Lloydminster Minor Hockey is introducing a new initiative – Shrink the Rink.
This season, organization is introducing smaller rink sizes for novice and initiation hockey, regulation rinks will be divided into three parts, with children playing cross-ice games. Darrell Wagner, general manager of Lloydminster Minor Hockey, says smaller rinks will help children develop faster.
“We do a really good job of teaching kids drills and skills, [but] we don’t teach them how to think the game, and we don’t let them have fun in the game,” Wagner said. “Hockey is one of the only sports that has 5, 6, 7, and 8 year old children playing on the same sized ice surface as the NHL pros. It makes no sense to do that. The smaller surface creates the opportunity to touch the puck more often, learn more skills… It’s not just the smaller playing surface, it’s smaller nets, it’s the lighter pucks, it’s everything about the multi-sport athlete and player development.”
Wagner also says that the organization will be having a conference to teach people on the benefits of the program.
“Coaches are hesitant,” he said. “[They say] ‘Hockey is played north and south on a full ice surface, you can’t make it a smaller surface’. Parents – it’s going to take some education. That’s why we’re doing this, and we’re having a big conference on the 16th and 17th of October, to explain that. We have Hockey Canada coming out, Hockey Alberta, trying to educate people [about] the long-term benefits of this… [Hockey Canada is] actually coming out on the 17th of October to film what we’re doing here to put on their website.”
Wagner also says that by dividing rinks, it will increase their program’s capacity. The Shrink the Rink conference will also feature lazer shows, and player introductions.