FRAMINGHAM YOUTH HOCKEY – Learn to Play Hockey Program
Laura Colantropo & Meredith Norton Brian Donnelly
Learn to Play Hockey Program & House League Directors On-Ice Instruction & Coaching
Welcome to the Framingham Youth Hockey Program! The Learn to Play Hockey program is designed to provide children between the ages of 4 and 10 the opportunity to learn to skate and acquire the skills required to play hockey. The program emphasizes having fun with hockey (the children should be enjoying their time on the ice), while encouraging the development towards higher levels of ability.
The Learn to Play Hockey program (LTPH) is the lifeblood of a continually strong youth hockey program in Framingham. It is rewarding to watch the children progress from pushing chairs to competitive travel team skaters. The experience the skaters have in our LTPH program sets a tone that will encourage them to continue to skate with our program throughout their school years and beyond.
In order to be eligible for this program, skaters must be between the ages of 4 and 10 years old. We reserve the right to make exceptions to the upper age limit at any time. To register your child for the program, please visit www.framinghamyouthhockey.organd click on the “Register Online” tab on the left hand side of the screen. Follow the directions provided for first establishing an account with the FYHP organization. Once an account has been established, you can revisit the registration tab with your user name and password and register your child for the LTPH program.
In addition, all skaters in the Learn To Play Hockey program must register with USA Hockey directly on their website at www.usahockeyregistration.com. This requirement must be met each year for all program participants. Once you have registered your child, please update your member account information you established at time of registration. The code is a nine digit, five letter combination such as the following:
- If your child is age 6 or under, registration is free.
- If your child is age 7 or older, USA Hockey charges a $46 annual fee as well as a $10.50 MA Hockey feel during the online registration process to cover the cost of injury insurance. This fee is not included in your child’s LTPH registration fee.
The fee for the LTPH program is $450 for the full season, which runs for 26 weeks and is due at time of registration. If space permits, a mid-year program will be offered, which begins in late November – typically the weekend after Thanksgiving – and with a reduced registration rate. Registration for the mid-year program will open in the Fall. Details of this will be posted on the FYHP website under the LTPH tab.
The LTPH program will start on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8:00 am and continues through mid-March.
There are four, fifty (50) minute LTPH sessions each week. Each skater in the program will be assigned to two of these sessions each week. We will post the schedules under the LTPH tab on the FYHP website. Please check these schedules for the recommended times for attendance – assigned either by last name, or color group (which correlates to skating skill level).
The skating sessions are usually at the following standard times each week:
Mondays: 5:30/5:40 pm
Fridays: 5:40 pm
Saturdays: 8:00 am
Sundays: 4:00 pm
NOTE: For a period of 7 weeks between December and February, Friday practices will be replaced with a Saturday practice. Please pay close attention to the calendars during this time.
All practices and games for the LTPH program will take place at Loring Arena Ice Rink (located on Fountain St. in Framingham, 508-620-4877).
Due to space and the number of skaters that may be in attendance for any practice, it is recommended that only one parent, or guardian assist their skater in the locker room. Locker room assignments will not be known in advance of each scheduled time, and will be posted on the board outside the respective locker room when entering the backside of the rink.
Scheduled games will be indicated on the LTPH schedule (not the website) and there will be no practice on the days that there are games scheduled.
In the event there is a practice cancellation due to an unforeseen conflict at Loring, or winter weather, notification will be sent with as much advance notice as possible. Additionally, if Loring is closed, practice is canceled. Notification will be sent by email and posted to the FYHP site, if time allows. However, parents are encouraged to use their personal judgement - if weather conditions make it too dangerous to travel, please stay home.
Please be sure your skater has the following equipment before coming onto the ice:
- HECC approved helmet with face mask
- Hockey Skates (sharpened)
- Jersey (provided by FYHP)
As your skater improves and advances from the Blue to Red Color Group, a junior model hockey stick cut to proper length is recommended.
New equipment can range greatly in price. Used equipment may be purchased from a local used equipment or hockey store, such as Play It Again Sports, while a full range of new equipment can be purchased at the Natick Outdoor Store, Pure Hockey, or anywhere hockey gear is sold.
Each child enrolled in the LTPH program will receive a Framingham Jr. Flyers practice jersey, along with a helmet sticker displaying their name to aid the coaches on the ice. If interested, you can have your skater’s last name added to the back of their jersey at stores such as the Natick Outdoor Store, or 4 Seasons Embroidery in Framingham, or even iron-on lettering works.
Skate Fit and Care
It is most important that your child’s skates fit properly. Generally, the size of the skate needed will be 1 to 2 sizes smaller than the size of their sneakers or shoes. Room for growth of your child must be allowed, but care must be taken not to fit too large. The most allowance you should make is about ½” (or a “thumb” width) behind the heel when the foot is pushed as far forward as it will go (but not crammed) into the unlaced skate. Poorly fitted skates will break down prematurely regardless of the quality, hamper your child’s ability to learn to skate properly, and most importantly, risk injury to your skater.
The skate’s blades must be kept sharp. Do not allow your child to walk around in skates without skate guards except on the padded areas around the ice itself and in the locker rooms. A good rule of thumb is to sharpen the skates after every eight practices, roughly once a month. If your child does walk on an unprotected area with the blades, the skates should be sharpened before the next practice.
At the end of a practice, skates should be taken off your child’s feet and sneakers, shoes or boots put on. The skates need the snow cleaned off the blade and wiped dry with a towel or rag to keep the blades from rusting.
Your skater’s hockey stick should be a junior model. These are made with a smaller blade and the proper angle between the blade and the shaft required by children. The blade should be a flat blade, not curved. There is no need for a curve to the blade until your skater has developed a preference for the right or left side. Do not push a curved blade too soon as it may hamper learning on how to properly handle the puck.
The hockey stick must be the right length for the skater. The proper length is to the chin when standing in skates. The stick should never be longer than to the upper lip. A stick that is too long will be difficult to handle.
The blade should be taped with black friction tape. The main purpose for taping the blade is for protecting the blade itself, keeping water from delaminating the blade and acting as a cushion to the blade when hit against the ice or puck. (It is also said that the black tape “hides” the puck from a goalie.)
The top end of the shaft should be taped, usually with white cloth tape. This is to help keep the stick from slipping in the glove. The amount of tape used here is a personal preference. Some players like large “knobs” of tape, others like only one layer.
To easily identify skaters by skill level, skaters will be placed into one of five groups based on their proficiency - Blue, Red, Orange, Yellow and Green. The Blue Group is for novice skaters with no or limited skating ability. As they progress in through established sets of skills, they are then moved up to Red, Orange, Yellow and Green Groups respectively.
Each skater will be given a colored sticker for his or her helmet indicating the color group assignment. Evaluation of the players willoccur periodically throughout the season, allowing for players to move up to the next level when that player is ready to do so.
New skaters to the program are automatically assigned to the Blue or Red color group.
Typically, two coaches are responsible for evaluating the player’s skill for the color group assignments. Throughout the season, on a regular basis, skaters are evaluated. Please keep in mind there are one hundred+ players, so please be patient. All the players will be evaluated.
Every other week, starting in October, structured, cross-ice games will take the place of a practice. Please refer to the schedule for notification of when these games are to occur.
Games are played with organized teams and coaches with two or three games played simultaneously over half or third of the ice. Teams will be as evenly matched as possible and separated by color groups, and with skaters of similar ability playing against each other. Games will be played in two-minute shifts, with player rotation for all positions, including the goalie.
Coaching and Organizational Staff
All members of the coaching and organizational staff of the Framingham Youth Hockey Program are volunteers. All Framingham Youth Hockey coaches and volunteers are required to pass a criminal background check (CORI) and have completed all forms and paperwork required by USA Hockey, MA Hockey and FYHP rules, inclusive of SafeSport Training. An effort is made to match the coaches’ skill level and coaching ability to the appropriate color group(s).
The program is always looking for new volunteers with skating skills to assist with on-ice coaching. If you would like to assist on the ice and are able to fulfill all necessary proceeding requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FYHP will reimburse individuals who have obtained USA Hockey coaching certification (up to level 3). For more information on this, please visit www.usahockey.comor email email@example.com.
Please Note: All coaches must wear a HECC helmet on the ice at all times. There are no exceptions to this rule, as this is a USA Hockey requirement which FYHP must comply.
The LTPH program’s House League will begin in early November and run for 19 weeks. House League provides an additional hour of ice time each week, and is open to skaters in the Orange, Yellow, and Green Color Groups. The emphasis in House League is on team building, sportsmanship, and game/skill development, rather than victory, while providing the proper introduction to competitive hockey for those skaters interested in trying out for a travel team in the Spring.
House League registration will begin in the Fall, and is in addition to the LTPH program with an additional fee. We recommend that you still attend your two LTPH sessions each week; making House League your third session for the week.
Registration and Travel Teams
Registration for the next season will occur in the Spring of each year. Watch for registration dates and times on the website and information shared at the rink.
If your skater is in the Orange, Yellow, or Green color groups at the end of the year and they fall into the appropriate age groups by birth year, your skater should consider trying out for the respective travel team level for the next hockey season.
For more information on the tryout process for travel teams, please review the Tryout Process Policy located within the Documents tab of the FYHP website.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, you can find a list of the FYHP Board of Directors on our website at www.framinghamyouthhockey.org. All correspondence by postal delivery should be addressed to:
Attention: LTPH Program
PO Box 2391
Framingham, MA 01703