FHA Under-8 Hockey
Beginner Group: This group will represent our beginner skaters and skaters new to FHA. New skaters will be reassigned to a proper group after evaluation by the coaches.
Intermediate Group: This group will represent our intermediate level skaters. Players that have been in the program for multiple years and have demonstrated basic abilities.
Advanced Group: This group will represent our advanced level skaters. These players are the best skaters within the U8 program as determined by the coaches.
Players within each group will touch the ice 2-3 times per week and possibly more depending on the scheduling of friendlies. Groups may be paired together or split depending on ice availability.
Practices will be conducted in the American Development Model (ADM) format which stresses skill development and fun as its main objectives.
All jamborees, friendlies, and intrasquad games for the Beginner Group will be conducted in the cross-ice format.
Jamborees, friendlies, and intrasquad games for the Intermediate and Advanced Groups will be in the cross-ice or half-ice format.
Players can expect to compete in up to 16 friendlies/cross-ice games and at least two Jamborees.
Children under the age of 5 who can demonstrate adequate skating skills are eligible for participation.
Please contact the FHA Director of Hockey or Under-8 Age level Director for additional information (
). The season consists of approximately 22 weeks beginning the first week of October and running into the first week of March. Friendlies and Jamborees will be scheduled starting after November 15th.
The FHA U8 Parent Handbook can be found under the Board of Directors Tabs - Documents. HERE
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When does the U8 season start?
A: The U8 practices will begin the first week of October. FHA will conduct Skills and Drills sessions for the month of October to get everyone back to thinking hockey after having the summer to get away from the rink. Evaluations will be held after the four weeks of Skills and Drills. The “season” will start the second week of November, this is when FHA will be able to begin scheduling friendlies and participating in Jamborees. The season will end in early March.
Q: Wow, registration for U8 is $795, what will that amount cover?
A: $795 for roughly six months of hockey sounds like a lot, however, each kid will be touching the ice around three times a week for that duration, maybe more. There will be two practices, with cross-ice games on the weekend when ice is available. In addition, each child will have the opportunity to participate in up to 20 friendlies with other associations and at least 2 Jamborees. Once our registration numbers are finalized, FHA will be able to determine how many additional Jamborees we can register for creating more opportunities for kids to get on the ice. The going rate for ice around the Denver area right now is between $230-$290 per hour. For $795, we are getting a lot more than 4 hours of ice time.
Q: My kid was an Intermediate skater last year, will he be an Advanced skater this year?
A: Possibly. Evaluations will be conducted after the first four weeks of skills and drills sessions. Our ADM coaching staff will evaluate all the skaters and determine the best place for them to begin the season. As the season progresses and skills improve, players will be moved accordingly to challenge their abilities.
Q: What is ADM?
A: The ADM is a nationwide model for successfully developing American hockey players. It is by no means a mandate sent down from USA Hockey, but a tool that will ensure every kid will have the same chance to succeed. For example, part of that success will come from kids of all skill levels playing together. They’ll be able to work with the best coaches and learn from each other as they grow and learn the sport of hockey. The ADM is guidelines designed specifically to help kids reach their full potential. In particular, ADM shrinks down the size of the ice to better reflect the size of the player involved and to help build the skills necessary to be able to enjoy the game for many years and not become another victim of burnout. Let’s take a quick look at the potential benefits of playing cross-ice of half-ice hockey as proscribed in ADM:
• Every player should get to touch the puck more.
• Every player should have the chance to score.
• Goalies should face more shots.
• Average players get in the game.
• Higher-level players face more of a challenge than just taking advantage of breakaways.
Q: My kid is 4 years old and skates fairly well, if he is in an “8 & Under” division, will he have to skate with bigger kids?
A: Possibly. Due to the skill based nature of ADM, all first year skaters will be grouped together as beginners. As the season progresses and skills develop, some skaters may move up to the advanced or intermediate groups. This applies to all kids. If a younger skater starts the season with the beginner group and progresses quickly, they may be moved up to the advanced or intermediate group within the season.
Q: What if my kid—who is extra special—is ready for full ice?
A: USA Hockey’s position is that no 8 and Under players are “ready” to play full ice games. “Ready” is in no way a knock on the players’ skill level or skating ability. It is merely the fact that the smaller surface is age appropriate, and it is in the best interest of any 7- or 8-year-old—developmentally and to keep things fun.
Think of it this way: Could an 8-year-old run 90 feet down the first base path? Yes, but what would his stride look like the last 30 feet? That is why Little League baseball diamonds have 60 foot base paths—not to mention a shorter distance from the mound to home plate, 210 foot fences instead of 400 feet fences, etc. Soccer, basketball and football all shrink their playing surface and ball because it’s in the KIDS best interest in learning that particular sport’s fundamental skills.
Q: Is my super star being held back to benefit the average kids?
A: The “super star” is, in fact, put in a more challenging environment due to having less time and space with the puck—an environment that will more readily put her on the path to super stardom! At cross-ice and half-ice, he is required to play around and through players, learning real puck protection skills.
For Mites, full-ice hockey is commonly called “breakaway hockey” for good reason. The better player picks up the puck in his end, makes maybe one move, and then skates three-quarters of the length of the ice on a breakaway. That is not real hockey. The number of pivots, shots on goal, saves and true hockey plays that occur increase exponentially in cross-ice and half-ice games.
Q: How will my player get fit enough to skate full ice when the time comes?
A: This is exactly why they NEED to play cross-ice/half-ice at ages 8 and under—their bodies aren’t ready muscularly, physically, etc., to skate 200 feet and then have the energy to make a play once they get there. As their bodies grow and develop, they will become more physically able to play on the same surface that 6’4” men play on.
Q: How will they learn off-sides for when they become Squirts?
A: They’ll learn off-sides at the time they need to learn off sides—when they are Squirts. And it will likely take less than one practice or game for most of them to learn, especially for the kids who watch hockey on TV or who have older siblings who play. FHA conducts a Squirt clinic at the end of the season for all birth years that are moving on to the Squirt level. With this clinic, we teach basic hockey fundamentals that are ignored during U8 including faceoff positioning, offsides, icing, and line changes on the fly to give the players a head start heading into their first Squirt season.
Still have questions? Please contact Don Codner at