Willowbrook Ice Arena has a three-step approach to Youth Hockey. First we focus on instilling proper skating techniques in our Learn to Skate program. There, all novice skaters will learn the foundational footwork critical to the success of a hockey player. In Intro to Hockey, players will learn how to move with a hockey stick and begin puck and stick-handling drills while building their skating proficiency. Finally, in Learn to Play 3 on 3, participants will learn concepts behind playing hockey as they build their power and skill as a skater and stick handler in order to compete at the travel hockey level.
Testing for skaters new to Willowbrook Ice Arena will be conducted during the first week of the program. We will place players based on their ability to execute specific skating and stick mechanics. Each player will sign up for the level they believe they fit. However, the coaches may move them based on the evaluation.
Learn to Skate
Players with no or limited skating experience will be placed in the Learn to Skate program. The focus of this program is to build a confident skater with proper foundational techniques necessary to be a talented hockey player.
To advance into the Intro to Hockey program, the player must be able to competently perform Basic 3 level skills: - forward stroking showing correct use of the blade - 6 consecutive half swizzle pumps (clockwise and counterclockwise) - moving forward to backward two-foot turns on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise) - beginning backward one-foot glides with a focus on balance - backward snowplow stop (R and L) - forward slalom
In the Learn to Skate program, participants will not use hockey sticks on the ice. The focus is 100% on learning to skate and proper use of edges. Hockey equipment is optional, but a helmet is recommended. This program will instill the player with the skating skills necessary to confidently begin working with a stick and puck as they move into the Intro to Hockey program.
Intro to Hockey
This program will accept players proficient in the Learn to Skate Basic 3 skills as stated above. The focus of this program will be instilling mechanics that promote proper handling of a hockey stick and puck, and the incorporation of skating skills that aid the player in changing direction on the ice.
To graduate from this program and advance into the Learn to Play 3 on 3 program, the player will need to have sound foundational skating skills, proper stick mechanics and puck control.
Required Equipment - Hockey Skates, Helmet, Shin Guards, Shoulder Pads, Elbow Pads and a Hockey Stick (cut to the correct length).
Learn to Play 3 on 3
This program will accept players that have mastered skills consistent with those taught in the Intro to Hockey program. Players must have strong basic skating skills and demonstrate the foundational mechanics of controlling a hockey stick.
In Learn to Play 3 on 3, the player will learn to think like a hockey player. The introduction of basic concepts and strategies needed to become successful in the game of hockey will be taught. The player will learn advanced skating mechanics as well as higher level stick handling and shooting techniques. The objective of this program is to graduate the players to club hockey and a lifetime of love for the game.
Required Equipment – Hockey Skates, Helmet, Shoulder Pads, Shin Guards, Elbow Pads, Hockey Pants, Hockey Stick (cut to the right length).