U7 PROGRAM (Formerly Initiation)
Frequently Asked Questions
1. At what age can I register for U7?
It is the Division set out by Hockey Canada for players who turn 4, 5 and 6 years old by December 31 of the current year.
2. Which levels of hockey are in the U7 Division?
The U7 Division is made up of 3 different levels of hockey – Fundamentals U7-1, U7-2, U7-3. The FUNdamentals program is for players who have turned 4 years old by December 31st of the current calendar year. The FUNdamentals program falls under the U7 Division umbrella. The U7-2 program is for players who have turned 5 years old by December 31st of the current calendar year. The U7-3 program is for players who have turned 6 years old by December 31st of the current calendar year. Different Associations may use different names for their levels of hockey in the U7 Division or break the levels up differently.
3. How many teams are at each level in the U7 Division?
The number of teams at each level depends on the registration numbers. Historically, there have been enough players to make one team at the FUNdamentals level, two teams at the U7-2 level, and three teams at the U7-3 level.
4. When does the U7 season start?
The U7 season typically has an Orientation session in late October, with the actual season starting in early November
5. How long is the season?
The season usually runs from early/middle October until mid/late March – approximately 40 practices.
6. Are practices held over the December holidays?
No, practices are not held between Christmas and New Year’s. However, some U7-2 and U7-3 teams will often choose to participate in a Jamboree during this time (more to come on Jamborees later).
7. Where do the practices take place?
Bedford & District Minor Hockey Association has ice rental contracts at several facilities in HRM. Practices can take place at rinks such as BMO Centre, the RBC Centre, the Lebrun Arena, etc. It depends on what ice times and locations we are allocated by HRM.
8. When are the practices?
Each team will usually have one practice on a weekend day and one on another day each week (two practices in total each week). The second practice could be on the other weekend day, or it may be on a weekday. We don’t yet know which it is going to be for the upcoming season as the schedule can vary each year depending on what ice times we are allocated. The past few seasons we have had ice times on Saturdays and Sundays instead of weekdays.
9. Is the BMO Centre run by Bedford & District Minor Hockey Association (BDMHA)?
No, they are separate entities. The BMO Centre is an HRM facility and operated by Nustadia Rcreation Inc. BDMHA is just one of many user groups that have ice rental contracts at the BMO Centre. Other groups are other minor hockey associations, adult hockey leagues, ringette, skating clubs, and goalie training groups.
10. Does BDMHA have control over ice cancellations at BMO Centre and other rinks?
No, ice cancellations are determined by BMO Centre and other rinks. Ice may be cancelled for tournaments, provincial playoffs, etc. BDMHA will notify players when their ice is cancelled. These cancelled ice times are factored in to the total number of practices for the year so they do not need to be “made up”. If BMO Centre or other rinks close due to weather, these practices will be made up for the team. If a team cancels themselves due to weather or safety travelling, these practices may not necessarily be made up due to constraints on ice time availability and cost.
11. Will my child’s practice times remain constant throughout the season?
Not necessarily. It will depend on what ice times we are given for all of the teams. There may be a rotation of teams through various ice times throughout the season. Also, if any additional practices need to be added at the end of the season, these may be at a different time/day.
12. Do I have to remain at the rink while my child is on the ice for practice?
Yes, a parent/guardian must be available at all times during practices. Often, a child may need to use the washroom or have issues with their gear that requires off-ice attention. Coaches will not leave the ice with a child for a washroom break.
13. Can I be on the player bench or open the door if I need to talk to or assist my child?
No, all parents and spectators are asked to not be on the bench or open the doors to the ice. It may be tempting to step on the bench to help your child get a sip of water or to say hello, but this can be distracting and disrupt the flow of the practice. The coaches are there to assist your child. Should the coaches require assistance from a child’s parent, they will bring them to one of the doors to the ice and seek you out.
14. What is the format for a typical FUNdamentals/U7 hockey practice?
They are typically station-based practices. The team is usually broken up into 3-5 groups of players. These groups then rotate through the 3-5 stations. Small scrimmages may be incorporated into a station later in the season.
15. Will my child play real hockey games in FUNdamentals/U7?
There will be small scrimmages incorporated into the practices at times. Some teams may have “Game Days” but these are only limited. The main focus, as set forth by Hockey Canada Development Guidelines, is to develop the child’s skating ability first. The development progression then expands to include puck handling and individual skill development. Some teams will also participate in Jamborees.
16. What is a “Jamboree”?
A “Jamboree” is a non-competitive tournament where the children play teams from other associations. There is no score kept, and no specific positions are played. Goalies are generally not part of the Jamboree. It is a fun event where the kids play between two to four short games in a day. The Jamboree usually includes other activities and culminates with a medal or other small award for the kids.
17. Are the cost of Jamborees included in my child’s registration fee?
No, there is a cost to enter a Jamboree and that fee is not covered by your registration fee. Jamborees can cost between $10-$35 at times. The only exception is the annual Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree held at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. This Jamboree is complimentary of Tim Hortons for U7-2 and U7-3 players only.
18. Can I enter my child in as many Jamborees as I want or is there a limit?
There is a limit set by Hockey Nova Scotia of three Jamborees during a season. Once your child has played in three Jamborees, he/she is not allowed to participate in any more for the rest of the season.
19. My child is very excited to play goalie – can he/she do that during the IP years?
The priority of the U7 program is to develop strong skaters. As a result, the opportunity to try playing goalie is only introduced during the U7 year. Goalies are incorporated into practices once the season is up and running. The Head Coach will rotate players through the goalie position to give everyone who wants a chance to try wearing the goalie gear and playing the position for a practice. Once everyone has had a turn, there may be the opportunity for a second try later in the season.
20. My son/daughter has a good friend who plays hockey in U7 as well. Can my child be placed on the same team as his/her friend?
The registration form has a section asking which school your child attends. In the past, we attempted to place children from the same school on the same team. However, this may be changing for the upcoming season depending on whether they are a new or returning player. Also, depending on the number of registrants, this might not always be possible. Late registrations may not be able to be accommodated as well.
21. Does Bedford and District Minor Hockey Association (BDMHA) supply a jersey?
Yes, your child will be given a Tim Hortons’ sponsored jersey to wear for the season. These jerseys must be returned at the end of the year. The jerseys will be reused the following season by the next year’s players. At the end of the season, the Team Manager will provide direction for returning your jersey. All players should be prepared to have their own jersey for the first Orientation skate of the year, which takes place before the jerseys are distributed.
22. Can I affix my child’s last name onto the jersey with a name bar?
Yes, you are welcome to affix a name bar to the back of your child’s jersey, but it cannot be glued or ironed on. It can only be sewn on to the jersey, and it cannot cover the Tim Horton’s logo or the “STOP” sign. The name bar must be removed prior to returning the jersey at the end of the season.
23. Why is there a “STOP” sign on my child’s jersey?
The Safety Towards Other Players (STOP) program teaches players about the dangers of checking from behind, as well as other valuable safety rules and sportsmanship. The STOP patch is the focal point of the program. It is on the back of the jersey, centered about the numbers and below the name bar. It is a reminder to the players to STOP when they see this sign and avoid a dangerous check from behind.
24. Will my FUNdamentals/IU7 player have a hockey photo taken?
Yes, most likely as each year the teams usually do photos. Your Team Manager will communicate to you which date your team will be having their photos taken. Your registration fees do not cover this cost and participation is optional.
25. Are there extra costs not covered by the registration fee?
Yes, there are optional extra costs that are not covered. Things like photographs, name bars, Jamborees (excluding the Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree for U7-2 and U7-3), parties, water bottles, and any team building activities would be an extra cost. In the past, teams have also purchased tickets to go watch a Mooseheads game together for an extra cost. The mandatory Hockey Nova Scotia “Respect in Sport” program is also an extra $12+tax. The regularly scheduled hockey practices are covered by your registration fee.
26. I see two names on the Executive associated with the U7 Program. Who do I contact with questions?
The U7 Divisional Coordinator is your main contact for questions related to the FUNdamentals/U7 Program: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kyla Burry)
27. I’d like to help coach my child’s team. How do I apply?
During registration, there is a section where you can indicate that you are interested in coaching your child’s team. There is also an online Coaching Application to be filled out on the Bedford Blues website. There is a finite number of coaches allowed on the ice, so please fill out the form early. More information will then be sent to you on how to become certified to coach. This process includes a Child Abuse Registry check, a Criminal Record Check, a Respect in Sport for Volunteers course, an online Intro to Coach course, and a half day in-class Coaching Course (to be completed after the online portion). This applies to the Assistant Coaches as well as the Head Coaches. All Head Coaches must also do an online Safety Course. Please check out this link to the Bedford Blues website for more information: click HERE. If you are interested in volunteering off-ice, please see #30 below.
28. I would like to assist on the ice, but I would prefer to coach only my child’s group. Is this possible?
Assistant coaches are assigned to the same ice time as their child, but they are required to coach all players on the ice. Staying solely with your child’s group is not permitted. A coach is assigned one station each practice and remains with the station as the players rotate through the stations.
29. How much hockey experience do I need to help coach?
You do not need to have high-level hockey experience. You just need to be a strong skater, and have a helmet, gloves and a stick. There are mandatory certifications mentioned above that are required by Hockey Nova Scotia in order to be allowed to be on the ice. Coaches interested in volunteering will be advised of the requirements and the timelines when they must be met. We especially encourage female coaches to come out assist our players and serve as role models to our developing players. Historically, we have had only 2-3 female coaches sign up per team. We’d like to encourage any females interested in coaching to please sign up as we think it’s great to have both men and women volunteering as role models for our players!
30. I’m interested in volunteering, but not on the ice. Is there any other way I can help?
Definitely! BDMHA is a volunteer run organization, and we can always use additional help off ice. In particular, each team requires a Team Manager to manage many of the off ice requirements. If you are interested, please contact the Divisonional Coordinator IP to offer your assistance . Team Managers do things such as distributing and collecting the jerseys, organizing team photos, signing players up for Jamborees, communication, collection of optional fees, etc. Like Assistant and Head Coaches, Team Managers must go through a certification process. This process includes Criminal Record Check + Vulnerable Sector Check, and a Respect in Sport for Volunteers course. Please check out this link to the Bedford Blues website for more information here
31. How does my child get to play in the Mooseheads intermission games?
This is for our U7-3 players only. Each year, our association is given a set number of games to play in (historically 4 games) with 10 players needed each game. The players are randomly chosen to participate. If your child is selected, you will be notified by email. If the Mooseheads advance into the playoffs, there is the possibility we can receive an additional game. Not all U7-3 players will be able to play as we often have over 100 U7-3 players and only 40 spots.
32. What is the Respect in Sport for Parents Program?
One parent of every player beginning hockey must complete the online Respect in Sport for Parents program. It is mandatory as per Hockey Nova Scotia and costs $12 + tax. If you have completed the program for an older sibling, you don’t have to do it again but your new FUNdamentals/U7 player must be added to your Respect in Sport account.
33. My child has an allergy or medical condition. What is the best way to inform his/her Head Coach?
Every child must have a medical form filled out and given to your Team Manager at the start of the year. These forms will be kept with the Head Coach/Team Manager and brought to each practice. As well, because a parent must remain in the arena during the practice, someone will always be present who is aware of the condition as well. Knowledge of a potential severe allergic reaction or other medical condition while on the ice may help the coaches recognize this and allow them to notify the parents present in the arena.