First off, welcome! We're here to answer any questions you might have about the sport and help you get started. To begin with, let's answer the most basic question - Why Hockey?
Hockey is a fantastic exercise! Hockey is one of the best cardiovascular games your child could play. Players are alternating between skating and rest at very rapid rates which makes hockey one of the best cardiovascular interval training sports. This improves the speed at which your childs body brings oxygen to their muscles while burning tons of calories. Hockey requires a high level of coordination; regular play can develop a child's gross motor skills, which leads to improvement with the more difficult fine motor skills, and improves eye-hand coordination, which can translate to a better understanding of spatial relationships.
Hockey builds character. Since hockey is a team sport, children learn the value of working with others. Very quickly, they will learn to rely on teammates and understand that cooperation is the key to success. Children on hockey teams experience a team spirit that encourages trust, responsibility, sportsmanship, and a strong sense of accomplishment. These skills are essential as teammates turn into colleagues.
Hockey improves mental agility. Hockey is an extremely fast sport in which children have to cope with changes in split seconds. Plays develop, momentum shifts, and opportunity open and close in a blink of an eye. A child in this sport will quickly adapt their mental agility to be able to recognize these opportunities and their concentration will improve. In addition, hockey players will quickly begin to project mental image of not just what is going to happen, but what will happen next leading towards greater mental agility as well.
While the reasons above talk about why your child should play hockey, we as an organization are dedicated to the cause of improving our youth and making them feel excited to play a sport that they will love.
The Mite Divisions are where it all begins! USA Hockey and The Cleveland Barons/Strongsville 8U program recommends that all interested hockey players participate in the Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Program to gain basic skating skills prior to joining the Mite Hockey Program. Our home arena, OBM Arena in Strongsville, is the proud home of both Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs!
Encourage your child to do their best and to have fun! Don’t be discouraged if your child struggles with their first few times on the ice. We certainly don’t mind and neither should you. Many hockey players started out struggling to learn the basics of skating and hockey. Our main goal is to make this fun for your child and to get them to continue to want to play hockey. Get them on the ice, smile, and tell them to “Have Fun!”
Talk to your child about behavior while on the hockey rink, some basics are:
We suggest arriving in plenty of time to get your child ready to hit the ice. Arriving at least 25 minutes prior to practice times will allow sufficient time to be ready and hit the ice when practice starts. Many parents find it easier to get their player partially dressed at home and arriving at the rink to lace up the skates, putting on the helmet, and gloves. We have locker rooms assigned for every practice and game for your child to get dressed and ready. Please use the locker rooms and avoid using the lobby area to get ready.
After practice and before leaving the rink, it is always a good thing to double check your player's hockey bag. Teach your child responsibility for their hockey equipment. Encourage your child to carry some of their equipment to and from the rink. If they are old enough, it’s a great idea to have them put as much equipment on as they can on their own. The earlier you can teach them to help with the equipment process, the sooner they’ll be doing it on their own.
Mom and Dad will still need to do the skate tightening!