Whether your child is new to hockey, or your family is new to the area -- Welcome! Thanks for checking out the Ice Dogs! We are confident you will find a program that fits your player’s and your family’s needs!
If your child is interested in hockey, the first thing to do is get them skating!
Learn to Play (LTP)
One your player has some skating basic, the next step is Learn to Play (LTP) . The NoVA Ice Dogs LTP program is designed to provide players, ages 5 and up, with the opportunity to learn and practice the fundamentals of individual and team hockey in a fun environment. Our program is based on the USA Hockey American Development Model philosophy and is intended to teach players the fundamentals of the game in a fun and supportive environment. We’ve structured our program towards boys and girls who already possess some skating ability. Skating fundamentals are critical for this age group; we continuously emphasize such fundamentals throughout each session. This is not "skating lessons", but a great introductory program for youth who would like to try hockey!
Our LTP Program has traditionally skated on Sundays from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center starting in September of each year. We have offered three, 8-week sessions running from September thru February.
Our LTP program will focus on the basic skills required to play hockey. These include:
What does my child get out of this program?
The program emphasizes the basic hockey skills: skating, puck handling, passing and scoring. Each skill is introduced and refined in a progressive one step at a time manner and then again through repetition. Children learn and develop through participating in practice drills and informal and modified games (such as shinny, freeze tag and obstacle courses). Although the emphasis is on fun and progressive skill development, the Learn to Play Program also allows kids to experience “real hockey” situations.
This video does a great job highlighting your child’s Learn to Play experience from their perspective – couldn’t be more accurate.
The NoVA Ice Dogs LTP sessions begin in September and run through late February. The program will be led by USA Hockey Certified coaches within the NoVA Ice Dogs Hockey Club and supported by parent volunteer coaches. There are two formal offerings within the Learn to Play Program based upon age, attention span and experience.
Learn to Play 1 (LTP60)
Learn to Play 1 (LTP60) is intended for younger children (5 – 7 years old).
Learn to Play 2 (LTP90)
Learn to Play 2 (LTP90) is intended for older children (6 – 13 years old) or those that have completed at least one session of NoVA's LTP60
Age Enrollment Guidelines
The following are recommendations for each age based upon a recommended transition path to organized Recreational/Travel hockey.
Our program is dependent on adults willing to volunteer their time to help the kids learn to play the great game of hockey. We greatly appreciate all the volunteers from previous seasons who come back to help and we encourage new volunteers to help us each year. You will not be stuck out there by yourself, experienced Ice Dogs coaches will plan and lead the sessions. If you would like to volunteer, please email email@example.com so we can put you on the list – no previous hockey experience is necessary, ability to stand up and move around on skates is very beneficial, patience and a desire to have fun with the kids is required. Minimum requirements for volunteer coaches include:
Upcoming Seasons and Registration
Equipment selection equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors: 1) make certain the player is adequately protected and 2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills. By carefully considering these two factors, your child will be more comfortable and will better enjoy their participation.
A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost – you do not need to buy the most expensive equipment at young age groups. It is critical the equipment fit properly. Buying skates or other equipment two sizes too large so that the child can get "a few years out of them" is a prescription for frustration for the child.
After Learn To Play, you can register for a CCHL/club team or try out for a CBHL/travel team. Girls can play for a co-ed team (in either CBHL or CCHL) or try out for an all-girls team.
USA Hockey has a Parent Guide with some good information. You can access it via this link: USA Hockey Parent Guide
An instructional video on how to dress your new hockey player – How to Dress Youth Hockey Players for Practice