Frequently Asked Questions
Bedford & District Minor Hockey Association U7 Division
1. What does U7 stand for?
U7 stands for Under 7. It is the Division set out by Hockey Canada for the season for players who turn 4, 5 and 6 years old by December 31st, 2021. It replaces the division formerly known as IP (Initiation Program).
2. Which levels of hockey are in the U7 Division?
The U7 Division is made up of 3 different levels of hockey – U7-1, U7-2 and U7-3.
The U7-1 program is for players who have turned 4 years old by December 31st of the current calendar year. 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 U7-1 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 will start with Orientation sessions in mid-late October, with the actual season starting in November. Our Orientation dates are:
1. Saturday October 23rd 7am-3pm
2. Sunday October 24th 7am-3pm
3. Saturday October 30th 7am-3pm
4. Sunday October 31st 7am-3pm
Each player will be assigned a 50 minute time slot on each day. These will not be the final group or time your player will be assigned for the regular season.
5. How long is the season?
The season usually runs from late October/early November until late March – approximately 38-40 practices. Hockey NS has been making some changes to the season schedules in recent years so this may affect our start and end dates.
6. Are practices held over the December holidays?
No, practices are usually 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 usually take place at the Halifax 4-Pad and the RBC Centre in Dartmouth, but we can also have ice times at Lebrun, Sackville, etc. It depends on what ice times and locations we are allocated by HRM.
8. When are the practices?
Each team will have two practices per week. For the upcoming season, we are anticipating that the teams will have one practice on Saturdays and one practice on Sundays. The start time for these practices can be anywhere from 7am-2pm on these days, and can be located at both BMO Centre in Bedford and RBC Centre in Dartmouth. There is a chance we could be assigned 1 weekend practice and 1 weekday practice each week. If this happens, the weekday practice could be as early as 4pm on a weekday.
9. Is the Halifax 4-Pad run by Bedford & District Minor Hockey Association (BDMHA)?
No, they are separate entities. BDMHA is just one of many user groups that have ice rental contracts at the Halifax 4-Pad. Other groups are other minor hockey associations, ringette, skating clubs, and goalie training groups.
10. Does BDMHA have control over ice cancellations at Halifax 4-Pad and other rinks?
No, ice cancellations are determined by Halifax 4-Pad 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 Halifax 4-Pad or other rinks close due to weather, these practices will likely 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 for U7 players. 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 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 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-$40 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 only (born 2016 and 2015). We currently do not know if this Jamboree will be taking place this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We will let everyone know once this information is made available to us.
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. This total does not include the annual Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree.
19. My child is very excited to play goalie – can he/she do that during the U7 years?
The priority of the U7 program is to develop strong skaters first. As a result, the opportunity to try playing goalie is only introduced during the U7-3 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 as this takes care of the majority of our friend requests. However, this may be changing for the upcoming 2021-2022 season as we look at new players and returning players. Also, depending on the number of registrants, this might not always be possible. Late registrations may not be able to be accommodated as well.
If you’d like to make a friend request, we’ll try to accommodate 1 per player as best we can. Parents of both players need to email the U7 Coordinator Kyla Burry email@example.com with the same request before the first Orientation day.
21. Does Bedford and District Minor Hockey Association (BDMHA) supply a jersey?
Yes, your child will be given a Tim Horton’s sponsored jersey and socks to wear for the season. The last two years we have been fortunate enough that Tim Horton’s has allowed us to keep the jersey and socks. However, this program is changing and we likely will need to return them to re-use them for the next year’s players. At the end of the season, the Team Manager will provide direction on returning your jersey. All players should be prepared to have their own jersey and socks 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 as we need to return the jerseys. It can only be sewn on to the jersey, and it cannot cover the Tim Horton’s logo or the “STOP” sign.
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 U7 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 Coordinator Kyla Burry is your first contact for questions related to the U7 Program: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also contact the VP of U7 and U9 Denise Crowell at email@example.com
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: Coaching Application 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 Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector 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 Assistant Coaches as well as 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 here Bedford Blues Coaching Certification and Coaching Certification Requirements. 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 U7 Coordinator to offer your assistance firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 a Criminal Record Check with 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 Certification Requirements and Detailed Certification Requirements.
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 U7-2 players and only 40 spots. This program was put on hold during the 2020-2021 season due to Covid-19. We have not yet heard if it will be returning for the upcoming season.
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 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.
This diagram shows what equipment is required for hockey. Players also wear a jersey and socks. These will be provided by the Association in November but will not be available during the October sessions. If your player needs to borrow a jersey for October, please reach out to our U7 Coordinator Kyla Burry at email@example.com We unfortunately do not have extra socks to lend out. Don't forget your neck guard - these are mandatory and players will not be allowed on the ice without one!
We’re looking forward to a great upcoming 2021-2022 hockey season for our U7 players!!
For clarification on information in this document please contact Denise Crowell, VP U7 and U9 at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kyla Burry, U7 Coordinator at email@example.com