The Facts are In on Cross-Ice Hockey
By Trevor Erhardt, ProSmart Hockey Head Coach
What's your Attitude towards Cross-Ice Hockey?
There’s a hot debate going on in many hockey rinks right now, and that is whether Initiation and Novice players are better off playing cross-ice or full-ice games.
Parents ask the questions…
“Why should my child play cross-ice, what will they learn?”
“I want my child playing on full-ice like the NHL”
Stats don't lie, Long Term-Athlete Development research tells us kids need more interaction in their games, which is exactly what cross-ice hockey does. Many minor hockey associations across Canada and USA have mandated cross-ice games. Here are the pros and cons.
- Kids don’t learn the rules: off-sides, icings, faceoff locations, penalties, etc.
- Kids don’t get structured game situations
- Parents attitude: my kids are too good for cross-ice hockey
- More efficient use of ice time and space
- Allows more kids to be on the ice at the same time
- Increases the use of the core skating skills “ABC’s” (Agility, Balance, Coordination)
- Increases the number of puck touches per player
- Provides a better environment for teaching ice awareness and boosting hockey sense
- Promotes stronger passing, pass receiving, and puck support
- Allows young goaltenders, when introduced, to experience more game-like action
- Creates a stronger degree of challenge for the more advanced players by having them face more opposition on a smaller amount of ice space
- Builds the confidence of our lesser-skilled players
Sure, it might not be as engaging for a spectator, but it starts with you, the coach, being an advocate for cross-ice hockey. A team will naturally follow your lead, so if you excite them about playing a game on any sized rink (pond, street, etc.) then they will show the same enthusiasm. You must nurture the fun in any competitive learning environment.
Consider this; when you take your kids to the frozen pond, what size of rink are they making? I almost guarantee that it isn't 200 x 85.