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BC Hockey's Initiation Program/Cross Ice

The Initiation Program (IP)/Cross Ice is BC Hockey's exclusive program for young players learning to play hockey.  It is the proven foundation of early skills development AND love of the game for every BC and Yukon Minor Hockey Association (MHA).

BC Hockey's mission is to lead, develop and promote lifelong hockey experiences.  There is a body of evidence that shows that children who learn the skills of the game and have fun are more inclined to participate in hockey year after year.

"Hockey Canada strongly believes in the development of fundamental hockey skills through small area games and a station approach to instruction. In the age-appropriate competitive games model, the emphasis continues to be on small area games promoted through cross-ice hockey."

- Paul Carson, Vice President, Hockey Development, Hockey Canada

Join us on this journey to grow the game and increase enjoyment for players!

In response to this opportunity to ensure a rewarding experience, BC Hockey is re-launching the IP/Cross Ice in partnership with Hockey Canada and other organizations.

We are sure many of you are asking "why change?  What are the benefits of the IP/Cross Ice anyway?"

Remember, the overall goal of the IP/Cross Ice is to teach the foundational skills of hockey while having fun so players can enjoy the game.  Full-ice hockey has children chasing the puck much more than touching it.  By moving to cross-ice hockey, direction changes, puck touches, pass attempts and puck battles are doubled and shots per player are six (6) times higher for each player.

The IP/Cross Ice is aligned with Hockey Canada's Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model and promotes foundational skills that allows for success as the athlete progresses through year-after-year hockey experience.  For more information on LTPD, please visit the LTPD web page.

READ the BC Hockey media release about the announcement on July 12, 2016.


BC Hockey's Guidelines

Aligning with Hockey Canada's LTPD model, BC Hockey is developing a formal set of guidelines for Initiation aged players on the following principles:

  1. The technical curriculum will focus on having fun AND physical literacy
    • The official playing surface for practices and games will be cross-ice one-half, one-third or one-quarter the size of the regulation playing surface.
  2. The equipment should be amended to fit the size and skill level of the players
  3. It is suggested that registration and regulation should not be the same as for Atom and older age divisions
  4. Instructors should be trained in an appropriate manner to teach players of this age and level of development

What can be expected in the IP/Cross Ice Program?

The IP/Cross Ice program is designed for players seven (7) and eight (8) years old and under.

Both Hockey Canada and BC Hockey are asking each local Association to make a commitment to the IP/Cross and support it.  Change is always difficult, but together we can improve access to the game and enjoyment of hockey in our communities.

We encourage you to remember that the program has been designed for the children playing, not the observing adults. Growing pains are normal in any new program. However, with commitment, patience and support the results will be happier and healthier hockey playing families.  We are confident that the outcome, in most cases, will exceed everyone’s expectations. 


CLICK HERE for list of the Initiation Program Leads in each region.


Drill Hub has been refreshed with new features and a more mobile friendly design. You will still have free access to Hockey Canada’s growing library of drills.

  • Create your own set of drills or use our suggested practice plans.
  • Easy to print or view on your device(s), as well as share
  • It's FREE

Articles of Interest

10 Indisputable Statistics Proving Cross Ice is Better Than Full Ice for Young Players

Advantages of Cross-Ice Practicing and Playing

Cross-Ice Hockey and Small-Area Games

Cross Ice Hockey Overview

Cross Ice Passes the Test: Hockey Eastern Ontario pilot project popular with both players and parents

The Case for Small-Area Games

Using half-ice, fewer games and more practise time a plus for kids, says developmental guru George Kingston


Cross-Ice Hockey with Kelowna Minor Hockey Association and BC Hockey

Initiation Program Overview from Hockey Canada President and CEO Tom Renney

Initiation Program Overview from Hockey Canada's Paul Carson

An indepth look at the Initiation Program - Hockey Canada

We know it's USA Hockey, but these videos are great!

From Child's View, Parents Find Full-Ice Hockey No Fun

NHL Analytics Tracking of 8U Hockey Players

BC Hockey is a non-profit organization and member branch of Hockey Canada in charge of governing amateur hockey at all levels in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Approximately 150 minor hockey associations, 55,000 players, 4,500 referees, 20,000 official volunteers and countless others make our great game possible here in Pacific Canada.



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