Inititiation Program (Tillsonburg Minor Hockey Inc.)

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The Program

The Initiation Program (IP) is a progressive, fun approach to learning the skills of hockey. The program is based on a teaching curriculum that incorporates all the appropriate skills for the entire year. This curriculum/CHIP (Canadian Hockey Initiation Program) was developed by Hockey Canada and continues to be one of the most advanced programs in the world.

Tillsonburg became a Certified IP Centre after being evaluated by the OMHA and presented with a banner and certificate at the OMHA Annual General Meeting in June 2006.

Tillsonburg’s Initiation Program is based on:

Dividing the players into smaller groups.

· An instructor can more effectively manage a small group of young players

· Drills are run much faster, players are spending less time waiting in line

Grouping the players by ability.

· The players in each group are at about the same skill level, bringing continuity to the instruction

A high ratio of instructors to players.

· One instructor for every 5 players is an effective way to ensure each player gets maximum attention

· Parents are encouraged to help out on the ice as assistant instructors

· Instructors are encouraged to participate in an 8 hour IP certification course. Certified Instructors can then move on to instruct or coach at a higher level

Emphasizing fun in each session

· Players are having fun, while learning the skills

· Each session ends in a game time, where the players have unstructured fun time, whether it be “pond hockey” or “pylon coaches” or “British bulldog”

We are teaching our players the skills of hockey, before they become involved in the pressures and competitiveness of a hockey game! Most of our instructors are IP certified and many are former TMHI players themselves who have several years of hockey experience and are excited to share their love of hockey with our young hockey players.

We always welcome your questions and comments. For further information, please contact your IP Convenor: 

The Levels

Instead of using age, Tillsonburg Minor Hockey’s Initiation Program recognizes the patterns and stages of growth and development and measures a player by his or her level of development. Simply put, a player’s progression is based on age and ability. A beginner may still a beginner whether he or she is 4 years old or 7.


This is our beginner level. As a 4 or 5 year old, or as a new player, beginner players skate for 2 hours per week. IP sessions are organized to suit the needs of the player, where they are grouped by skill level and age in a low pressure situation. Our main focus here is to develop balance and agility as well as a great attitude. Later on, players will learn basic skills such as stopping, turning and puck control. Each session ends with a semi-structured game, whether it be pond hockey or maybe British bulldog. Fun is the underlying goal here and all Tillsonburg hockey players start as a Beginner.

U6 & U7

This year we are introducing a new group to our IP program, the Junior Tykes. As a graduate of CHIP 1 or Beginner, Junior Tyke players are generally in their second or third year of hockey and may play a one hour “learning game” and a one hour IP session per week. The “learning game” is a half ice game designed to introduce the player to a hockey game without the pressures of official rules and over competitiveness. Our aim here is to teach basic positional play and face-offs as well as safety and team participation.


As a graduate of the Junior Tyke program, players in their third or fourth year of hockey play on one of our Tyke teams. The Tyke teams are generally comprised of some players in their third year of hockey, but mostly players in their fourth year of hockey. Tykes have 2 hours of hockey per week to continue to develop skills and positional play, face offs, off sides etc.  This format continues until the end of December.   Exhibition games are then arranged with communities in the area (Langton, Delhi, Simcoe etc.). Tyke teams may also participate in 1-2 tournaments.

FrequentlyAsked Questions

My player has never skated before, can she still participate?
Absolutely.  Our Beginner Program is designed to introduce them to skating and hockey.

My player can already skate, where should I put him?
All new players should start as a Beginner, regardless of their experience. It is important for your player’s development to learn the skills of the first level before he moves on. Again, we have sessions for more advanced players.

My player is 7 years old and just a beginner, where should she be?
A beginner is still a beginner whether she is 4 or 7. We always have several older players in CHIP (Canadian Hockey Initiation Program) and this is the best way to introduce them to hockey. Eventually they get caught up to their age group.

I am a new hockey parent, how do I learn?
We were all new at one point. The Initiation Program offers every parent an orientation session designed to teach the new hockey parent about the IP, equipment and safety. All parents of players 7 and under will be required to attend a parent information session to be held in September, prior to the beginning of the season.

I think my player is much more advanced than the other players. Can he play in a higher level?
As Certified Instructors, we are trained to evaluate skill and in most cases, in a better position to make that call. Your player may be missing some very important skill training if he skips a level and it can be very detrimental to a player’s development if he plays at a level beyond his capabilities.

Why don’t they play “real” games?
A player must learn the skills of hockey before putting them into practice. Putting a player into a high-pressure situation such as an official game may be too stressful. We have found that introducing the players slowly to games is best for all players regardless of skill level. Remember, a player develops her skills in practice, not in games.