Initiation and Novice hockey is for children aged aged 4-8. It was formerly called Hockey 1 to Hockey 4 (H1, H2, H3, H4 for short). For simplicity, we still use the H1, H2, etc. names but the divisions are as follows:
- Initiation Minor (H1) is for players aged 5 by December 31st (Kindergarten). We occasionally accept younger (4 year old) players.
- Initiation Major (H2) is for players aged 6 by December 31st (Grade One).
- Novice Minor (H3) is for players aged 7 by December 31st (Grade Two).
- Novice Major (H4) is for players aged 8 by December 31st (Grade Three).
Registration for all new players begins June 1st. The hockey season begins in September or October and runs until Spring Break. There is a Christmas break at the same time as the school break.
New players require some skating ability. CanSkate level 2 is recommended. Skating lessons are available at the West Van Arena or at the Vancouver Skating Club. We can make exceptions for 4-6 year olds at the discretion of the Hockey Director.
Full gear, including neck guards, is mandatory. All players are required to have black helmets. Download our equipment guide for more information.
Practices and Games
Initiation Minor (H1) practices 2x per week. Practices are after school (usually on Thursdays) and on weekends. As per Hockey Canada rules, there are no games in Initiation Minor, except for jamboree-style exhibition games towards the end of the season.
Initiation Major (H2) practices 2x per week. Practices are after school (usually on Thursdays) and on weekends. An additional ice time for skills development may be added. Games begin in the second half of the season (January), with alternating home and away games each week. Away games are all on the North Shore.
Novice Minor (H3) practices 2x per week. Practices are after school and on weekends. An additional ice time for skills development may be added. Games begin in December, with alternating home and away games each week. Away games are on the North Shore. Occasional travel to Squamish and Whistler may occur.
Novice Major (H4) practices 2 – 3x per week. Practices are after school and on weekends. It is possible (although not typical) for there to be 7am practices during weekdays. Games begin in November, with alternating home and away games each week. Away games are mostly on the North Shore, but travel to Squamish, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast may occur.
We are proud to be the only minor hockey association in the Lower Mainland that uses professional coaches for every initiation and novice practice. Our professional coaches include our Director of Hockey, as well as outside skills providers such as Inside Edge and ProFormance.
WVMHA’s focus is on skills development and to provide children of all skills abilities to develop to their maximum potential. To learn more about our long-term skills development model, please click here.
Cross-Ice and Half-Ice Games
As per BC Hockey rules, all games for H2 and H3 are cross-ice and H4 games are half-ice. There is a transition to full-ice program for H4 players in the second half of the season in order to prepare them for the following season where they will play full-ice.
We own divider or cross-ice boards to split the ice in two, as well as age-appropriate Jr. sized nets for H1 – H3. Volunteers are required to help set-up the cross-ice boards.
Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. The pace of learning and skills development is very rapid at young ages and hockey is a skills-intensive sport. Your child will have a more positive experience if they are able to participate and learn at the same rate as their peers.
We encourage all our H2-H4 teams to participate in at least one (preferably two) tournaments each season. We host an annual tournament called “Thunderstorm” for the H2 and H3 divisions. This tournament features teams from throughout the Lower Mainland and requires significant volunteer help. The parents of the “host” teams are expected to participate in a volunteer capacity.
We need the parents of our youngest players to be involved whenever/however they can. You can select a volunteer role during the on-line registration process. Some considerations are:
- All teams will have specific volunteer roles for each player’s parent (ex: treasurer, scorekeep/timekeep, social coordinator, etc)
- Each team will need coaches/ assistant coaches, managers and Hockey Canada Safety Person (HCSP) referred to as Team Officials.
- There is always a role for everyone
|Division||Age (by Dec. 31st)|
|Initiation Minor (H1)||4-5|
|Initiation Major (H2)||6|
|Novice Minor (H3)||7|
|Novice Major (H4)||8|