Hockey Canada is making smaller ice surfaces mandatory across the country.
Starting in the 2017-18 season – minor hockey is introducing kids first starting out to reduced ice sizes as opposed to full sized rinks.
President for the Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association Travis Galenzoski tells Mix News they’ve already implemented this rule for their initial program with the Terry Conroy mini ice.
The initial programs are for children ages 5 and 6.
He says that with smaller humans come smaller playing surfaces.
“Just like you wouldn’t throw initiation kids on a full-sized soccer pitch,” Galenzoski said.
“You don’t do that because it is just impossible for them to run down the field and kick the ball into the net. So, it’s no different on ice – it almost seems too much to expect kids to skate down the full length of the ice to score in a net.”
Per Galenzoski – smaller rinks have been the case for a while in local initial programs, citing Mac Island’s Terry Conroy mini-ice as an example.
Because of the local program’s experience with that surface – Fort McMurray Minor Hockey is 3 or 4 years ahead of the curb.
“I believe our program growth can be attributed to a bunch of things but that’s one of them. Getting kids at that age and starting them on that small surface – it becomes a tight game and it grows hockey on kids.”
Ultimately, it just comes down to kids being able to have fun with the game, build camaraderie with other players and develop at their own speed.
Galenzoski feels by decreasing the space – you increase the pace.
“In a smaller surface, they’re still able to teach the basics of the game and really at that age,” he stated.
“The focus is not about all of the rules it about some of the rules but more importantly – it’s about skating, stability, playing with friends, teamwork and taking direction from an adult.”
He also adds with smaller rinks kids can more easily develop a love for the game and garner excitement for the prospect of playing on a big surface someday and play like the pros do.