Hockey Initiation Program (Halton Hills Minor Hockey)

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Hockey Initiation Program
Sponsored by Tim Hortons Tim Bits Hockey Program

What is it?

  • A comprehensive program for the development of young children as hockey players.
  • The main focus is on development and "Fun".
  • Aims to create participants and instructors who will continue in the game.
  • Resources include four program manuals, and an instructors manual.
  • All on ice Lead Instructors must attend an Initiation Program instructors Certification Clinic, and be IP Certified to instruct.

How HHMH Got Started with this Program

Hockey for the "FUN" of it!

The OMHA was invited by the Canadian Hockey Association to demonstrate the Initiation Program ice session at the Air Canada Centre during an event called, "Open Ice Summit."  All participants were given a tour of the Air Canada Centre before the Ice session. Halton Hills was well represented by twelve young players from the HHMH IP Program who attended along with four instructors.

The Halton Hills Minor Hockey Association was instrumental in the implementation of the OMHA's pilot IP Festivals. The very first "Skills First of IP Festival" was held on February 27, 2000. Not only was the Festival a huge success, it resulted in the production of an IP Festival Manual that is the basis for all other IP Festivals.

IP is about "KIDS" - Keeping Initial Development Simple.

Who is it for and what does it Consist of?

  • This is a Hockey Program for the 4, 5, & 6 year old age group. (See note below)
  • The program follows the OMHA recommendations for ages below U8.
  • The program is known as the "Cross Ice" program (see below) consisting of 40 hours of skating skills development and hockey stick/puck skills development.
  • Your child does not need to know how to skate to join this program!  For the younger ages (4 and 5) it is a great alternative to other skating programs!

The Program

The program will consist of 40 one hour sessions as follows:

  1. 20 skating skills sessions (one hour each session)
  2. 20 stick/puck & hockey sessions (one hour each session)

Scheduled ice times will be on Saturdays & Sundays.  Exact schedule times to be determined and posted before season start. Please visit the website schedule. Divisions will be as per below.

Are All Initiation Programs the Same?

HHMH provides a Certified Hockey Initiation Program under the auspices of Hockey Canada.  We ensure that all our Lead Instructors are certified under the official program and follow the Hockey Canada Initiation Program manuals and guidelines.  Further, these skills are passed onto the coaches, so as they move up into other hockey streams the proper player development continues.

More on HHMH Lead Instructors for the Initiation Program

All Lead Instructors on ice in the HHMH Hockey Initiation Program have attended a Hockey Canada approved clinic with at least six hours of class time followed by a two hour on ice session.   This includes, running a "typical ice session" refining Teaching Skills, Skills Analysis etc. Classroom time is spent on; Leadership, Communication, Growth & Development, Teaching Skills, Skills Analysis and Lesson Organization.

All on ice Instruction Personnel are volunteers and not paid Instructors.


There will be 3 "skill level" divisions and all children will be in a division that is appropriate to their level.

  1. 4 year old group will be in their own division and
  2. The 5 & 6 year old children in a division of their skill level.

Skill level will be determined by on-ice evaluations to be held 1-2 weeks before the season starts. Dates/times will be posted on about Sept 1.

Once the season begins, there will be continuous player assessment by the Convenors and movement to another division or team would be considered, depending on skill level. This also, would be discussed with the parents.

Cross Ice Description

This program is being used by thousands of communities around the world. The emphasis is spending time on development. At this age group, there will be more opportunity for all players to handle the puck and learn to skate. On Saturdays, Coaches will lead their teams in one hour sessions, splitting the time on

  1. Organized OMHA lesson plans for stick/puck/skating development, and
  2. Semi-formal cross ice hockey games.

On Sundays, the program will be conducted by the Director of IP, and the Instructors of the IP Program following the Canadian Hockey Initiation Program (CHIP). This is a program designed by Hockey Canada which

  1. Develops fundamental skating skills, and
  2. Guides/trains coaches on leading practices to develop fundamental skating skills.

This part of the program helps to introduce, develop and organize the coaching skills of the Coaches as a guide to lead team practices through the entire season, at the same time developing fundamental skating skills for young hockey players. This helps develop the newer Coaches as well as providing lesson plans and exercises that will be valuable for many years of coaching.

The Initiation Program Instructors work closely on-ice with the Coaches and Assistant Coaches to a point whereby, progressively, the Coaches will run the sessions on their own with help only as required.

Click here for more information on our Programs and Hockey Streams.

How do I Register/Get Started?

To get your player started in the Hockey Initiation Program:

Simply go to the Registration Section of HHMH to Register.

Also, if you are new to the sport of hockey and wondering what you need for equipment visit the Parents Corner for Equipment Requirements and other information.

We look forward to seeing you!

Equipment Required

All players must wear full equipment as per the OMHA minimum equipment standard.  Mouthguards are mandatory.  Parents, you can find out more information on equipment required by going to our Parents Corner.

Interested in Coaching?

Interested to Coach? There will be considerable pre-season training for all coaches and volunteers and on-going guidance with presentation of sessions and use of the OMHA and Hockey Canada Manuals.

Coach 1 is required to coach the Initiation Program.  The previous hybrid course which included Coach 1&2 is no longer being offered as an option.  Courses are now separate.  

Note: You cannot coach the Hockey Initiation Program if you only have a D1 trained/certification.  Rules state you must have at least Coach 1, regardless of other credentials to coach the Hockey Initiation Program.

Please go to Coach Resources under the House League/Select link from the main page to find links and information on coaching.

Interested in Convening?

We are looking for volunteers to help with Convening. It is a great way to participate and contribute while your children spend the next years in hockey. The job involves overseeing the activities and the time commitment is 1-2 hours on Saturdays while your child is playing hockey.

You will need to complete the OMHA Trainer course, obtain a Police Check and complete Respect in Sport Activity Leader.

Still Have Questions?

Contact Melissa Therrien, Director, Initiation Program.  She would be happy to help you with any concerns you may have.