Your Child’s Development

Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) or Long Term Player Development (LTPD) is a "made-in-Canada" framework to maximize a player’s potential and long term involvement in sport over the course of his/her life. It focuses on the general framework of athlete development with special reference to growth, maturation and development, trainability, and sport system alignment and integration.


4 Pillars of Player Development

Hockey Alberta


Intro to Hockey (U7 and U9 levels)

The future of hockey lies with today’s youth.

Because of this, Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta have developed age appropriate programming to encourage the growth of foundational skills for young players in hockey. Minor hockey associations and coaches lead the implementation of the U7 and U9 programs with the assistance of volunteers, parents and others associated with hockey. The programming must provide opportunities for a wide range of people to get involved to improve the quality of the hockey experience through sound instruction and enjoyable play.

How a player gets his/her initial taste of hockey is crucial. Their first four years of hockey must be a positive experience full of fun and excitement. If the beginner has fun and develops some basic skills and builds confidence, there is a good chance they will go on to enjoy hockey for life.

Effective for the 2019-20 season, U7 and U9 hockey in Alberta will run under the title Intro to Hockey.


The goals and objectives of Intro to Hockey programming are to:

  • Teach the basic skills of hockey so players can enjoy the game,
  • Assist in the development and enhancement of physical literacy and basic motor patterns,
  • Deliver a program that is age appropriate for the size, skill and age of the players,
  • Encourage the aspects of fitness, fair play and co-operation while having fun playing the game.

The main goal is to make the beginner’s first impression of hockey a good one! When players get started on a positive note, they automatically enjoy the game and usually go on to have fun playing hockey for many years.

Small ice hockey is better for our young players!





Articles from Active for Life

Active for Life is a Canadian not-for-profit social initiative created to help parents give their children the right start in life through the development of physical literacy. For more information on the definition of physical literacy, and how parents can make a difference in their children’s lives, go to the Active for Life website;


You can also check out the following articles from Active for Life, which provide important information about your child’s development:

Relative age and developmental age: Is your child getting shortchanged?

Why do kids differ so much in speed, strength, and skills? When adults watch small children getting started in physical activities and sports, they see that some are clearly bigger, faster, stronger, and even “more skilled” than others. Based on these observations, they often assume that some children are “natural born talents” and others aren’t. Read more >

Trainability: How far can training and practice take your child?

The human body adapts to exercise. Work your muscles and they get stronger. Run regularly and your lungs get faster at absorbing oxygen into your blood. This is how your body “responds” to training. But here’s something you might not know: Different people respond differently to the exact same training, kids included. Read more >

Talent Development vs. Talent Identification

As talent development programs around the world are showing, it isn’t possible to even predicting future “talent” as measured in strength, speed, skill, and decision-making until kids are in their teens; as a general rule, between 14 and 20 years. Read more >

Specialization: What Does It Really Mean?

These days, you hear a lot of discussion about kids specializing in one sport or one physical activity too early. Lots of problems come out of this: burnout, overuse injuries, mental and emotional fatigue, dropout from activity, and more. Read more >