Pathway to Hockey

Pathway to Hockey

Welcome to Hockey Canada's comprehensive guide to getting your child started on the exciting journey of minor hockey! Hockey is more than just a sport; it's a thrilling team activity that fosters friendships, physical fitness, and essential life skills in a safe and welcoming environment, all while accommodating your family's schedule. As a passionate advocate for the sport, Hockey Canada and it's Members are committed to providing a clear and engaging pathway for players and parents who are eager to embark on this adventure together.

What is hockey?

Hockey is a fun team sport that fosters new friendships, healthy physical activity and life skills that go beyond the ice.



When kids of all ages start to play hockey, it's all about having fun. As kids advance in skill, fun remains the foundation, through increased competition.



Through hockey, players will make lifelong friends and learn teamwork, dedication, determination, perseverance and commitment.



Athlete safety is our top priority. Hockey Canada governs minor hockey to best protect all of its participants.



Does your child want to play recreationally or competitively? Once a week in your neighbourhood or more frequently? Minor hockey associations are increasingly offering scheduling options for families.



No matter your skill level or experience, there's a team for you.


Benefit   Hockey Canada-sanctioned programs   Non-sanctioned programs
Recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Yes, which allows teams sanctioned by Hockey Canada to compete against teams from other IIHF Member National Associations No, as well as not guaranteed to be overseen by any governing body
Supported and recognized by government as the official system for hockey in Canada Yes No
Eligible to participate in sanctioned hockey tournaments Yes No
Partners with the NHL, CHL, CJHL, U SPORTS and others that operate under sanctioned hockey Yes No
Opportunity to be an affiliate player in a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league, including the CHL, CJHL and Junior A Yes No
Suspensions are tracked and upheld if a player, coach or staff member move between leagues Yes No, and any suspension from a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league is not guaranteed to be recognized in future non-sanctioned play
Eligible to submit confidential complaints of maltreatment, abuse or harassment to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner or Hockey Canada’s Independent Third Party Yes No
Opportunities to participate in low-cost entry-level introduction to hockey programs, such as NHL/NHLPA First Shift, Esso Fun Days and Dreams Come True Yes No
Eligible to be selected for national and provincial and territorial high-performance teams and programs Yes No
Coaches, officials and staff may be considered for additional sanctioned assignments and opportunities including participation in IIHF events, CHL, CJHL and Junior A games, Program of Excellence events and regional and national championships Yes No
Eligible to compete in provincial and national championships hosted by Hockey Canada and its Member branches Yes No
Opportunity to collaborate with Hockey Canada and its Member branches across the country, who have successful track records of organizational and financial stability Yes No
Eligible to be rostered in a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league for the remainder of the season, including CHL, CJHL and Junior A Yes Ineligible if participating in non-sanctioned hockey after September 30
Officials have been trained and certified by Hockey Canada Yes Not guaranteed
Proven model for hockey to be enjoyed recreationally and competitively Yes Not guaranteed
Mandatory criminal record and/or vulnerable sector check for all coaches, bench staff, trainers and officials. Yes Not guaranteed
Full, standardized insurance coverage, including Commercial General Liability, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance and Directors and Officers Liability Yes Not guaranteed
Standardized rulebook for all levels of hockey Yes Not guaranteed
Mandatory education, certification and training required for coaches, trainers and officials Yes Not guaranteed
Standardized age-appropriate hockey programs Yes Not guaranteed


Ultimately, Hockey Canada and our Members are tasked with ensuring that participants of all ages and abilities can enjoy playing hockey in communities across the country, both recreationally and competitively.

While we feel strongly that our model for delivering hockey is to the benefit, safety and wellness of players, coaches, officials, parents, administrators and volunteers, we recognize that others remain free to participate in the game outside of sanctioned programs.


Beyond fun, hockey’s about teamwork, building self confidence and providing lifestyle benefits and skills that give your child an edge in life, away from the rink."
Learn to Skate

Have fun learning basic skating skills, at any age with fun, low-cost programming.

2,500+local hockey association across Canada
Municipal parks & recreation
Skate Canada & CanSkate programs events in your community

Learn to play hockey

Sign up for short-term or one-day programs.

Hockey Canada programs offered periodically across the country:

The First Shift
6-week learn-to-play program for kids aged 6 to 10 that includes head-to-toe Bauer equipment
First Shifts in your community

Esso Fun Days
An introduction to the female game for girls and women of all ages
Esso Fun Days in your community

Join minor hockey

Join a team and wear your own jersey!

Timbits U7 Hockey | 6 and under
U9 Hockey | 7 and 8 years old

Recreational programs
Competitive programs
Elite level programs

Register your child, through your Hockey Canada member

Hockey in school

Hockey Canada brings hockey into the classroom and the curriculum onto the ice.

Hockey Canada Skills Academy
A joint program with school boards that involves on-ice skill development as well as off-ice lessons on nutrition, goal setting and self-motivation
Academies in your community

A gym-based program that introduces kids to hockey as a safe, fun and inclusive sport
Floorball programs

School Program
Hockey is the basis for lessons in language arts, math, social studies, science, phys. ed, art and music
Learn more


Email Hockey Canada - logo

Email us for more information:


Need a hand with introducing your child to hockey?
Select you provincial/territory Member.

Register your child, through your local hockey association.

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided on this platform is of a general nature. It is intended to provide a starting point for determining where a player may register to play minor hockey and is not necessarily conclusive of where a player is eligible to play.