Novice Program (West Northumberland Girls Hockey Association)

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In 2019-2020 WNGHA will be implementing the new Hockey Canada requirements for Novice Programs (ages 8 and under).  Similar to the initiation program (IP), this program represents a major shift in the way that hockey for young children is played focusing on fun, skills and half ice play. The program is designed to promote player skill development by increasing the amount of time each player touches, passes, and shoots the puck. The core elements for this model are using running time, changing on the fly, no offside, no icing, and no face-offs after goals. 


Novice House League & Rep Programs

Based on feedback received from our membership, the WNGHA does not plan on running a Novice Rep program for the 2019/2020 season. We will be instead focusing on a Novice House League program with player development being a major focus point throughout the season.

Half Ice

Effective the 2019-2020 season Hockey Canada mandates half ice play for Novice until January 15th each year.  After January 15th, players will transition to full ice play for the remainder of the season.

4 on 4

The new half ice program will be based on 4 on 4 play.


Scores of games will not be kept until January 15th.


There will be no dedicated goalies.  Every girl will be given the opportunity to play net if they wish. The WNGHA has goalie equipment available to those who wish to try playing in net.

Length of Games

There will be three minutes for warm-up, and the game will be played as two 25-minute halves running straight time with a two-minute intermission. 

Face offs

There will be a face off to start the game and at the beginning of the second period only.  If there is a goal or the goaltender freezes the puck the attacking team will back off and possession of the puck will go to goaltender’s team.

Line Changes

There will be no changing on the fly.  Hockey Canada recommends sounding the buzzer every 60 seconds leaving the puck where it is ensuring every player gets an equal amount of ice time.


Penalties will still be called during half-ice games. However, instead of stopping the play, the non-offending team will take possession of the puck and the official will inform the coach what penalty was called on which player. Play will continue 4-on-4, but the offending player will sit out the following shift. Coaches are asked to explain the penalty to the offending player.

Red & Blue Lines

There will be no icing or offside called during half-ice play.

Number of Players on a Team

The ideal size for novice program teams would be 18 players. During games, they will split into two squads of nine players each - eight skaters and one goaltender. However, final roster sizes will be determined by the number of players registered. 


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