Player Pathway Implementation, News (Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario)

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Player Pathway Implementation
Submitted By OHF on Friday, January 18, 2019
CAMBRIDGE, ON – As a follow up to the recent implementation of the Initiation Program, beginning in the 2020-2021 season all Hockey Canada Members will be mandated to follow the Novice and Atom Player Pathways. The Player Pathways are progressive, learn to play development guides that support the player development continuum from Initiation Programming through to Atom. The Pathways outline optimal seasonal structures and age appropriate development guidelines.

The OHF and its Members (ALLIANCE, GTHL, OMHA, NOHA, OWHA, OHA, OHL) will be active in working with and supporting Minor Hockey Associations through the transition and implementation of the player pathways. Age appropriate and modified ice programming will remain the core principles of the Initiation and Novice Player Pathways. In addition, for the Initiation, Novice and Atom Player Pathways applicable team formations, evaluations or tryouts will be held the Tuesday following Labour Day at the earliest as set out in the Initiation, Novice and Atom Seasonal Structures.

The Atom Player Pathway consists of 5 guiding principles as well as key recommendations, all focusing on the appropriate development for 9 and 10-year-old players. The Pathway also delivers a positive experience during tryouts by providing planned pre-tryout ice sessions and avoiding tryouts the first week of school which can be stressful for players and families.

5 Guiding Principles of the Atom Player Pathway (must be followed for the 2020-21 season):

1. No tryouts from April through August. Tryouts begin the Tuesday following Labour Day.
2. Must have a minimum of 4 practices / skill sessions prior to formal evaluations beginning
3. Must have a minimum of 3 formal tryout / evaluation sessions – Recommended - 1 skills session, 1 small area games session, 1 game
4. Must have a period of development time following team selection and prior to the start of the regular season
5. Must be tournament style playoffs versus elimination rounds

Recommendations of the Atom Pathway (Members should encourage and support):

1. Fair/equal ice time (goalies rotate for equal games/playing time through, season and playoffs)
2. Season should allow for two (2) seasonal breaks (not including Christmas / long weekends)
3. Limit position specific specialization (except goalies) rotate all players through all positions
4. Recommended maximum of 45 games per year (including tournaments and playoffs)
5. Small Area Games in practice / Station based practices
6. Season:
• Development: 4 weeks, 8-12 practices, 2 exhibitions games
• Regular season: Up to 22-24 weeks, 22-44 practices, 16 to 20 games
• Playoffs: Commencing after March 15. Maximum of 3-4 tournaments, 12-16 games.

OHF Resources can be accessed through the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wudnm3cnjzdx1zc/AADxkxyDzol-taWR3PoMu45Qa?dl=0

In the Dropbox link you will find the following resources effective for the 2020-2021 season:

1. Atom Player Pathway Seasonal Structure
2. Novice Player Pathway Seasonal Structure
3. Initiation Player Pathway Seasonal Structure
4. Initiation Program Resource Guide
5. Novice Program Resource Guide

The Ontario Hockey Federation will be releasing additional resources for implementation of the Atom Player Pathway over the next week.


ALLIANCE Hockey will be hosting a workshop for Member Associations on January 26, 2019 to provide further information and to continue working on the pathway programming.

Continued distribution of information and details will be provided as it becomes available.

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