Initiation Program

Hockey Canada wants all of Canada on the same page when it comes to the delivery of its Initiation Program – traditionally a player’s first brush with organized hockey at the ages of five and six.

Although the Initiation Program – originally developed more than 35 years ago – always recommended cross- ice or half-ice small-area games, its delivery has varied from community to community. Beginning in the upcoming 2017-18 season, a new Hockey Canada policy now mandates that Initiation-aged players receive age-appropriate programming on cross-ice or half-ice surfaces.

Ice Divider Purchase

With Hockey Canada now mandating the Initiation Program across the country, Hockey Alberta is looking to provide the opportunity for Minor Hockey Associations to purchase ice dividers at a discounted rate through one large purchase. All MHA’s are eligible to participate in this potential program.

The approximate costs for each system are listed below. Please note on the registration page if you are wanting to add this to your order.

Foam Rink Divider – $1650 + shipping and GST
Hard Board Rink Divider – $6800 + shipping and GST

If your MHA would like to participate, please complete the registration link on Hockey Alberta’s website by July 5, 2017. Once the deadline passes, Hockey Alberta will decide on whether to move forward and will confirm with all MHA’s who expressed interest.


Complete the purchasing form online. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. All registrations must be completed by July 5, 2017.

To access the online purchasing form, or if you have any questions about the submission process or the status of your application, please contact Melissa Drake in the Hockey Alberta Office by email at or phone 403-342-6777.

On-ice study: smaller ice surfaces and skating development

In August 2016, Hockey Alberta partnered with Powerscout Hockey and St. Albert Minor Hockey to conduct a study on the effectiveness of smaller ice surfaces in skill development. The study featured 40 Initiation-aged players (five- and six-year-olds) who participated in a series of tests to collect data on a number of game and practice scenarios.

Hockey Alberta has worked with Minor Hockey Association Development Directors over the past couple of years to implement the Initiation guidelines. As part of that process, Hockey Alberta has received feedback that asks whether the smaller surface limits skating development, rather than enhancing it.

With regard to skating development, specific data for skating speed and acceleration was collected from the following scenarios:

• 200-foot sprints
• cross-ice games
• half-ice games, and
• a full ice game.

Overall, an analysis of the data and observation of the on-ice sessions reinforce that using a smaller ice surface at the Initiation level helps in the overall positive development of skating skills and skating acceleration for our youngest players, thereby better preparing them for when they are old enough to move to higher levels of hockey.

To read more about the findings from this study, CLICK HERE.

For more information on the Initiation Program, please contact the appropriate Hockey Alberta Regional Centre Consultant.