Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program is specifically designed for coaches working with the first time athlete, aged 5-8. The program focuses on helping coaches introduce and refine the most fundamental skills in hockey, such as skating, stopping, turning, puck handling, passing and shooting. Coaches taking an Initiation Program clinic will learn about Growth and Development, Lesson Organization, Communication/Leadership and Teaching Skills and Skill Analysis.

NOHA Initiation Program Subsidy



 Goals for the Initiation age category are:

  • fun

  • introduction of basic skills

  • reviewing of basic skills

  •  refining of basic skills


The age and skill level of the players defines the seasonal plan. The Hockey Canada skills development programs are based on progressive steps and follow the appropriate allocation of time illustrated in the skill development pyramid.



Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program has four levels of instruction designed for beginning hockey players. Each level represents a different set of skill progression. At the beginning of the program, players are evaluated according to ability and placed in the appropriate program level.


Each level consists of eight lesson plans that follow a defined path of progression. As players move through the program, they improve on both hockey skills and self-confidence.


The program emphasizes the basic hockey skills: skating, puck handling, passing and shooting.

Each skill is introduced and refined in a progressive one step at a time manner.


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 Initiation Program also allows youngsters to experience:

  • Fitness

  • Fair Play

  • Cooperation


Initiation Program Downloads


Initiation Program Core Skills

Initiation Evaluation





Each season, the NOHA hosts a series of “Grassroots Festivals” with Minor Hockey Associations across Northern Ontario. These Festivals are Development Days for Players, Coaches, Officials and Parents and are offered at no-cost to the participant.

Participating players (generally Initiation and Novice) will take part in two skill development ice sessions based on the Chevrolet Safe and Fun curriculum or Hockey Canada Skills Camps, as well as some fun off-ice games.


Coache receive the drills for the on-ice sessions that can be used in future practices, and also have an opportunity to participate in a Hockey Canada Specialty Clinic (clinic topic to be selected by the Host Association), while parents will take in a Parents Session based on the Chevrolet Safe and Fun Parents’ Manual.


On-Ice Officials have their own Development seminar. This session is held aside from the re-certification clinics that are held each season and offers the Officials a further opportunity to learn. In addition to classroom sessions that cover rules, game management, among other topics, the Officiating agenda also includes an on-ice session to review procedures and be supervised in a game.


If you are interested in hosting a Grassroots Festival in your Association, please contact NOHA Technical Director, Andrew Corradini at (705) 474-8851 or


NOHA Grassroots Operations Manual