U7 & new player FAQ


1. When does the Under 7 (U7) season start?

The 2023/2024 season starts the week of October 8.

2. How long is the season?

The season will be 24 weeks - roughly 40 ice times.

3. Are practices held over the Christmas holidays?

No, practices are not held between Christmas and New Year’s.

4. What day and time are the U7 practices?

Practice schedules vary from year to year. Generally, practices are one hour during the week and one hour on the weekend. 

5. What does my player require to play U7?

  • Hockey Stick 

  • Hockey Tape (to tape the hockey stick)

  • Helmet & Cage Combo (covers their face)

  • Skates

  • Gloves

  • Shoulder Pads

  • Elbow Pads

  • Shin Guards

  • Jock/Jill Strap

  • Hockey Pants

  • Compression Pants or Shorts (easy to velcro the hockey socks on the player)

  • Neck Guard (Bib style or basic)

  • Water bottle (preferably long spouted to be able to fit through the helmet’s cage, with their first and last name)

6. Will my player's practice times remain constant throughout the season?

Yes. Practices are at the same time each week. However, if makeup practices need to be added, they may be at a different time.

7. What is the format of a typical U7 practice?

They are station-based practices. Typically, there are two color groups on the ice at one time. The two groups rotate through stations. Small scrimmages are incorporated later in the season.

8. Does YCMHA supply a jersey?

Yes. Each player is given a Tim Hortons-sponsored jersey and socks to wear for the season. 

9. Do we get to keep the jersey?

Yes. Jerseys and socks (at the U7 level only) are yours to keep.

10. Can we affix my player's last name onto the jersey with a name bar?

Yes, you are welcome to affix a name bar to the back of your player's jersey, but it cannot cover the Tim Hortons logo or the "STOP" sign (see #29 below.)

11. My player has a friend who plays U7 as well. Can my player be placed in the same group as their friend?

Players are divided based on age and skill level. Requests to keep friends or family members together will not be entertained.

12. My player never skated before or has very limited skating experience. Will this be an issue?

 No, this will NOT be an issue. The focus, as set forth by Hockey Canada Development Guidelines, is to develop skating ability first. Do not get discouraged at first if you see your player struggle. You will be amazed at how quickly they develop.

13. Do I have to remain at the rink while my player is on the ice for practice?

Yes. A parent/guardian must always be available during practices. Often, a player may need to use the washroom or have issues with their gear that requires off-ice attention. Coaches will not leave the ice with a player for a washroom break.

14. Can I be on the player bench or open the door if I need to talk to or assist my player?

No. Due to liability and insurance reasons, we ask all parents & spectators (non-registered coaching staff) not to go on the bench or open doors to the ice surface. It’s tempting to step on the bench to help your player get a sip of water or to say hello, but this can disrupt the flow of practice. The registered coaches are there to assist your player. Should the coaches require assistance from a player’s parent, they will bring them off-ice and seek you out. The small children will often want to go to their parents when they are on the ice if they feel uncertain. We want to encourage players to remain on the ice and go to their coaches if they need help. Water bottles should be placed on the bench, and coaches will help players with their water when needed.

15. Will my player play real hockey games in U7?

There will be small scrimmages incorporated into the practices, but these are limited. The focus, as set forth by Hockey Canada Development Guidelines, is to develop a player skating ability first. The development progression then expands to include puck handling and individual skill development.

16. My player is excited to play goalie. Can they do that in U7?

The priority of the U7 program is to develop strong skaters. However, there will be opportunities to try goalie in the second half of the season.

17. What are all the extra costs not covered by the registration fees?

Additional costs include Jamborees and professional photographs.

18. What is a "Jamboree"?

A "Jamboree" is a non-competitive tournament where the children play teams from other associations. There is no score kept, and no specific positions played. Goalies are not part of the Jamboree. It is a fun event where the kids play between two to four short games in a day. The Jamboree usually includes other activities and culminates with a medal for the kids. It is optional and there is a limit to the number of players that can attend.

19. Are the costs of Jamborees included in my player's registration fees?

There is a cost to enter a Jamboree and that fee is not covered by your registration. The average cost per player is $50 per Jamboree. 

20. Will there be photographs taken of my players and their group?

Yes, each year YCMHA coordinates a photographer to take pictures of all U7 players. Registration fees do not cover this cost and participation is optional.

21. I wish to Coach my player in U7. How do I apply?

A coaching application is on the YCMHA website. Once you complete the application, the Coaching Director will be notified of your information. Coaches selected to assist will be provided with opportunities to take the necessary training after the start of the season. 

22. I would like to assist on ice, but I would prefer to coach only my player's group. Is that possible?

Coach volunteers are assigned to the same ice time as their players, but they are required to coach all players on the ice. Staying solely with your player's "team" is not permitted. A coach is assigned one station for each practice and remains with the station as the players rotate through the stations.

23. What qualifications do I need to be an on-ice assistant?

You need to be a strong skater and have a helmet, gloves, and a stick. These are mandatory certifications required by Hockey Nova Scotia. Selected coaches will be advised of the requirements and the timelines to obtain them.

24. I am interested in volunteering, but not on the ice. Is there any other way I can offer my help?

YCMHA is volunteer-run, and we can always use additional help off-ice. U7 takes a lot of off-ice management to be successful. Each U7 group will volunteers to help distribute and organize information to the parents. Please contact the Director of U7 to offer your assistance.

25. What is the hockey school program?

YCMHA offers 4 days of on-ice training for registered players, prior to the start of the season.

26. Does my player need to attend hockey school?

Hockey school is optional.  Our 2023 hockey school will run from October 2 to 5 and you must complete a separate registration via GrayJay pay at the time of your regular season registration.

27. Does YCMHA have control over ice cancellations at the Mariner’s Centre?

YCMHA may make the decision to cancel ice times due to inclement weather.  All travel to/from practices is at your own discretion.

28. Is there a player's assistance fund through YCMHA?

No.  YCMHA does not have its own player assistance fund.  However, assistance can be requested through the following organizations:JStrong Fund, Jumpstart, KidSport Nova Scotia and Hockey Canada Assist Fund.   

29. Why is there a “STOP” sign on my player's jersey?

The STOP Program teaches participants about the dangers of checking from behind and other safety tips, as well as values like sportsmanship. The STOP Patch serves as the program's focal point. It is a three-inch-wide patch that is centered just above the numbers and below the name patch on the back of the jersey. It serves as a reminder to players to STOP when they notice the patch in order to prevent a potentially dangerous check from behind. Kevin Stubbington of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association created the Safety Towards Other Players (STOP) Program in 1996 with the intention of raising awareness about the dangers of checking from behind in hockey. Over 700,000 patches have been distributed since 1999.

30. My player has an allergy; should I inform his Lead Coach?

Because a parent must remain in the arena during the practice, it is not necessary to notify coaches of any allergies a player may have. However, if a parent wishes to notify the Lead Coach of a severe allergy, this may be done in person before or after a practice. Knowledge of a potentially severe allergic reaction while on the ice may help the coaches recognize one and allow them to notify the parents present in the arena.

31. What is your refund policy?

* REFUND POLICY: Refunds on core registration fees may be issued on the following schedule:

- Prior to November 1, 100% refund of the registration fees, minus $25 administration cost;

- November 1 – November 31, 80% of the registration fees, minus $25 administration cost;

- December 1 – December 31, 50% of the registration fees, minus $25 administration cost;

- After December 31, no refunds.

Refunds for other YCMHA activities (e.g. hockey school) will be provided up to the time of the first ice session. After the first session has taken place, no refunds will be granted.

32. Who do I contact with questions regarding U7?

Alex Ritchie is the U7 Director. You can contact him at alexander.c.ritchie@gmail.com