skip navigation

CAHA Strategy Plan

CAHA Strategy Plan Update for 2021-2022

The Strategy Committee conducted a review of 2020-21 season as it relates the the Strategy Plan. There were many strong results despite COVID and the limitations that it imposed. These observations and recommendations are in the following documents:

Changes for the 2021-2022 Season

Based on the results from 2020-2021, the following changes are being made to improve skill development in several age groups.

Strategy Plan Updates and Changes for 2021-2022

6U and 8U Games

Based on ice per player analysis, recommended game format for 6U was 3v3 or 4v4 Cross-Ice and for 8U it was 3v3 Cross-Ice or 4v4 Half-Ice. The recommended guidelines for game format for 6U is changing to 5v5 Cross-Ice with 4v4 Cross-Ice as secondary option and for 8U it is 4v4 Cross-Ice with 5v5 Half-Ice as a secondary option. It is required that all 8U games in team Jamborees or tournaments within CAHA, be played in a Half-Ice format. No 6U or 8U teams allowed to play in full-ice games in or outside of CAHA.

10U Half-Ice Games

The original Strategy Plan goal for 10U games is to achieve 50% of all 10U games be in the Half-Ice format by 2022-2023. With COVID-19 being such a factor in 2020-21, we want to give Associations more time to implement 25% of their 10U Half-Ice games in House and House Select in 2021-2022. In addition, we want Travel programs to start experimenting with Half-Ice games so we are requiring that 15% of all travel games be in the Half-Ice format. This includes 15% of games in any CAHA-based league that the Associations play in. We recognize that we will need to work with Associations to implement the format via demonstrations, 10U tournaments, and parent education.


CAHA recommends that every Association has a Goalie Development Coordinator who oversees goalie development at age levels from 6U/8U where players are trying the position to the older ages where they are refining their goalie skills. The CAHA Goalie Coordinator will work closely with the CAHA Coach-in-Chief and the Youth Committee Chair to help support the Association Goalie Development Coordinators with best practices, updated techniques to maximize development, and support for the cost of programs that support goalie development – purchase of 36x48 nets for 8U, purchase of Quick-Change Goalie Gear for 6U and 8U players to try the position, Try Goalie For Free events, goalie development training. CAHA also recommends the following Best Practices for goalie development in practices and games.

Goalie Development by Age Group - Equipment, Practice, Game Time

Age Group Net Size Pucks Equipment Who Plays? Game Play Game Format
6U 24 x 36 Blue Quick Change All Players Rotate players in every 10-15 minutes Quad or Cross
8U 36 x 48 Blue Quick Change All Players Rotate players in every 10-15 minutes Cross
10U Full Size Black Quick Change or Dedicated Rotate or Dedicated 2nd goalie skates out, split periods or rotate every few minutes. NO goalie should be a backup that doesn’t play goalie or player in every game. Half or Full
12U Full Size Black Dedicated Dedicated 10U method OR Split periods or rotate so every goalie plays in every game. Full

Goalie Development in Practice - Drill Planning

Skill Level Movement & Positional Skills Save Movement Skills Tactics & Transition Advanced Positioning & Post-Save Consequences
Beginner 75% 20% 5% -
Intermediate 50% 20% 30% -
Advanced 35% 10% 40% 25%

CAHA Strategy Plan

The CAHA Board has received feedback from Associations on the Proposed Strategy Plan to grow hockey in the Carolinas. The Strategy Committee incorporated this feedback into the final plan that was adopted by the CAHA Board of Directors on 2/13/20.

During the 2018 and 2019 CAHA Annual Meetings, CAHA held round table discussions to discuss topics that were identified as being important to our Associations. These included the need for a longer term strategic plan to plan for the growth and success of our game. Since this time, CAHA has been working on identifying issues that need to be addressed in order to grow the sport of hockey in the Carolinas. A Strategy Committee was formed based on feedback from these Annual Meetings. The Board believes that CAHA should lead change to maximize the growth of hockey in the Carolinas and that taking steps to do this is right thing to do for the sport and for our players, families, coaches, and officials and we want to provide the best experience possible so all players PLAY HOCKEY FOR LIFE.

The Strategy Committee’s purpose is to develop a vision and plan to implement the CAHA stated purpose in the By-Laws. The Board believes that we should lead change and create a plan and implement a strategy that will achieve our vision to grow hockey in the Carolinas. We want to partner with all Associations to implement positive change and address what CAHA should look like in the future and develop strategies and tactics to achieve that vision. We received a lot of feedback and input from Associations, parents, and USA Hockey and a plan was finalized and accepted by the CAHA Board of Directors on 2/13/20. The plan is effective for the 2020-2021 season.


STRATEGY 1: Focus on the on-ice content or execution so that ADM Best Practices are implemented in every age group in every Association with a primary focus on 6U/8U/10U/12U and Goaltending - Invest in implementation of ADM via emphasis on House hockey, coaching development, parent and coaching education, age appropriate equipment, providing structure and funding for Jamborees, and goaltending development. This approach will include all of youth hockey including Girls, Disabled, and Sled.

STRATEGY 2: Improve the Value that Families Receive By Playing Hockey - Increase in the value that families receive by playing hockey. This includes improving the overall experience including more fun, improving our coaching expertise to deliver better on-ice content in practices, following ADM guidelines for games and game days, minimizing travel and the associated costs, and ADM best practices for practice to game ratios.

STRATEGY 3: Hockey is for Everyone:  Equity & Inclusion to grow our sport in all areas to include everyone - Girl’s Hockey, Adult, Sled, Disabled, Multi-Cultural, and more - Improve our reach and our membership in terms of equity and inclusion. This includes adopting the “Hockey is for Everyone” program that is being championed by the NHL.

STRATEGY 4: Improve the local marketing of the sport to all groups - CAHA will take the lead to provide data and a targeted social media marketing program to target new players including diverse populations – youth, girls, and adult.

Some specific items that we will implement in the 2020-2021 season include:

6U & 8U Age Groups - in addition to the USA Hockey mandate on cross-ice games at these age groups, we will rename the "8U Select" program "8U Development". Associations will be able to host and participate in 8U Jamborees in a scramble or team format. All teams must be formed via open registration - not tryouts. It is not a best practice to separate players out at this age for additional development. We encourage Associations to offer additional 8U development programs on top of their House program in an open registration format.

10U Half-Ice Games - we believe that 10U Half-Ice games are best for our player's development in every aspect and want to gain experience in this growing concept. We also note that hockey is the only major sport that starts playing the adult-sized version of the sport at 9 years old. All major sports typically start players playing the adult size of their sport at 13 or 14 years old. To start this, we are implementing 10U Half-Ice games in 25% of all games in House, House Select, and B Travel for the 2020-2021 season. We hope to learn and get experience from the concept and evaluate expansion in the future.

ADM Best Practices by Age Group - these will be in the form of Guidelines and Recommendations by age group and we will have an Association ADM reporting structure in place for the beginning of each season via SurveyMonkey. These include practice to game ratios, off-ice program frequency, geographic travel to play games, recommended number of games or game days, practice frequency, and game formats.

Coaching Education - we are looking to enter into a partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, provide a supplemental annual Coaching Symposium, and add additional resources to help coaches be as effective as they want to be.

CAHA Strategy Committee - Chad Boerst, Brian Haaland, Brad Hoffman, Matt Hurley, Brian Mehm, Ed Morris