will create consistency in all programming 
across the country and create a seamless transition for players from U7 through to U11 based on the 
Long-Term Player Development model.

The Player Pathways provide local minor hockey associations a framework of age appropriate 
development guidelines which includes an optimal seasonal structure.

U11 Player Pathway
1.  Player Evaluations, Selections, Tryouts (REQUIREMENT)
•    No tryouts prior to or during the first week of school.
i.   No tryouts during the off-season phase (previous season, including March through August).
ii.   No tryouts during the first week of school where school starts the week after Labour Day.
iii.   Where school starts prior to Labour Day, there must be four skates/practices starting the 
week following Labour Day before tryouts commence.
•    Must offer a minimum of four practice/skill sessions prior to formal evaluation starting.
•    Must have a minimum of three formal evaluation sessions:
i.   One skills session, one small-area games session, one formal game. (RECOMMENDATION)
ii.   Players should not try out based on a specific position, but should be encouraged to play 
both forward and defense in tryouts. (RECOMMENDATION)
iii.   Players should be selected for teams based on skill, not positional preference. 
(RECOMMENDATION)
2.   Fair and Equal Ice Time (REQUIREMENT)
•    All players and goaltenders should receive fair and as close to equal as possible ice time.
•    Positional Rotation:
i.   All players play all positions (RECOMMENDATION)
•    Goaltender Rotation:
i.   Full-time goaltender allowed.

ii.   Goaltenders rotate for equal amount of playing time throughout the regular season and 
playoffs. (RECOMMENDATION)
3.  Seasonal Structure (REQUIREMENT)
•    Preparation Phase (up to 2 Weeks)
i.   See Player Tryouts above.
•    Development Phase (up to 4 weeks)
i.   Teams must have a period of development time following tryouts prior to the start of the 
regular season.
•    Development and Regular Season Phase (Up to 22 weeks)
i.   Recommended maximum of 45 games per year (includes exhibition, league, tournament and playoff 
games).
ii.   Seasonal Breaks
•    Playoff Phase (up to 4 weeks)
i.   Tournament style.
•    Offseason Phase (end of season to August)
4.   Position-Specific Training
•   Small-area games in practice/station-based practices/skill-focused drills
•    Only 15% of practice time should be spent on team play and strategy/systems with 85% of 
practice time spent on skills and tactics.
•    Limit position-specific specialization (except for goalies).

U9 Player Pathway
1.   Playing Surface (REQUIREMENT)
•    All U9 (Novice) will be played at half-ice or a maximum size of 100 feet by 85 feet (100x85).
•   Eight-year-olds and mixed programming may transition to full ice from January 15 to April.
2.   Player Evaluations, Selections, Tryouts (REQUIREMENT)
•    No tiering or evaluations during the off-season phase (previous season, including March 
through August).
•    Must offer a minimum of four (4) practice/skill sessions prior to formal tiering or 
evaluations beginning.
•    Must have a minimum of three (3) formal evaluation sessions.
3.   Half-Ice Game Play Rules (REQUIREMENT)
•    4-on-4 format.
•    60-minute game length. Two periods with a run-time clock.
•    Timed buzzer or whistle for line changes, shift length not to exceed two minutes.
•    Minimum of one official.
•    No score, standings or stats are kept.
•    Blue or black puck used.
•    Net size – 3x4 or 4x6.
4.   Fair and Equal Ice Time (REQUIREMENT)

•    All players and goaltenders should receive fair and as close to equal as possible ice time.
•    Positional Rotation:
i.   All players play all positions (RECOMMENDATION)
•    Goaltender Rotation:
i.   No full-time goaltenders. (RECOMMENDATION)
ii.   All players have the option to play goal at least once. (RECOMMENDATION)
5.   Playoffs (REQUIREMENT)
•    There are no playoffs in U9.
6.  Seasonal Structure (REQUIREMENT)
•    Preparation Phase (up to 4 Weeks)
i.   See Player Evaluations/Tryouts above.
•    Development Phase (up to 8 weeks)
i.   Teams must have a period of development time following tryouts prior to the start of the 
regular season.
•    Development and Regular Season Phase (Up to 20 weeks)
i.   Recommended maximum of 40 games per year (includes exhibition, league and tournaments) 
(RECOMMENDED)
ii.   Seasonal Breaks – season should allow for two seasonal breaks of a minimum of five days 
without a scheduled game or mandatory practice. (RECOMMENDED)
•   Tournament are Jamboree Format
i.  Jamboree engages players in a fun environment. Games may or may not be competitive and the 
emphasis is on fun and fair play, no standings are kept.
•    Offseason Phase (end of season to August)


U7 Player Pathway
1.   Playing Surface (REQUIREMENT)
•    All U7 (Initiation) will be played at cross-ice or a maximum size of 100 feet by 60 feet 
(100x60) for the entire season.
2.  Player Evaluations, Selections, Tryouts (REQUIREMENT)
•    No tiering or evaluations during the off-season phase (previous season, including March 
through August).
•    Must offer a minimum of four (4) practice/skill sessions prior to formal tiering or 
evaluations beginning.
•    Must have a minimum of three (3) formal evaluation sessions.
3.   Cross-Ice Game Play Rules
•    4-on-4 format.
•    60-minute game length. Two periods with a run-time clock.
•    Timed buzzer or whistle for line changes, shift length not to exceed two minutes.

•    Minimum of one official.
•    No score, standings or stats are kept.
•    Blue or black puck used.
•    Net size – 3x4 or 4x6.
4.   Fair and Equal Ice Time
•    All players and goaltenders should receive fair and as close to equal as possible ice time.
•    Positional Rotation:
i.   All players play all positions (RECOMMENDATION)
•    Goaltender Rotation:
i.   No full-time goaltenders. (RECOMMENDATION)
ii.   All players have the option to play goal at least once. (RECOMMENDATION)
5.   Playoffs (REQUIREMENT)
•    There are no playoffs in U7.
6.  Seasonal Structure (REQUIREMENT)
•    Preparation Phase
i.   See Player Evaluations/Tryouts above.
•    Development Phase (up to 12 weeks)
i.   Teams must have a period of development time following tryouts prior to the start of the 
regular season.
•    Development and Regular Season Phase (Up to 14 weeks)
i.   Recommended maximum of 25 games per year (includes exhibition, league, tournaments and 
jamborees) (RECOMMENDED)
ii.   Seasonal Breaks – season should allow for two seasonal breaks of a minimum of five days 
without a scheduled game or mandatory practice. (RECOMMENDED)
•   Tournament are Jamboree Format
i.   Jamboree engages players in a fun environment. Games may or may not be competitive and the 
emphasis is on fun and fair play, no standings are kept.
•    Offseason Phase (end of season to August)

The Policy and Recommendations for the U7, U9 and U11 Pathways have been identified with the parent 
and player in mind; allowing families to have their summer break back while still providing on-ice 
opportunities ahead of evaluations, giving players key seasonal breaks to allow for holidays and 
the chance to play other sports throughout the year, and establishing consistent age appropriate 
programming that is in line with the Long-Term Player Development model.

The transition from Spring to Fall evaluations at these age groups allows the Local Hockey 
Associations to provide Member sanctioned non-traditional hockey programming (i.e. 3-on-3,

4-on-4, or skills clinics) beginning any time after the conclusion of the OHF Championships and
completing no later than June 30th.

The OHF and its Member Partners will continue their support of Local Hockey Associations to ensure 
that the policy outlined are administered consistently across the OHF to provide players with the 
best possible experience within hockey. The implementation of the U7, U9 and U11 Player Pathways 
are a step towards creating a long-lasting love for the game for all players within Hockey Canada 
Programming.

More information on the full U7, U9, and U11 Player Pathways policy and recommendations
please visit the OHF Website.
 
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