What is Cross Ice?
At the Walker Ice and Fitness Center, we follow the USA Hockey model of Cross Ice for U-8 players. USA Hockey adopted this model to help further the development of under 8 players. Under ADM, cross ice games are played the width of the rink (or cross ice) and we utilize up to six zones to create an ample amount of puck touches and quick decision making.
In the video below, Coach Mike explains the age range for Cross Ice:
Why Cross Ice?
Cross ice is the perfect structure for younger players because it allows them to spend a lot more time skating and handling the puck. Studies by USA Hockey found that when younger players play full ice, they got very little time with the puck and had difficulty reaching the goal. Basically, playing on full ice stunted the development of younger players, tired them out quickly and could easily make them lose interest in playing.
Because Cross Ice games move much faster players can learn to make quick decisions. The games can be played with or without a goalie and they use much smaller nets. This method helps kids learn more defensive and offensive techniques and players are also able to develop shooting techniques and precision.
USA Hockey ran an experiment to show why Cross Ice is the best choice for kids: