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FRAMINGHAM YOUTH HOCKEY – Learn to Play Hockey Program

Erin Sexton                                                                                                  Kim Leighton
Learn to Play Hockey Program & House League Directors                              On-Ice Instruction & Coaching

 

Goal of FYHP Learn to Play Hockey

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. 

2020-2021 Season

We truly appreciate your ongoing support and patience as we navigate this tricky season and work hard to put together a fun, safe, and healthy Learn to Play Hockey Program for your children.  In order to do so, there are specific guidelines set forth by the state and city that Loring must abide by.  You can access the full guidelines on the FYHP website ‘Documents’ tab or by clicking here and navigating to the ‘2020-2021 RETURN TO PLAY’ folder.  The longevity of the season depends on everyone abiding by the Loring COVID guidelines, so your cooperation is essential. 

A few requirements that will be particularly important for LTP families include:

  • Everyone must enter through the front of the building and exit out the rear of the building

    • Upon entering you will be required to scan the QR Code and submit subsequent responses.  This is for contact tracing purposes only.

    • Players may arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to game time and must leave the building within 15 minutes of the end of the game.

  • Masks are required for everyone (including skaters while on the ice and masks that loop around the ears are recommended rather than a gaiter-like mask)

  • No siblings are allowed in Loring arena

  • 1 spectator per player during LTP sessions

  • Locker rooms are not open so players must come fully dressed

Registration 

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:

  1. www.framinghamyouthhockey.org

    Click on the “Register Online” tab on the left hand side of the screen  

  2. Create an account with the FYHP organization as directed  

  3. Once an account has been established, return to the registration tab and log-in

  4. you can revisit the registration tab with your user name and password and register your child for LTPH

  5. Review ‘Session’ and ‘Group’ options carefully

  6. Once you have made a selection, click ‘Register’

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 LTPH program is $120 - $150 per 8 week session and is due at time of registration. If space permits, subsequent session(s) will be offered.  Details will be available here and on the LTPH registration page.

Skating/Practice Sessions 

The season will be broken up into 8 week sessions with two to three groups per session depending on interest.  The registration page has been updated to reflect this new format.

LTPH Session 1 will start on Saturday, October 3, 2020 and run until Sunday, November 22, 2020.  The current schedule can be found here.   

Each Group is assigned one to two, fifty (50) minute LTPH sessions each week.  In order to ensure that our on-ice numbers adhere to return to play guidelines, LTPH skaters may only attend their Session and Group scheduled ice times.  There is zero flexibility which differs from seasons past.  Unfortunately, there are no make-ups or refunds if your child misses a LTPH skate.  Additionally, your child will not be able to take the ice if you show up to another unassigned session.  We appreciate your understanding as we continue to organize a unique season with many nuances, guidelines, and restrictions. 

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). 

Color Groupings

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 will occur 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.

Practice Cancellation 

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.

Equipment

Please be sure your skater has the following equipment before coming onto the ice:
 

  • HECC approved helmet with face mask
  • Hockey Socks
  • Hockey Gloves
  • Hockey Pants
  • Elbow Pads
  • Shoulder/Chest Pads
  • Shin Pads
  • Hockey Skates (sharpened)
  • Hockey Jock or Jill
  • 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.

Hockey Sticks

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.

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 fyhp.learnhockey@gmail.com.

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 fyhp.learnhockey@gmail.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.

House League

There has not been a determination yet at to whether or not we will host House League given the current COVID guidelines and restrictions.  As LTPH kicks off, we will gauge interest and post updates here. 

For reference, House League typically kicks off mid-season and provides an additional hour of ice time each week for an additional fee.  It 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.    

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.

Questions  

If you have any questions, please email fyhp.learnhockey@gmail.com.  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:

FYHP
Attention: LTPH Program
PO Box 2391
Framingham, MA 01703