Are the TOP Hockey programs team-based?
Yes, all TOP programs are team-based programs. All teams will carry a maximum of 15 players on the team. Each team will have 1-2 primary coaches as well as 1-2 TOP junior coaches and experienced parents volunteers.
What do the registration fees include?
All programs include jersey, socks, icetime, and professional coaching. Some programs may include tournament entry fees and game jerseys. More information available on individual team pages.
What is the time-commitment for the TOP Hockey teams?
Each TOP team is structured differently based on number of practices and games per week, following a 3:1 practice to game ratio. More information available on individual team page.
Who are the coaches of the TOP Hockey Teams?
The Director of Development for TOP Hockey is Ian Mackenzie, who oversees the development curriculum for each team. Each team is coached by one of our professional coaches (Ian Mackenzie, Kevin Shier, Reid Acton, and Tyler Butts). Each team will also have 1-2 junior TOP coaches as well as experienced parent volunteers.
Is this a competitive program or a house league program?
The TOP Hockey program is not a house league program, but rather a competitive hockey program designed for multi-sport competition, professional coaching, quality development, and a manageable schedule. Our teams compete well against similar age groups, and we stress the importance of long-term athletic development over short-term rankings or scores.
What makes TOP Hockey different from traditional leagues?
1. Manageable scheduling that allows for multi-sport play and leads to increased retention and less sport burn-out.
2. Less games, more practices. We believe this leads to more comprehensive development for younger players instead of sacrificing player development in favour of more games.
3. Quality, professional coaching and detailed, organized practices.
What is the 'TOP Progression Path"?
The TOP Progression Path is a four-stage system of development designed to take our athletes from age 5 (tyke) to age 14 (bantam) and beyond. At each stage we have identified key learnings and associated values we want our kids to learn, as well as key teaching points on the ice. As players grow they will learn more advanced skills, game scenarios, and be exposed to advanced value-based development. The number of practices and games will slowly increase with age, allowing players to execute their skills learned in practice in a competitive setting. More info here.
Why is it important kids play multiple sports instead of specializing in one sport?
Multi-sport participation for kids under the age of 15 is crucial to long-term athletic development in sport. Children who specialize in a single sport account for 50% of overuse injuries in young athletes according to paediatric orthopaedic specialists. Research conclusively tells us that multi-sport athletes are more creative, enjoy sports more, and result in better all-around athletes.
Will the schedule accommodate skiers in the winter?
Yes, during the months of January, February and early March, weekends will generally be kept free for skiing or other activities. There will still be a Sunday evening practice or game, but this should not interfere with ski schedules.
Does my child have to attend every practice or game?
We urge all players to attend every practice and team events throughout the season. This will result in much faster improvement in your child's athletic development, and ensures that they will learn skills to take into their everyday life. If players cannot attend events we ask that parents give us as much notice as possible.
Do you break for the December holidays are March Break?
Every December we take a two week break over the Christmas holidays. We encourage families to be together over the holidays and put the hockey gear away. We also take a week-long break over March Break. If kids wish to stay on the ice in a lighter capacity, we offer a March Break multi-sport camp.
How are the practices designed?
All of our practices are designed in a station-based format, providing maximum reps, puck touches, and individual feedback for all players. We believe that by keeping practices engaging and constructive that our players will learn at a higher rate.
How is the practice ice time utilized?
Practice ice time is divided into stations, often running as many as 5 stations during one-hour practice. We design efficient, quality practice plans that often incorporate two teams on the same ice sheet. This is shown to have increased development and feedback while keeping costs down.
Who runs the practices?
Our team of professional hockey coaches and instructors is responsible for running all hockey team practices. Each team will have 1-2 primary coaches, 1-2 junior coaches, and a few experienced parent volunteers. Our head coaches will design and lead all practices making sure all key areas, responsibilities, drills and outcomes are discussed beforehand.
Why don't you play more games? Are you making this less competitive?
We believe that minor hockey players today play far too many games, often times reaching 60-70 games per season before they're even 10 years old. With the amount of time consumed by playing this many games, often driving 1hr+ to and from each game, there is a far more efficient solution. By playing less games, not only does the travel and driving time decrease, but our manageable schedule ensures most players practice and play at community-based rinks. We believe that by practicing more than we play, our on-ice improvement will be remarkable, our players will have more free-time, and families will enjoy less hassle.
How will we reach our game limit? Who do we play against?
Each team plays a combined schedule with games in tournaments, exhibition series, and games against local teams. We match our teams up with age and skill level appropriate opposition, resulting in competitive, fun games.