The U8 Development Program serves as the entry-level program for hockey players transitioning from the TOP Hockey Learn-to-Play program to the TOP Hockey club teams. The focus of the U8 development program is to progress along the long-term athletic development pathway, continuing to build a base of fundamental skills and begin working with players on their transition to a more competitive environment. In this program players will have two on-ice sessions per week, generally one weekday and one weekend practice. Throughout the season some weekend practice slots will be dedicated to "Saturday Showdown Gamedays", where players will be split into smaller mini-teams and play small-area games. Additionally, the U8 Development Program may enter 1-2 small festivals or tournaments throughout the season, generally one in the Fall and one in the Winter.
Similar to the club teams, the U8 Development Program offer players a unique approach to hockey by offering local ice-time, manageable schedules and quality coaching, all while improving players' individual skills and providing a great hockey experience.
We believe in focusing on the process, not the outcome, with all of our practices and games, and believe strongly that age-appropriate development is the best way to keep kids in sport longer. We structure our practices so that players are placed into small groups rotating through stations focusing on individual skills, technical instruction, and game-based learning. We believe our small group format is essential for kids to get individual feedback, quality coaching, and high level engagement.
Due to a high volume of applicants, the application window for the U8 development program is now closed for the 2021/22 season.
Season Duration: Mid-September to Late March
Commitment: Three ice sessions per week
Games: Local TOP Showdown Games
Festivals: 1-2 per season
Ages: 2014/15 Birthyears (coed)
During hockey season we assign a different character trait to represent each month. During the month we take every opportunity to reinforce what the theme means and how to develop it, taking the time to teach players more than hockey.
'Blue Sticker' is given out every practice to the player on each team who best displays the character theme of that month. We use hockey as a vehicle to build character, and will take every opportunity to reward players who display these themes.
For the U8 program, every few Saturdays means gameday! Teams will be divided into smaller groups and play half-ice 4 on 4 or 3 on 3, focusing on competition, hard work, and teamwork.
"Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."
- Vince Lombardi
"It is not enough to be busy... The question is: what are we busy about?"
- Henry David Thoreau
"Forget about winning and losing - put your focus on learning and developing. It's a much better long-term strategy, trust me."
- Nicolas Gregoriades
"A good Coach can change a GAME. A great Coach can change a LIFE."
- John Wooden
"I played everything. I played lacrosse, hockey, soccer, track and field. I was a big believer that you played hockey in the winter and when the season was over you hung up the skates and you played something else." - Wayne Gretzky
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