Week #3 Parent's Letter

No Checking until Bantams?

I attended a USA Hockey West Section Meeting Saturday where there was much discussion regarding the new no checking until Bantam rule that is being voted on in June.  It seems very likely that the new rule will be passed.  Many who don’t know the details are against it.  I am for it for the following reasons:

  1. Body contact is not effected, it is actually encouraged at a younger age with this rule change.  Only the “Big” hits, or those where a player extends his arms and drives his shoulder through a player.
  2. Body contact leading to checking will be an encouraged part of the game starting at Mite Level.  USA Hockey has a body contact and checking manual that includes a checking progression which the Grizzly Program has been using for the last year at all our levels.
  3. USA hockey will be doing clinics with the referee’s to instruct them on how to call the body contact at Mite through Pee Wee.  This will take a while, so as usual, we must be patient with the refs!
  4. By starting to introduce body contact, angling, and checking at Mites, by the time the players are Bantams, they should be comfortable with it, and it wont be the shock of going from strict no checking to checking. 
  5. SKILLS – Skills sets will obviously increase as players are able to handle the puck without worry of getting killed.
  6. SAFETY – It has been proven that kids under the age of 12 years are limited as to how many simultaneous decisions their brains are able to process at one time.  When they are skating, stick handling and trying to determine what to do with the puck, they have a hard time trying to avoid potential checks.  That is why you see some kids “dump” the puck quickly so they can focus on the players around them.  This is the same reason why our program focuses mainly on skills at the younger ages and we are not concerned about team play.  Young kids cant process both.  By introducing team play at ages Mite and under, you are directly effecting the players long term skill development.



We will mostly concentrate on station work this week.

Warm-up, quick skate, stretches, instruction, and then break into stations.

1st Station

Rebound Control

Pad saves without a stick

Poke check recovery

Challenging and angles


2nd Station

Above the pad saves

Below the pad saves

Stick deflections to the corner

Working through screens


3rd Station

Letter Drills (L,W,X)

One timer saves


Quotes of the day 

“Winners see what they want to happen.  Losers see what they want to avoid”

“There are three kinds of people:

-        Those that make things happen

-        Those that watch things happen

-        Those that wonder…What happened?

Which one are you?

 Move of the dayTight turn with the puck 

Too often we see kids fire a blind pass without first looking up ice, often resulting in a turnover.  We will work on picking up a puck and pivoting to a position where we can see the ice and find a lane to make a play.  Keeping our head up, seeing the ice, making an accurate pass, and working on our pivots will be stressed.


Homework Assignment:  Tiger Woods Drill

Remember the old commercial with Tiger Woods bouncing a golf ball off the blade of his club then hitting it in mid air about 250 yds?  We want you to do the same thing with your hockey stick and a tennis ball.  But you don’t need to hit it that far.  Take a tennis ball and your hockey stick outside and practice dribbling the ball, bouncing the ball on the blade of the stick (see how many times you can bounce it with out the ball hitting the ground), Dribble the ball like a basketball with your stick.  Play catch with a parent.  You flip them the ball, they bounce it or lightly throw it back to you.  You control it with your stick.  Think up some games of your own.  Go for a walk or rollerblade around your neighborhood while practicing.  Good Luck!!


Clinic Drills

Obstacle Course 

We will be working on the stick handling concepts from the last 2 weeks with the emphasis on keeping your head up.  We will have coach’s placed along the way that they must look up and see to determine where to go next.  We will be adding lots of shooting opportunities today as well.


Small Area Games

We will play 3v3 today with a few twists.  We will use white pucks for part of the time.  The players cannot see the puck very well until it is right on them.  This is great for hand eye coordination and stick skills.  Then we will introduce the ringette rings.  Both of these are designed to encourage the kids to play with their heads up, and are great for working on puck control.  Then we will play with a regular puck but players can only skate 1 stride before they pass unless they are on a breakaway.


Program Notes

Remember that next week there will be no clinics due to Spring Break.  There will be a 3 v 3 game this Sunday, but not the following Sunday (April 24th).

If you have not gotten your Stick Handling DVD, please remember to pick it up this week.

See you at the Pond!!