Program offers young players a chance to get their hockey fix
As the end of the city’s hockey season looms in the not so distant future, many parents are already wondering how to combat a disorder that afflicts so many of our young athletes after the playoffs: Hockey withdrawal.
Luckily, there is help.
The Peterborough Stars provide a fun, fitness and participation based program which allows young hockey players from novice to bantam improve their skill set and get their hockey fix.
“It’s a great way for kids to get out and chase the puck with their friends and keep up their skills,” says Gary Baldwin, one of the organizers of the league.
Following a design that has been advocated by USA hockey for nearly 10 years, the format is based on a three on three game structure. Teams are made up of nine players, including one goalie, and rules are adjusted to allow the game to continue with minimal interruptions. There is no checking or icing called during games. Scores and standings aren’t maintained to allow the players to focus on game play rather than the score board.
Baldwin, however, warns not to let the non-traditional design fool you. It’s a fast paced format, providing more ice for players to move the puck, be creative and reinforce teamwork. The format doesn’t allow anyone to hide on the ice.
The Stars’ program also provides flexibility for families, staying away from long weekends and allowing kids from other teams to fill in when a team is short.
For those big kids who also are suffering from hockey fever, the Stars are working on a treatment for them as well. Baldwin states that an adult coed league is in development to allow mom and dad to fill their need for some ice time.
“We think there’s a niche for it,” says Baldwin.
For those who are looking for a level where scores and standings are kept, Overtime Hockey and the High Performance Hockey League provide four on four hockey in both the Peterborough and Lindsay areas. The HPHL is geared to a higher age group, providing competition leagues for AA, AAA, high school and junior players, while Overtime covers the same age group as the programs provided by the Stars.
The debilitating condition of hockey withdrawal doesn’t discriminate between gender or age, but luckily these groups provide ample opportunity for those suffering to get on the ice to build on skills and fitness until hockey season returns.