U11 Player Pathways

The U11 Player Pathway is supported by the Hockey Canada Long-Term Player Development Model. This framework provides the guiding principles for age appropriate and skill specific programming for all players in Hockey Canada’s youth hockey system. By utilizing LTPD principles, Hockey Canada membership offers systems and structures that are more consistent and ensure continuity as players move through the system from one age level to the next.

Player development is at the core of the U11 Player Pathway, with a focus on skill development so that each player will experience success in both practice and game settings. When viewing from the perspective of how kids learn the number of repetitions of specific skills and situations that occur in practice versus a game we quickly learned where players have a chance to develop the most: practice.


The U11 Player Pathway is a progressive learn-to-play teaching curriculum. This pathway is an important component in the transition from U9 and serves as preparation into U13. The U11 Player Pathway consists of four phases of instruction, designed for players graduating from U9 hockey and for entry-level hockey players who may start playing hockey at this age level. The curriculum introduces, develops, and refines the skills of skating, passing, puck control, and shooting in a progressive, step-by-step manner.

This is to be viewed as an opportunity for young players to develop and refine fundamental movement skills (skating, turning, acceleration), manipulation skills (shooting, puck control, passing) and overall motor skills (balance, coordination, agility) in a fun and safe environment, promoting skill development through self-confidence. The main goal of the U11 Player Pathway is to continue to have fun while developing skills. When players continue on a positive note, they enjoy the game and will go on to have fun playing hockey for many years.

The U11 Player Pathway provides an environment that helps all players at the U11 age level (9 and 10 years old) to realize their full potential. Hockey Canada strongly believes that in order for players to truly fulfill their potential and be the best they can be, the needs of the player should be at the forefront of the programming.

The primary focus of the youth hockey system is to develop a lifelong passion for sport, develop important life skills through hockey and provide young players exposure to a development system that is progressive in nature and meets their needs based on age-specific and skill-appropriate programming.

Preparation Skates

There is a substantial benefit for children to have the opportunity to participate in ice sessions prior to formal selection or evaluation. Players feel more relaxed and are able to perform at a higher level, compared to being evaluated in their first time back on the ice. By providing these opportunities, players are placed in a situation where stress has been mitigated and they are able to showcase their ability.

Preparation Practice Plans (click to view practice plans)

The drills in these practice plans are designed to give coaches some ideas on getting their players ready for player selection / tryouts by incorporating a multitude of skills required to play the game. There are 4 practice plans in this series that include key teaching points as well as key evaluation points to provide insight on the details within the drills.
The plan is based on 50 minutes so depending on the length of the ice time, the suggested time to run each drill can be adapted to fit the ice time. Where longer ice times are provided coaches can add drills / games of their own.

Player Selection and Evaluation

Player Evaluation / Selection/ tryouts must be a minimum of three formal sessions

  • This is a key part of a player's hockey experience
  • Players need a fair chance to be evaluated - a standard process will show transparency and consistency.
  • Will provide coaches with the basis of a development plan based on a solid and quantifiable evaluation.


This methodology allows players to showcase their abilities over a longer period of time in three different aspects of competency. Different players will excel in the three different evaluation scenarios and collectively will provide coaches with a more complete snapshot of a player’s overall abilities in order to make a more informed decision on selecting players for their teams. The different evaluation scenarios will also provide coaches with a better opportunity to develop a more comprehensive development plan for the individual player as well as the team overall.


U11 Evaluation skates are based on the same skills, concepts and drills that are used at the Hockey Canada U17 Male National Team camp to assess player strengths and deficiencies. This assessment will not only help place players on teams, but also help to form the basis of the development plan for the coach at the beginning of the year.

Evaluation Practice Plans (click to view practice plans)