Hockey Canada Player Pathways

March 12, 2020



U7, U9, and U11 Player Pathway Implementation for 2020-2021


Effective for the 2020-2021 season, minor hockey associations across Canada, including those in the Ontario Hockey Federation’s Member Partners (Minor Hockey ALLIANCE of Ontario, Greater Toronto Hockey League, Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association) will be following the U7, U9, and U11 Player Pathways.


With the implementation of the U11 Player Pathway in the 2020-2021 season, key changes have been made to the Player Pathways at U7 and U9. This will create consistency in all programming across the country and create a seamless transition for players from U7 through to U11 based on the Long-Term Player Development model.


The Player Pathways provide local minor hockey associations a framework of age appropriate development guidelines which includes an optimal seasonal structure.


U11 Player Pathway

  1. Player Evaluations, Selections, Tryouts (REQUIREMENT)

    • No tryouts prior to or during the first week of school.

  1. No tryouts during the off-season phase (previous season, including March through August).

  2. No tryouts during the first week of school where school starts the week after Labour Day.

  3. Where school starts prior to Labour Day, there must be four skates/practices starting the week following Labour Day before tryouts commence.

    • Must offer a minimum of four practice/skill sessions prior to formal evaluation starting.

    • Must have a minimum of three formal evaluation sessions:

  1. One skills session, one small-area games session, one formal game. (RECOMMENDATION)

  2. Players should not try out based on a specific position, but should be encouraged to play both forward and defense in tryouts. (RECOMMENDATION)

  3. Players should be selected for teams based on skill, not positional preference. (RECOMMENDATION)

  1. Fair and Equal Ice Time (REQUIREMENT)

    • All players and goaltenders should receive fair and as close to equal as possible ice time.

    • Positional Rotation:

i.   All players play all positions (RECOMMENDATION)

  • Goaltender Rotation:

  1. Full-time goaltender allowed.

  2. Goaltenders rotate for equal amount of playing time throughout the regular season and playoffs. (RECOMMENDATION)

  3. Seasonal Structure (REQUIREMENT)

    • Preparation Phase (up to 2 Weeks)

i.   See Player Tryouts above.

  • Development Phase (up to 4 weeks)

i. Teams must have a period of development time following tryouts prior to the start of the regular season.

  • Development and Regular Season Phase (Up to 22 weeks)

  1. Recommended maximum of 45 games per year (includes exhibition, league, tournament and playoff games).

  2. Seasonal Breaks

    • Playoff Phase (up to 4 weeks)

i.   Tournament style.

  • Offseason Phase (end of season to August)

4.Position-Specific Training

  • Small-area games in