I have been very pleased with the improvement of our beginning skaters. Almost all our players are ready to leave their buckets and start to skate on their own. Buckets are far more than just a support. They help players to open their hips, bend their knees and push out sideways rather than straight back. All three of these are essential components of skating forwards. If you are concerned about your Timbit’s skating than you have a few options. One is to bring them to two practices so we can work with them. The second is to take them to public skating.

Some of our players who have resisted buckets are still running on their skates. This may look like they are progressing BUT in fact they are learning to do something that is not part of skating. Skating requires the player to be almost constantly out of balance as they push off with alternating feet. This emphasis on staying balanced above their skates will make their progression harder.

We will begin to move players from buckets once they get a push with both feet. Games are coming and all players need to be off buckets to participate in the games.

In order to make this transition a little easier we will be using buckets for ALL players in two of our drills this Saturday. I have used buckets all the way to Bantam to show foot placement – they are not restricted to IP.

On Halloween both IP1 and IP2 were scheduled at the same time in the morning to allow our Timbits to go trick or treating. I was at Bell with the IP1’s from 8 – 1.

I left the IP2 group a practice outline and the equipment to run the practice. This is no small assignment for younger adults. You have to learn to take on positions of responsibility sometime. I am pleased that they stepped up,

See everyone next Saturday.

Each IP2 team will be assigned a set of goalie gear in its own bag. IP1 teams will not have goalies. IP1 focuses on developing skating and puck handling.Starting the first practice in November we will begin our goalie skills development. One of our instructors is a goalie and is responsible for the training.Each team will assign goalies in the manner the parents support. Teams will NOT HAVE a single dedicated goalie. Not all players are ready to be a goalie but players should get a  chance to try if they are interested. This has worked well for the last three years and I do not expect any problems this year. I will get two sets of left handed goalie gloves so that all players can use the equipment. Goalie sticks are NOT ASSIGNED to the teams will be brought to the games by the referees.

Mini Games are coming!

Posted: October 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

Our players have done very well in our first month of practice and now it is time to add another component to the NMHA IP program.

NMHA IP “Timbits”Games 2015 – 2016

Players and fans all enjoy the excitement of a “real” game. Hockey Canada mandates when the first game can be – ours will start in late November and early December. The Initiation program is about developing skills and attitudes so that future hockey experiences are based on a firm foundation.  It is important that everyone understands the way the games will work.

First the obvious things:

Like any hockey game two teams will be involved.

There are no winners and no scores are posted.

There are no standings.

There are no MVPs  but parents are encouraged to recognize assists and goals.


Now the organization:

Each team has 20 players and our goal is to maximize the number of “touches” a player gets during the game. Each game will be run by an instructor ref in a referee jersey. Shifts will be 3 minutes long and play will restart with a faceoff after each goal. IP1 and IP2 will work slightly differently.

IP1 will have two five on five mini games at the same time played with smaller nets arranged lengthwise on the ice. There will be a neutral zone between the two nets at centre ice. We may be able to put up a barrier across the ice. There will be no goalies. This means 10 of the 20 players will be on the ice at any time while the rest are on the bench cheering on their team. For the sake of the spectators coaches will be asked to assign half of their team to each game. In that way parents can sit on the end of the arena where their child will be playing. This may change as the season progresses. Teams that are short players will have to make adjustments.

IP2 will have two games arranged lengthwise with standard nets. Each team will dress a goalie who will get training by our goalie coach starting in November. In the games goalies will face each other but will switch to the other game half way through. Like in IP1 players will be assigned to one end of the ice. This means one game will be six on six including goalies and the other will be four on four with no goalies.

These games will be exciting and full of great achievements. As always the experience will be guided by the simple principle of always being positive and building on or players’ accomplishments.

WARM UP SKATE: (5 minutes)

Skate with pucks (turn the nets so they will not be encouraged to shoot)

ALL IN ONE END (Less than 15 minutes of skating activities – all there and back)

  • Fast as you can
  • Hop every line
  • Fall at every line and get up
  • Skate to red line and two foot glide to the end with stick across the knees
  • Skate to the red and ONE FOOT glide to the end
  • Scull (inside outside)
  • Stop at every line and look at the stands
  • Fast as you can

ACTIVITY STATIONS – 4 groups (6 minutes per station)

  1. Shark skate with ringette rings inside a faceoff circle. Location – Both faceoff circles at one end.

GOAL: This develops balance, lowered stance, edge control, puck protection, collision avoidance and rapid first steps.

VOCAB: “ Sharks have to keep skating to survive. I want you to keep skating without bumping into each other or losing your ring. You cannot leave the circle.”

  1. Figure eight skate and glide – each player will skate around their own set of two pylons placed 10 feet apart. Location:  Red line to blue line at one end.

GOAL: This develops inside edge pressure to initiate a turn and to introduce the concept of the figure eight path..

VOCAB: “I want you to skate as fast as you can to the pylon and GLIDE AROUND IT then skate to the other pylon and GLIDE AROUND IT in the opposite direction. This is called a figure eight skate – remember to glide not skate around the pylon.”

  1. Cross ice skate and shot on net (PVC Goalie in place) Location: Across ice on one side of the red line.

GOAL: To develop basic stick handling and shot on net “where the goalie isn’t!”

VOCAB: “ Skate across the ice stick handling the puck and try to score on our goalie. Remember shoot where the goalie isn’t! Once you have shot join the line to come back and shoot on the other net.”

  1. Basketball  –. Two baskets skate and dunk! Location: Inside the ringette line on one end

GOAL: This develops rapid first steps, balance, mobility.

VOCAB: “ “Basket balls on ice – lets see those dunks” – “Did I mention the fact the may move???”



Orange buckets have done SO WELL in the first two practices. The plan is to push them a little by adding the “push the bucket away and skate to it” and “Simon says”  to the other activities. As a parent of an orange bucket reading this you should be proud!!!

Warm up

Collect sticks at the door so we can check the “knobs”

– We need to do three things:

  • Check name stickers
  • Check stick ends for safety
  • Begin to get skaters to stop leaning on their sticks


ALL IN – ( still no sticks!)

  • Fast as you can to centre and back x 2
  • Fall and get up at ringette and blue line
  • One two three glide. (three steps)
  • One two three stop


Station 1 Basket ball

The idea is to get them to find their balance points –  both forwards and backwards and to the side as well as to work on edge control.

Station 2 Plunger ball

This activity is designed to accomplish the same thing –  to get them to find their balance points –  both forwards and backwards and to the side as well as to work on edge control.

Station 3 Skating forwards and controlling the puck

The idea is to have players push the puck through a series of “gates” so they begin to learn puck control.

Station 4 – Just shoot

The idea is to have two players compete (for a pile of pucks)  to see who can shoot the most pucks into their net.

WRAP UP GAME “What time is it Mr Wolf?  – _____  are safe”

What a great start!

Posted: September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Kudos to all instructors and bench reps on a super smooth first weekend of practices.

The Timbits were so amazing! It was great to reconnect with all the players and parents.

A word about “tears”

To a 4 or 5 year old player the ice is HUGE and filled with people who “obviously” are better than them.

The truth is that we all l had to learn to walk and skating is no different… just like us learning to walk – small successes need to be met with praise ….

Put simply no instructor will be negative to any player about their progress. We will work on accentuating the positive.