Cross Ice Hockey

The Saskatchewan Hockey Association has developed a guide to developing initiation and novice aged hockey players in the province. This includes additional information on Cross Ice Hockey, the benefits of Cross Ice and hosting a Cross Ice Tournament. To learn more, please download the handbook by following the link below:


The Saskatchewan Hockey Association has developed and approved new criteria for all initiation players. Effective for the 2016-17 playing season, Cross Ice Hockey will now be the standard for age appropriate players - including all games and scrimmages.

Why Cross Ice Hockey?

Cross-ice hockey, or hockey on a smaller surface, is an important part of age-appropriate training for initiation and even novice players. Using a smaller surface in initiation hockey offers several benefits, including increased puck battles, increased puck-touches for all players, puck carriers will have to avoid more players in the small areas, etc. All of these benefits are extremely important in the long-term development of each player.

Cross-Ice hockey, is based on a model of practicing and playing hockey across the 85 foot width of the ice surface as compared to practicing and playing lengthways along the full 200 foot length of the ice surface.

This cross-ice practicing and playing model has been used in many of the leading hockey nations in the world for a number of years and has stood the test of time. It has been tested that children who begin their hockey training in this environment have an outstanding hockey experience.

Parents may ask the question why should my child play cross-ice, what will this bring? I want my child playing like the professionals do, full-ice, because I want my child to experience “real hockey”.

To help address these questions, let’s think about a child trying to skate with a puck while performing a drill the entire 200 feet from one end of the rink to the other, how long will this take? How much energy will this require? Will the player’s decision-making skills be enhanced more in the close action of the smaller cross-ice surface or in the wide-open area of the full-ice surface? In which situation will the child be more involved in the action?

Benefits Of Cross Ice Hockey

  • More children get a chance to play hockey.
  • Hockey IQ, or understanding the principles of the game, is being developed at a young age.
  • More children will experience a feeling of success when playing hockey.
  • The same exciting and fun environment as in a “real” game is created.
  • Both more and less gifted children will benefit from close/tight action on the ice.
  • Children are excited and motivated to continue playing hockey.
  • Hockey will be more appealing and rewarding to a wider range of children and their parents.
  • Group sizes become smaller which means learning and teaching will become more effective.
  • The close feeling of belonging to a team will motivate a child to participate with even greater enthusiasm.
  • More repetition/frequency in drills in one ice session.
  • More frequent line changes in the game means more ice time for each player.
  • Children remain active between their shifts with various activities in the neutral zone.
  • The feeling of being an important part of the action increases because of the small size of the rink.
  • The children have more energy with which they can improve their skills when they are skating 85 feet across the ice surface as opposed to the 200 foot length of the ice surface.
  • Playing on a smaller surface allows for more puck contact resulting in improved puck control skills.
  • Decision-making skills are enhanced as more decisions must be made more frequently at a higher tempo.
  • Individual technical skills develop more quickly.
  • Scoring skills are enhanced since the players have more shooting opportunities and the child sized goal nets (Not Mandatory) force the players to shoot more accurate.
  • More repetition for goalkeeper’s which improves reading of the game and reaction to changing game situations becomes more effective.
  • The game is full of continuously changing situations.
  • The speed in playing situations increases, which will require quicker mental and physical reactions by the players this is because there are no unnecessary breaks in the game.
Cross Ice Equipment Suppliers
Company Location More Info Email
Saskatoon Bag & Case Saskatoon, Sk PDF
Athletica Waterloo, ON
Omni Sport Stony Plain, AB
White Ice Calgary, AB



If you have any other questions in regards to Cross Ice Hockey please email or phone (306) 789-5101.


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