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HEO Minor District 2 Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project

Posted by Akwesasne Minor Hockey Association on Sep 11 2015 at 11:52AM PDT in 2014-2015

HEO Minor District 2 Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project
August 26, 2015

Young hockey players leading change
This season Cornwall Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) will be hosting a Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project for teams from across Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) Minor District 2. Approximately 180 Novice aged players within HEO Minor District 2 from the Minor Hockey associations of Akwesasne, Alexandria, Char-Lan, Cornwall, South Stormont (Long Sault) and NGS (Maxville/Finch) will participate in this HEO Minor (formerly Ottawa District Minor Hockey Association) Pilot Project initiative.

The Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project will take place over 3 weeks this fall prior to the start of the Lower St Lawrence Minor Hockey League (LSLMHL) season. The dates for this Pilot Project are Sept. 13, 20, 23, 26, 27 and 30 at the Benson Centre. All associations will be sending out date/time schedules to their Novice players families and coaches.

LSLMHL will be growing this season as all the HEO Minor District 2 B House and C House teams from Novice to Midget will be playing in LSLMHL, including, for the first time in a few years, all CMHA B House and C House teams.

The Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project will allow Novice aged players (7 and 8 year olds) to experience hockey on an age appropriate size rink with age appropriate size nets. The rink setup will mean that six teams will be playing 3 cross ice games on the same standard rink at the Benson Centre. The three “Mini rinks” will be separated by portable cross ice rink boards purchased for the use of all HEO Minor District 2 associations courtesy of a generous grant from HEO Minor’s Legacy Fund.

About a year ago HEO Minor approached CMHA and a couple of other HEO Minor associations in the Ottawa area to be the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project’s first associations to operate a Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 program. CMHA’s President, Pat McLeod, who is very aware of the importance of development, especially for the youngest players in hockey, enthusiastically embraced the opportunity. He has spearheaded the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project on behalf of HEO Minor District 2. The logistics of purchasing the portable boards and providing information briefings to the various HEO Minor District 2 associations took a while to complete and now the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project is ready to hit the ice in Cornwall this fall.

There are a multitude of benefits for the Novice players playing the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game. The players will have more chances to develop individual technical game skills quicker. There will be more ice time for each player and all players will be more likely to remain involved in the play during their shifts. Scoring skills will be enhanced for all players as they should all have more shooting opportunities. Goalies’ reading of the game and reaction to changing game situations will improve faster and they will face an increased number of shots in these games. Overall the smaller rink size will mean the game will be full of continuously changing situations. The speed in playing situations will be increased, which will require quicker mental and physical reactions by the players. In short “Hockey sense”, or understanding the principles of the game, for forwards, defensemen and goalies will be developed faster at a younger age in the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 program .

USA Hockey studied the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game versus a Novice Full Ice game and discovered through their analysis that in the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game there were six times more shots on goal per player and players received five times more passes. Also in the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game there were twice as many puck touches, battles for the puck and changes of direction/pivots for each player. Overall there was an average of 1.75 shots per minute on net in the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game compared to 0.45 shots per minute in the Novice Full Ice game. In short the Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 game statistics resembled those of an NHL game.

It is hoped that with the success HEO Minor District 2’s Novice Cross Ice 4 on 4 Pilot Project hosted by CMHA this fall that the program will continue to grow and become a permanent part of the development of Novice aged players across all associations in HEO Minor in the future.

There is a similar article on the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder website at: http://www.standard-freeholder.com/2015/08/25/cornwall-minor-hockey-pilot-project-will-take-flight

V/R

Rod Zeaton
LSLMHL Webmaster

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