Some so-called “hockey purists” will hate Hockey Canada’s directive to have seven and eight-year-old novice players use half the ice surface for their games.
Those purists are wrong. This is a good idea for developing skills among young players.
Next season, Saskatchewan will stage novice games on half-ice until moving to full-ice games on Jan. 1. Games will go from the goal line to the red line; the rest of the ice will be used for between-shift practising.
Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, said on the Green Zone that other sports, such as baseball and soccer, put their younger players on smaller playing surfaces.
In reduced quarters, novice hockey players will have more opportunities to touch the puck. They will be assimilating the skills they need to develop, how to move laterally, forwards and backwards, being aware of teammates and opponents while moving the puck towards the net. It’s been tried and proven in other provinces. And it obviously worked well enough to give it a full-fledged effort.