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We Want Your Feedback - ASHA's Proposal For Mandating Half-Ice Hockey at the 10U Level

By Barrett Heisten , 01/22/18, 2:45PM AKST

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In the fall of 2017, the state of Washington was the first ever to mandate half-ice hockey at the 10U Squirt Level.

Last month, there was a proposal made to the Alaska State Hockey Associate (ASHA) Board to mandate half-ice hockey for all 10U Squirt divisions beginning in the fall of 2018. There is still a lot of discussion about this proposal and the idea of mandating half-ice hockey at the 10U level in Alaska. It is the hope of some, to present the proposal as a 1st read at the April ASHA meeting and then vote on this proposal at the July ASHA meeting. I want to be crystal clear that AHA has not yet decided one way or the other on mandating  half-ice hockey at the 10U level. We have had and will continue to have discussion about this.  We want to take our time to gather as much information as we can before we cast our vote.

Please use this forum to voice your opinion. If you want your opinion to be anonymous, make sure to log out of your Sports engine  Account and enter anonymous in the name field. However you feel about this, good or bad, please provide your thoughts and suggestions. Please take some time to think; if this were to happen, how would you like to see it played out?

Your time and consideration are greatly appreciated. 

Letter from the Director of Player Development for Pacific Northwest Amateur Hockey Association (PNAHA)

We in PNAHA  just felt that all the USA Hockey ADM philosophies and information about scaling down the game to the players physical size and capabilities led us to  the realization that half ice 10U was the next natural progression. PNAHA is one of the first states to mandate half ice 10U. There is not much printed info from USA Hockey unless you read the ADM philosophies literally. We are more or less a pilot program for USA Hockey and a lot of other states are watching our progress. It is a tough battle to convince the old guard that half ice 10U will create much more skill development. Canada is mandating cross ice initiation  hockey and half ice atoms will be their next step. It may take a while for them and the US will slowly embrace 10 U half ice.  Try searching age appropriate Hockey and half ice hockey. 

Our Strategy in WA was to get all the major associations Hockey directors and coaching directors and opportunity to review information, discuss pros and cons, and a time frame to institute the system. We had to make sure all associations purchased divide a rinks. We found a manufacturer that gave us a great deal when we bought 8 sets. We decided to half all the recreational teams play half ice year 1 and our travel or 10U B teams play a few half ice games that 1st year. We received great comments from our rec coaches and association directors so year 2 we passed a motion at the pnaha meeting that all pnaha10U teams must play half ice. This gave some teams the opportunity to play full ice in out of state games or tournaments. Parents see the difference with more players getting more opportunities to play the puck, pass, shoot and forced to make quick decisions. 

We just played Portland in there 1st half ice game here in Tacoma and their coaches and parents were very impressed and pretty happy with it. The game was 11 to 11 with the goalies getting over 40 shots. 

The only bad we have heard is from a few parents and some old school ooaches who complain that it is not “real hockey” and they won’t learn offsides or icing. Our response is that most coaches can teach a player with good skills offsides and icing in about 5 to 10 minutes. Icing is not a skilled maneuver. Battling and making quick decisions in a crowded area builds skill.

I’ve attached a USA Hockey article written about our decision to move to 10U half ice.  

Rob Kaufman
PNAHA Director of Player Development