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: