Erik Roos: Director of Player Develpoment
Starting early in your child's development is where they gain their foundational skills and a love for the game of hockey. It's at the mite level where this all begins. It's where these skills and love for the game will be fostered through station-based practices that will incorporate core skills and allow your child to get more ice time and puck touches through a rigorous practice plan. These plans will focus on skating, shooting, puck control, passing, and small area games. These core skills are pivotal as your child forms the foundation of skills necessary to excel in hockey now, and for years to come.
Your Top 5 Questions Answered By Brian Hopper/Head Coach & Mite Coordinator:
Q: What can I expect at tryouts and is my player ready for travel hockey?
A: Tryouts are like a normal practice. Coaches will be on-ice running familiar drills to evaluate players and everyone is placed on the best team for their own personal development since Mite travel hockey is still very much about player and skill development. The focus is still on skating, beginning stick skills, and basic game concepts. Tryouts are a great opportunity for all players to see where they fit. For players coming from Learn to Skate, tryouts will be an opportunity to challenge themselves and begin to see where they can be as players very soon. If you are unsure about attending tryouts, you should reach out to me or the Learn to Skate directors (JP and Rachel) – we will be happy to provide some guidance. By the end of tryouts, all players will be notified as to what team they will be placed for the 2023-24 season.
Q: Do I need to know my position before tryouts? What if I want to try goalie?
A: No, you do not need a position before tryouts; this level is about development. Typically, all players will have the opportunity to play all positions, including goalie, at some point during the season. Also, since games are played 4v4 on half ice, traditional positions often don’t apply. Player development will focus mostly on individual skills like skating, stickhandling, passing, and shooting.
Q: Is playing time equal?
A: Since the goal at Mites is development, playing time will be evenly distributed. During games, each shift will be denoted by the horn sounding so every shift is the same length; skaters will change on the horn. Also, as much fun as games are for the players and families, the majority of the growth will take place in practice where every player remains on the ice to participate in all drills.
Q: How does travel hockey work?
A: Mite travel teams will typically practice two times per week with an optional additional night of skills practices and have two games per weekend (one home /one away). We will also typically participate in a few (1-3) tournaments or jamborees. Usually, one tournament will involve some travel within New England/New York which requires an overnight hotel stay. Travel tournaments such as this are great opportunities for players to not only play some great hockey but have some great experiences with their teammates off the ice. Other tournaments, including year-end CHC jamboree, but generally we will be in state.
Q: How do I decide what team to play for?
A: We will help you. Southern has a tremendous group of coaches with tons of experience developing players. Many of our coaches have coached multiple levels from Mites through High School. The most important thing at this age is that kids are having fun and learning the fundamentals. I personally bring 21 years of coaching experience; I have coached at every level from Learn to Skate right up to High School. Coaching at a variety of age levels has helped me learn that any young player who is enjoying their time on the ice is on track to have a successful playing career. During tryouts, coaches will instruct, evaluate, and place players on the team that best fits with their current skill level. Throughout the year our Mite teams will often practice together to help all players develop their fundamental skills even further. Throughout the year players will be continually evaluated as their skills improve so they can continue to be challenged and grow.