Welcome to Initiation Hockey!!
We do not have minimum skating requirements for the Initiation programs, but we do recommend Level 3 of CanSkate (or equivalent), or alternatively a year or so of experience with Tot Hockey or Learn to Play is also a good start.
Player evaluations for H1-H4 usually start in the second week of September - all evaluations are at Excellent Ice - 15000 54A Ave. Each division has 2-4 skates where the players are evaluated so that we can balance teams, and determine each players' skill level so they can be placed in the appropriate development skate group for their level.
The goal with the Initiation division is to get the kids on the ice as much as possible, learning the skills they will need for their future years in hockey. Initiation hockey is intended to be non-competitive and fun, and we will be working with your Team Officials and our Development staff this season to help promote that. We hope to make this a great year for your children, and that they will come away from the season better skilled and with a love of the game of hockey.
Team 'drafts' are held in late September, and the team schedules will then be set by early October. YOU WILL NOT KNOW YOUR CHILD'S HOCKEY SCHEDULE UNTIL EARLY OCTOBER. Obviously, this presents a challenge for scheduling with other activities, but we cannot set the schedules until we know the final numbers of participants, and which teams they will be on. This is, unfortunately, just something that parents need to be prepared to deal with if their kids play hockey, as ice availability and player registration numbers change each year, so we cannot guarantee that we will have the same ice times each year.
Initiation Program Facts
If you have not yet had the pleasure of a son or daughter in hockey previously - the following serves as a primer for new hockey parents.
What equipment do we need?
Our CMHA website has a detailed list of equipment guidelines:
One item to pay special attention to (and the hockey equipment store will probably forget to mention) is making sure the stick has a decent sized "butt" to it - as most sticks do not come with endplugs. This is achieved by wrapping tape around the end until the end is large enough it will not pass through the cage of a mask.
A full handbook for player safety, including more equipment recommendations, has been published by Hockey Canada and can be downloaded at:
One important thing to note: If your child’s had good success at skating lessons before joining hockey, their helmet is probably covered in little reward stickers. Unfortunately, these need to be removed. The glue from these stickers will degrade the plastic the helmet is made from.
What should we expect for ice time?
H1 has one practice (weekday evening) and one scrimmage ice time, and a developmental ice time every week. Practices and scrimmages are held half-ice at Sportsplex, and development is at Excellent Ice. For H1 there are no "games" - only scrimmages.
Did you know?? A "developmental" ice time is an ice time used specifically to work on skating and stick-handling drills to improve player skills.
H2 has one practice (weekday evening), one game, and one developmental ice time per week. Practices are half-ice at Sportsplex, development is at Excellent Ice, and games will be at NTR. For H2 there are games, but no score is recorded or posted. The time clock stays running through the whole game with a buzzer every two minutes to signify the time to change lines. Penalties may be called, but the emphasis is on instruction and fun.
H3 has one practice (weekday 6:30AM), one game, and one developmental ice time per week. All ice times will be at Excellent Ice, including games. For H3 there are games, but no score is recorded or posted. The time clock stays running through the whole game with a buzzer every two minutes to signify the time to change lines. Penalties may be called, but the emphasis is on instruction and fun.
H4 has one practice (weekday 6:30AM), one game, and one developmental ice time per week. All ice times will be at Excellent Ice, including games. For H4 there are games, but no score is recorded or posted. The time clock stays running through the whole game, and players change shifts on the fly. Penalties may be called, but the emphasis is on instruction and fun.
For H2 - H4 players who want to take up the Goal position, there is also developmental opportunities for those players - watch the website for more information.
Did you know?? An equipment deposit fee is collected for each player as part of new player registration. The fee is refundable once the player no longer plays for the Association.
What about Tournaments?
H1 teams are not allowed to enter tournaments - although one local Jamboree is permitted.
Did you know?? A Jamboree is a style of event where two teams are mixed together with half of each team on the two new teams and then they play each other for fun. A Tournament is a style of event where several teams play each other in a round robin fashion - usually 3 or 4 games per tournament.
H2 teams can enter up to 2 tournaments over the season, but cannot travel outside of the district .
H3 teams can enter 2-3 tournaments over the season, but cannot travel outside of the district.
H4 teams can enter 2-3 tournaments over the season, and can travel outside of the district.
Did you know?? Tournaments are not only a great opportunity for our players to play other teams, meet players from other areas, and improve their game, but they also usually get some cool loot to take home.
CMHA hosts our own Jamboree/Tournament at the end of the Season during Spring Break - all CMHA Initiation players participate in this tournament.
Do I have to volunteer?
YES!!! Every team has several jobs to be filled and many hands make for light work. Your Coaches, Safety person and Team Manager are already giving their time for their families, so every other family on the team should look to see where they can chip in and do their part.
Did you know? The team officials are responsible for safety of the players and that the league rules are followed, but their main objective is to teach your player a love of the game and have fun. If you have a question or comment to for one of the team officials, it's recommended that you wait 24 hours and then communicate via your Team Manager. This is known as the "24 hour rule".
Volunteer jobs on the team include:
Coach(es) (Team Official)
Hockey Canada Safety Person (Team Official)
Team Manager (Team Official)
Treasurer (keep track of the money)
Fundraising (organize raising the money)
Tournament Representative (sit on the CMHA tournament committee - meets once or twice a month starting in November)
Special Events Coordinator (coordinate mini games, tournaments, etc)
Year End Coordinator (coordinates the year end event)
Time Keepers (run the time clock and keep score)
If a team only has two coaches it takes 10 families minimum to fill up all of these jobs, so that's why it is so important that every family pitches in.
Did you know?? Every one of your Coaches will volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of their time with your player during the course of the season.
In addition to the above, the Association hosts a Tournament/Jamboree
during Spring Break and every parent in H2 - H4 is expected to chip in a few hours to help out with this event.
Lastly, at the Association level we are always looking for parents to help out with the Executive and Management of the Association and it's Divisions. If you can help in any way we would love to have you attend our meetings and get involved.
Did you know?? It takes at least 15-20 people to run the Association during the season, many of whom volunteer with their own teams also.
Are there any extra costs in Hockey? Well - that's up to your team. Options include:
1> Name bars - name bars can be made up so every player can have their last name on their jersey (temporarily - they get whip-stitched on and then you pick out the stitches to remove it and re-use it next season) - this usually costs about $10 each.
2> Tracksuits/Jackets - players can get team tracksuits/jackets. This can cost from $50 to $100 per player. The CMHA has a recommended provider for our own Association tracksuits on the CMHA website, but it is permitted for teams to source their tracksuits separately.
3> Jamboree/Tournaments - these events cost $300 to $900 each depending on the number of ice times and the quality of the event. Teams need to register for these events early if they want to participate as most fill up fast. Our own association holds a Spring Break tournament that is a mandatory event for all of our teams.
Did you know? The first night in a hotel with their hockey team is a life-long memory for many players.
4> Year-end party - costs can be as little as $400 and as high as $2000 depending on what the team wants to do, how many Team Officials there are to get thank you gifts for and how fancy the team wants to get with the year-end giveaways for the players. H1 - H4 teams also get some freebies for year-end from Tim Hortons. Some teams also do a Christmas get-together which would be an additional cost.
5> Admin costs - most teams will need at least some minor bank fees and postage covered. Some teams choose to use special Team websites and that cost would also be included in the Admin costs budget.
6> Group events - Teams will often organize group attendance to a hockey game or other event (Canucks Super Skills, Giants, Surrey Eagles, Langley Chiefs) where the players will either just watch or also participate in intermission mini-games.
7> Extra Ice - Teams can decide to buy extra ice for things like extra practices or exhibition games.
Teams decide as a group on a budget at the beginning of the season, planning out what the expenditures and expected fundraising will be. Costs are usually handled by either each family writing a cheque for the full amount of their share, or by fundraising. Some teams select to do a combination of this where all the families write a deposit cheque at the beginning of the year, and at the end of the year the team will refund the families up to the amount of those cheques depending on how successful their fundraising is (if you raise more than the deposits, the remainder gets spent on the players).
Did you know?? Fundraisers are a great way to spend time with and get to know your fellow hockey parents.
Examples of other events include:
H1 and H2 get to do the Timbits Jamboree which is a free event and usually held in late November (Chilliwack Bruins) or early February (Vancouver Giants). The kids go to the arena and there are lots of free activities, player autograph sessions, and one fun game on the "big" ice with players as their coaches. Along with this event is also a discount ticket purchase opportunity to attend a Bruins/Giants game during Hockey Week in Canada.
H1 and H2 can apply to take part in the Canucks Timbits intermission game. Players and coaches attend free and family members attend at discounted rates.
H1 - H4 can apply to take part in several "mini minor" intermission game opportunities with the Surrey Eagles, Langley Chiefs, etc. Players and coaches attend free and family members attend at discounted rates.
What else do I need to know about being a Hockey Parent?
Apart from making sure they have all their gear ready, wearing warm clothes, and knowing the location of the nearest coffee shop for early morning ice times - it comes down to being present and cheering on your player no matter the outcome. It is very important to remember that the reason your player is participating is to have fun. The number one reason cited for coaches, managers and officials of all ages leaving a sport is unacceptable parent behaviour.
There is a fantastic 1-hour educational program put out by BC Hockeycalled Respect in Sport for Parents that can be found here: https://bchockeyparent.respectgroupinc.com/secure/
The above information is intended to provide a high level "user friendly" overview of Hockey for new parents - it is not a replacement for the full Hockey Canada, BC Hockey, PCAHA or Cloverdale Minor Hockey Regulations and Rules. For any questions or comments, please contact your Division Director.