I know everyone here is hung up on their EHF/E9 Elite battles.
However, I wanted to know if anyone out there had any opinions on the way USAH hockey is handling the U8 level in regards to full and cross ice games?
First, let me start by saying that personally I am a huge fan of what the cross ice/half ice concept is doing for player development across the board. BUT, why prevent kids from learning the full ice game and then impose sanctions on entire organizations as a result?
AND again, why does USAH hockey feel that it is their job to regulate and impose sanctions on organizations and individuals who are looking for a little more than that as they prepare for transition into squirt hockey? Isn't there room at the U8 level for both cross ice and full ice?
Again, why do they feel that a hard line policy is either effective or appropriate?
"why prevent kids from learning the full ice game"
Ahhh Scooter, they have about 10 years to 'learn the full ice game.' And I suppose seeing as how it should take about two weeks to fully pick-up the concept then they have 9 years 11 months and two weeks to perfect it.
Full ice for mites is THE single stupidest thing that has ever transpired in hockey. It would be like putting high school kids on a sheet of ice the size of a football field and thinking anything good could come from it and it being a good use of ice time.
I agree - Full ice is not beneficial for the Mite level. The kids get more touches with half ice.
spoken like guys that just finished their tier 1 coaching clinic.
That said, I am not arguing the benefits of cross ice/half ice hockey at the U8 level. It is a great concept that has done wonders for the development of kids over the last 5 years. In fact, you will see teams at all levels regularly playing small area games in practice.
The question is why does USAH feel it is necessary to alienate the programs which want to introduce a hand full of full ice games for their better Mite players?
additionally, USAH has said no full ice hockey, but they have failed to really define what cross ice hockey is and how it should be played or implemented.
- should it be played 3v3 or 4v4? one might argue that having kids play 3v3 on a half sheet is no different than playing 5v5 on a full sheet.
- what happens after a goal? is there a face off? do the kids back up to the middle? Do they have to go back and skate around their own net?
- how long should shifts be, 60, 90, or 120 seconds?
- what is the ideal team size? how is playing cross ice with a 16 kid team beneficial for a kid when he sees the ice 6 times in an hour?
many more questions just like these that need to be answered if USAH truly wants to implement and regulate cross ice hockey.
i find it odd this is even a discussion. what other sport has their 8 year olds play on the same size surface and 'nets' as professionals? has US basketball suffered because 8 year olds do not use 10 foot nets? yep, baseball is so much fun with those 90 foot base paths.
all we hear about is increasing skill level. no one else finds it odd that hs, colleges and up (that includes pro teams) are allocating valuable ice time to 'small area games'. is it that traffic (not open ice) increases skill handling skills? or that you can have numerous 'games' can happen at the same time -- increasing touches for all not just the top lines.
the assumption is that USA hockey was leading this when in fact it was light years behind.
The best solution is 1/2 ice vs. cross ice for the A division Mites. 4v4. This solves the debate. Skating, puck touches. Case closed.
Now that my duster is a PW, I have to say that Mites on full-ice on club teams looks absolutely ridiculous. Yet, I STILL hear of Mite dads griping and pulling their kids out of town hockey so their benders can play full-ice "real hockey." Now that the matter has mostly settled over the past few years, the Townie hockey programs seem to be permanently damaged.
"spoken like guys that just finished their tier 1 coaching clinic."
Nope, more like spoken by guys who have been through it. At the mite level it should be 1) skating lessens 2) shooting and stick handling in the driveway and 3) playing small sheet games. Full ice hockey for mites would be about 20th on the things you should be looking at or worrying about.
When my kid was a Mite major, they did 1/2 the season cross-ice ice games. They added in a handful of full ice games towards the end of the season. I thought that was a good balance.
Yup For higher level mites it used to be 1/2 season of cross ice and a 1/2 season of full ice.
Cross ice you can identify the smartest players a lot quicker.. full ice can have the fastest or so called best.. FED could charge twice as much for an elite cross ice league.. wake up
Lots of advantages to cross ice.. but best players still dominate. Bender goes from scoring hat trick to scoring 7-10 goals in cross ice game. Bender will still have puck on his stick.
95% of the best 8U players in New England are playing full ice hockey. Those are the facts. You will know if your bender is able to handle full ice at the 8U age group, otherwise just stick to cross ice or 1/2 ice with blue pucks, no rules, no structure, getting the most of those small area game skills.
The fact that you are even worrying about this affecting your little Johnny's long term development and/or enjoyment of this game speaks volumes to the level of your living through your kid. It's 8U! Do you REALLY believe some coach is going to actually wonder where in the world this super star stud kid he sees at 15 years of age played hockey as a U8? Or that it is going to have such an impact on his development that playing that lowly cross ice is going to permanently stunt his development? You do realize that THE MOST IMIPORTANT development years for boys are 12 years - 14 years of age, yes? Not 7, not, 8, not 9. You sir, are the very definition of what is wrong with youth hockey in Massachusetts.
Still not many responses that actually answer the original question....
This was not meant to be a debate over the merits of cross/half ice hockey. I think that an overwhelming majority agree that it is advantageous for all players, especially at the U8 level.
However, is there anyone out there that actually feels USAH is getting it right by forcing organizations to ONLY go the cross ice route?
As someone did comment, this policy is effectively killing U8 hockey at the town level. Those programs that go by the book and do not attempt to play some kind of full ice schedule, are effectively losing their best players out of the gate. Those families are leaving for Club teams even earlier than they used to and once they are gone, they never come back.
Personally, I think it was a poorly thought out and lazy attempt to change the landscape. While I think it was effective in forcing some organizations to comply, they have only created themselves another issue where there now exists an "US vs THEM" mentality at an even earlier age.... and it desperately needs attention.
I don't think USAH is getting it wrong. They should've done this year's ago. The issue is they let the club teams get away with full ice. There needs to be some sort of consequences for all. I actually loved the cross ice format for my kids and think they are better players for having played it. I honestly believe the kids don't care if it's full ice, cross ice, half ice. We as parents ruin the fun.
Absolutely within usah rights to sanction non compliant programs. It can be debated whether some usah rules are better for the kids but there is no debating xice and therefore it should be inforced.
“However, is there anyone out there that actually feels USAH is getting it right by forcing organizations to ONLY go the cross ice route?”
I’d say yes. 98% of knowledgeable hockey parents see what a total waste of valuable resources (ice time) full sheets for mights is. 10 eight year old kids taking a full sheet for an hour is a ridiculous waste.
I'm surprised this is still an ongoing debate but here's my .02.
Yes, USA Hockey has the right to impose rules on organizations, they are the sanctioning body for youth hockey. Are they always right, heck no, look no further than an early season Bantom Minor game and the needless headshots kids are taking as they learn to check, but I digress. I'm not going to debate the pros/cons of mite xice, it's been done too many times already but again, yes they have the right to impose rules. In terms of damaging town programs in New England, USA Hockey just needs to grow a set and stop allowing the needless shell games that organizations are using to get around the xice mandate. Stiffen the rules, follow through on the penalties & the programs will comply. If not, well then it's just another competitive differentiator for select hockey.
Full Ice 8U Forwards = 0% development watching 90% of game with little 8yr old Gretzky going "Coast to Coast" without a pass to any of his teammates. Until they figure it out its not worth the energy to go back up ice to watch him score again.
Full Ice 8U Defense = 0% development
Full Ice 8U Goaltending = 1% development in Shoot Out reps.
Full Ice Coaching = 0% hockey development and 80-100% Ego building based on how many little 8U Gretzkys on the squad.
Full Ice Parent = 100% WIN!!!!! See you in Bantams when all things come out in the wash and little Gretzky isn't a "coast to coast" player so much.
1/2 season cross ice
1/4 season NORTH and SOUTH half ice
5 games +/- Introducing Full ice (only to mite Majors)
does anyone know how it's done in Canada or Europe for 8U? Not that they know more or less but curious if this is a USAH thing or accepted everywhere
ADM starting with xice is based upon models in a number of european countries.
We have been playing Swedish hockey here in USA for too ******* long.. we need to teach kids to pass the ******* puck and FINNISH... ALL SWEDISH AND NO FINISH. Cross ice hockey for all you idiots
lets make sure the mites understand off sides and icing before they have any skills to utilize that knowledge.
This is the silliest topic here in years. A better one would be Bauer or Warrior sticks or Bauer CCM skates or . . . or . . . 8 year old kids taking up a full sheet of ice is almost the definition of insanity.
I remember being at a highly regarded Midget tournament a few years ago and the tournament took place at different rinks in the region. We went to the rink and it had one full sized regulation sheet of ice and one smaller practice rink. On the full sized rink was a town mite game and on the practice rink was the midget game with some of the top prospects in the region (many who didn't even start playing hockey until squirts!). Just makes you shake your head....and trying to affix a value to mites playing on a full sheet is idiotic. Just stop the lunacy
yet, when you really face reality, no matter what is best for the kids, Full-ice at the mite level will never go away.
It would take ALL of the top programs in the region to all agree to buy in simultaneously. Without that coordinated change, a single program who chooses to make a change for the betterment of development will in fact handicap their organization for years to come. The mere fact that parents continue to flock to programs with full-ice mites, and the big business that comes from them paying tuition, is the greatest hurdle in this never ending battle.
But johnny all-star deserves to be able to go end-to-end 5 times a game on the full sheet... and owners deserve to rake in future NHL daddy's tuition dollars.
it's a hard reality of the current state of things, but one that we will not see change anytime soon.
Change happens is when the leader pivots and the sheep follow.
If you are a parent, and the best coaches, organizations, etc. are all choosing full ice over cross ice.
Explain to anyone with half a clue why it would be better to have their child coached by a 2nd or 3rd tier coach, because the cross ice game time they will get is going to make them a better player than playing against the best kids full ice, and playing/practicing with the best coaches?
After all, doesn't everyone always claim that it is about the best coach and 95% of development occurs in practice at that age?
in reply to "if the leader changes, sheep will follow comment":
In this crazy backwards world of little kid hockey, if the leader was the only one to make an organizational change like this, the next day they would no longer be the leader. They would effectively cripple their Mite program for whatever time they continue to buck the trend. and I guarantee that whatever birth years came through their program while that policy was in place, would be crippled for years after that if the majority did not quickly follow suit.
2nd and 3rd tier mite coaches that is good stuff too
The fact that you fail to understand how enormous an impact a good coach (or bad) can have on a players future at the U8 level, is nothing short of shocking.
Running kids through drills like cattle is good and all, but if you do not have coaches who can correct bad habits, then those kids are forever at a disadvantage.
so consenus is that if you just stick every kid out on the ice and play 3-4 years of cross ice games, that it is meaningless how good a coach they have is. Spoken like an idiot who stands on the glass and screams at the 18 year old refs at one of those U9 and U10 squirt A games.
not sure why I bother even replying to these things.
Does your kid puke on the puck like you puke on your keyboard.
Full ice, checking, and tag-up off-sides should all start at squirts. Period.
Could you imagine a great coach starting with 1st year mites.. with a good crop of talent. Doing the same power skating and skills 2-3 days a week but developing a cross ice mite dynamo. Utilizing a lot of cross ice to form the foundation for passing, forchecking and backchecking.. puck support is easier to instill as top players will always have outlets for passing.. that top coach just has to demand the kids shared the puck...You take an e9 or Fed mite crop and in one years time they will have the upper hand on most all other mite teams.
The core skills they will need to compete at AAA level would be visibly better than the system we use today... a good coach w. a descent group of could develope a team that could call out all of New England and beat them cross and full ice. In doing this have the team primed and better prepared for full ice squirts and real hockey.
Eliminating the 200 ft forcheck and backcheck adds a lot of additional players for Benders to compete with and against.
The bad habits that most good players engrain into their game in the formative full ice mite years take years and years to break.. ask any good coach. Or just keep thinking you know hockey or you know how to teach and coach young hockey players.
The best squirt coaches are the ones who have a knack for dismantleing a mite superstars game... IHC 07E coach has that knack. He can break a wild horse quickly.
Because there is no disadvantage to cross ice for the PLAYERS. It is only a disadvantage or structural adjustment to the owners, administrators and volunteers.. Anyone who cares about hockey players and their advancement clearly supports USA hockey and their initiative to sanction any and all hockey organizations that make excuses about cross ice hockey non compliance..something that is holding USA Hockey back from their mission.
Once implemented the chance that any top organization is going to work 8-10 years with a tier 1 national bound Bantam or midget dream team and miss that ride because they failed to comply with mite rules is laughable.
Well I come to rink tonight and eat my words.. our mites no longer our mites. USA hockey is weilding its anvel and our board caves for this year..New name to the mite team & new mini jerseys on the way...Bantam team tier 2 National bound? Organization Complying w. USA Hockey? Doing right by next generation mites? Hey Anon I could not imagine where my squirts would be if they had access to a competitive X Ice mite league for 2-3 years. Happy to say they have dialed in a 5 pass breakout.. just know they would have mastered that a lot quicker w. X Ice prerequisite.
The science shows that kids do not learn "the full ice game" for quite a few years after mites. More touches of the puck and more smaller area battles are what helps young players get better. In a time when kids are not spending 4-5 hours on outdoor rinks or ponds around here anymore due to the fickle weather its important to maximize the volume of touches of the puck.
All well and good, but the kids need to develop a good skating stride and that definitely does not happen via the ADM small area drills. So with no pond hockey and mini area practice models, many kids coming out of mites have nowhere the skating ability of their predecessors at the same age level and never really catch up to the full-ice club hockey peers. From what I see, many come out of mites with short, choppy mini ice strides that will take years to correct. And it doesn't matter how well they can do in a small area if they can't get there.
Full stride... the difference between USA and the rest of the international field is not the stride..We have always been able to skate. It's everything else in the game the USA need to catch up on.. What good is it to skate like the wind but not be able handle the puck and think. Canadian, Russian and top European national teams love your thinking.. Keep USA hockey irrelevant forever.
Yeah, no idea at all. The better time to play small area hockey is at 10-14 when the kids can grasp the concept of quick passing and getting to the open area. Six and seven year olds don't understand that enough to benefit. So the might as well follow the kid with the puck for 180' rather than 60' and get some good skating in.
Ya I know you have know idea at all.. you want lots of starts, stops, cross overs, dynamic turns, change of direction, speed change, backwards skating, dynamic angling, body contact balance skating, constant forchecking and backchecking.. and you think that these skating situatuins are addressed better in skating full ice games.. JUST Like the 6 year old brain we know you don't understand the process of any of these learning concepts.. so why would the concept of passing and puck support in a small ice be any different.
It's just an opinion. Like a prior poster said, "we've always been able to skate." Exactly, my point the kids learned to skate up and down the ice at young age rather than skating around cones within in a 10 square foot box. The difference between US and others wasn't mini/ADM mites, it was too much overemphasis on games and very little emphasis on skills and good practices as the kids move through squirts, pee week, and bantams. If anything, there should be more 3v3 available at these ages. I'm sure there are some good town programs that offer a 3v3 component for their players. I'm talking a full session, not 10 minutes during practice.
We should know shortly who is right/wrong on this debate. My understanding is the much of the country has fully embraced the ADM model, from xice to practice/game ratio with New England being a glaring hold out, mostly thanks to club hockey & us parents. IMHO, the 02's and 03's represent the first group of kids who will have been on significantly different development path than their peers around the country since age 5+ If the anti-ADM guys are right, we should start to see an uptick in New England players on U16 worlds, U18 worlds and NTDP team. If the number of New England players numbers continue to shrink, to me that will be additional validation of the overall ADM model.
I see most of New England A, AA, AND AAA is embracing ADM philosophy at their practices AND clinics ...just not during games..not any leagues yet. Only have to follow our e9 elite and fed teams at their travel AAA squirt and pee wee tournaments against national fields outside of NE to see MOST teams can no longer qualify or belong in the top divisions. See Redmen next week at JJ Rosato tg 06 tourney next week.. this will tell just how far off we are.
Redmen AAA Team has no shot to win the Elite division of the 06 Rosato Tournament even though they are older than the teams they are playing. No clue what you think this will prove for the ADM.
Sorry Town Hockey got cut!
Redman are a 4th place tier 2 team🤔