WCMHA sees major changes for novice hockey

CARP – Hockey Canada has initiated major changes for novice-aged hockey players for the upcoming season and the West Carleton Minor Hockey Association (WCMHA) shared the info with hockey parents in a meeting Tuesday night (Sept. 3).

The WCMHA hosted a ‘town hall’ meeting at the Huntley Parish Hall to go over the new rules with parents of players born in 2011 or 2012.

The biggest change is novice games will now be played on half the ice surface. Hockey Canada says the move will help facilitate the teaching of all basic skills for young players; will get young kids off adult-sized surfaces; develop physical literacy and basic motor skills; foster a safe and positive learning experience; and provide proper progression from cross-ice to full ice.

The WCMHA thinks the smaller surface will increase puck touches, puck battles, pass attempts, pass receptions, shots on goal, shots per player and most importantly player engagement.

As the program is mandated by the national youth hockey association there is no option to opt out of the new rule.

Novice aged players can’t skip novice to play atom regardless of their skill level. Second year players may affiliate after Jan. 15.

The season will start mid to the end of October and may run longer in to March but no playoffs. In the Tier 2 to 4 which is the Warriors program, rosters will be smaller between nine and 13.

Games will be continuous with no face-offs. It will be a four vs. four format with a two-minute warm up and two 23 minute periods. Ninety second shifts controlled by a buzzer. All home games will be playedin Kinburn. The WCMHA has purchased boards for the centre ice line to divide the rink in two. Teams will share dressing rooms.

Teams will share a bench with each team having a head coach, assistant and trainer up to a total of five bench staff.

Coach 1 certification will happen Nov. 9 in Carp.