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10U Half Ice Games

10U Half-Ice Game Update for the 2021-2022 Season

CAHA will be continuing to test Half-Ice 10U games as a way to increase skill development and to make the 10U age group more age appropriate. Hockey is the only major sport that asks 9 year old players to play the adult-sized game (full ice, full size nets). ALL other major sports start the adult-sized game at 13 or 14 years old and they also have 3-4 sizes of playing surface and equipment.

For the 2021-2022 season, 10U Half-Ice games will be tested as follows:

10U House, Select, Travel B - will continue at 25% of all games in the Half-Ice format

10U Travel A/AA - introduce Half-Ice games in 15% of all games

In the adoption of CAHA’s Strategy Plan for growing hockey in the Carolinas, Half-Ice Games will be implemented for the 2020-2021 season in 25% of all 10U House & House Select/B Travel games with the goal of reaching 50% across CAHA over time. We will collect data and Association input from this test. CAHA will also support 10U Team Jamborees and hold CAHA 10U Half-Ice Tournaments throughout the Affiliate for House teams and Travel teams.

Why we are testing Half-Ice 4 VS 4 for 10U games for House and Select/B?
Much of the basis for half-ice 10U games can be found in the reasoning behind the 8U cross-ice format. 10U Half-Ice games provide more touches and skill development for all players. This format also helps to increase the value to families and enables programs to improve their practice to game ratios. The Pacific Northwest and Alaska have embraced this format and seen a dramatic increase in skill development, player retention, fun, and positive parent comments. This also provides a logical transition from 6U/8U cross-ice to 10U half-ice to 12U full-ice. It makes for less of a giant leap from 8U cross-ice to full-ice immediately. We want to try this at the House level, measure the results and learn from it.

Why we will only implement some 10U half ice games?
We want to test the concept, work out the logistics and give Associations the opportunity to see the benefits of half-ice. For 2020-2021 we will implement in 10U House and House Select/B at 25% of games.

How players will be ready to play full-ice games when playing some of their games in a Half-Ice format?
Age appropriate training is one of the most important cornerstones of the ADM. 8U and 10U players should concentrate the majority of their time on skating and puck handling skills. Concepts such as off-sides, positions, and face-off positioning can still be introduced at the 10U level for that portion of games that is full-ice. These concepts are easier to learn as the cognitive ability of players increase with age. Most coaches will tell you that teaching positioning, off-sides and face-offs takes very little time versus teaching elite skills like skating, puck handling, body contact, and hockey sense.

Rules for Half-Ice 10U games?
Games will be run in 2 run-time halves and teams will switch ends at the half. 4 teams will play at the same time (2 games will be played at the same time and they will utilize the same clock. Teams will share benches and penalty boxes. A premium will be on keeping the game moving so there are very limited face-offs. Nets will be placed at the usual spot for 1 net and at the other end for a second with a crease drawn by the referee. Referees will call penalties. Scoring flip cards will be used for all games. The scoreboard will only be used for the time with both games using the same clock. Associations will have flexibility to adjust rules as needed.

Experience and Developmental Benefits from for Half-Ice 10U Games
The basis for Half-Ice 10U games are the same Age Appropriate Development principles that are used for the Age Development Model. Having kids play the game in an age-appropriate sized field of play, using the right equipment for their age, and maximizing skill development all point to changes for the 10U age group. Affiliates in Washington state (PacNW), Alaska, South Dakota, and others have all been experimenting with the concept and have experienced gains in skill development, improvement in practice to game ratios, reports of more fun, and increased retention and growth. There is a 10U Ice surface study from Prague that yielded some interesting results.

10U Skill Development Study in Prague
In 2015, a study was done in Prague looking at the best skill development options for 10U players. They measured puck control, changes of direction, starts, stops, passing, passes received, shooting and 1-1 battles in different game formats – 3 vs. 3 cross-ice, 4 vs. 4 cross-ice, 5 vs. 5 cross-ice, 3 vs. 3 half-ice, 4 vs. 4 half-ice, 5 vs. 5 half-ice, and 5 vs. 5 full-ice. The chart below summarizes the conclusions by skill development area: All formats out-performed 5 vs. 5 full-ice for more repetitions in the skill development areas. For example, for Passing, the 3 vs. 3 cross-ice format maximized the number of passes recorded.

4 vs. 4
5 vs. 5
5 vs. 5
5 vs. 5
3 vs. 3
3 vs. 3
3 vs. 3
5 vs. 5

What are other sports are doing to maximize skill development and make their game more age-appropriate for kids?
Most major sports begin introducing youth players to the adult-sized game at 13 or 14 years old – baseball, soccer, lacrosse, football. Hockey introduces the adult-sized game at age 9. This is a big disconnect with ADM principles for age-appropriate skill development. When we ask children to play the adult-sized game it hinders skill development, fun, and retention.

How does USA Hockey compare to other sports when introducing the adult-sized game?
USA Hockey introduces the adult-sized game with full ice at the age of 9. Other sports wait to introduce players to the adult-sized game at no earlier than 13 years old – 4 years older. Little League Baseball & US Soccer have four (4) sized games to create progressions to the adult-size game. USA Hockey has two (2).

  6U 8U 10U 12U 14U 16U 18U
Age Level U6 U7 & U8 U9 & U10 U11 & U12 U14 U16 U18
Playing Surface Size 25-35 x
25-35 x
55-65 x
70-80 x
110-120 x
110-120 x 70-80 110-120 x 70-80
Goal Size 4x6 4x6 6.5x18.5 7x21 8x24 8x24 8x24
Ball/Puck Size 3 3 4 4 5 5 5
Game Format 4v4 with four 10-minute quarters, no goalies. 4v4 with four 10-minute quarters, no goalies. 7v7 with two 25-minute halves, goalies. 9v9 with two 30-minute halves, goalies. 11v11 with two 35-minute halves, goalies. 11v11 with two 40-minute halves, goalies. 11v11 with two 45-minute halves, goalies.
Age Level T-Ball Minors Majors Majors Intermediate Juniors Seniors
Playing Surface Size (bases x mound) Shortened Field 60 x 46 60 x 46 60 x 46 and
70 x 50
12 & 13 -
70 x 50 and
90 x 60
90 x 60 90 x 60
Game Format Coach Pitch Coach Pitch - Machine Pitch Player Pitch Player Pitch Player
Player Pitch Player Pitch
Age Level 6U 8U 10U 12U 14U 16U 18U
Playing Surface Size 60 x 35 60 x 35 60 x 35 60 x 35 60 x
60 x
60 x
Goal Size 4x4, no goalies 4x4 4x4 6x6 6x6 6x6 6x6
Game Format 4v4 4v4 6v6 or
7v7 or
10v10 10v10 10v10
Age Level 6U 8U 10U 12U 14U 16U 18U
Playing Surface Size Cross-Ice Cross-Ice Full-Ice Full-Ice Full-Ice Full-Ice Full-Ice
Goal Size 24x36, no goalies 36x48 48x72 48x72 48x72 48x72 48x72
Ball/Puck Size Blue Blue Black Black Black Black Black

10U Activity Trackers

CAHA will be asking coaches and parents to track the activity of their player and/or goalie's 10U games during the 2020-2021 season. We can then see the difference between activity in a full-ice game and in a half-ice game.

The Activity Trackers can be downloaded below: