USA Hockey’s age-appropriate, age-specific programming promotes the integration of high-performance cross-ice practices and games into youth hockey. This programming enhances players' skills, creativity and participation level, while also creating a positive environment for every child to play, love, excel and reach their full potential.

There are four main tenets to age-appropriate, age-specific hockey:

  1. More Puck Time
    Smaller spaces mean more opportunity for a player to touch the puck – and ultimately improve their skills.
  2. Age-Appropriate Training
    By scaling the ice to their level, children are more involved, more engaged and developing their skills more efficiently.
  3. Cost Savings
    Because multiple teams share the ice, parents save on ice time costs.
  4. Increased Competition
    A smaller ice surface makes players of all skill levels think and act quicker, resulting in more frequent battles for the puck and hockey decision-making.

"We play small-area games during our practices and it helps us become better players. It’s great to see cross-ice hockey as the standard for young players. There’s no need to play full-ice at the youngest ages. In cross-ice you really get a chance to improve your puckhandling, among other skills."
Zach Parise
Minnesota Wild, 2010 U.S. Olympian