Anchorage Hockey Association considers expanding rules for shorter ice
Seven-year-old Max Hollenbeck makes it look easy to be on the ice. He plays in the 8U division of the Anchorage Hockey Association.
Games are played on half-ice, that's something Hollenbeck's grandfather likes.
"These kids need to learn how to skate, first and foremost, so, if they skate on little up to the time they are 10 or 11, then they move up to big ice, it's going to be easy," says Andy Kriner.
League operators disagree.
"Full ice service is for the NHL, for adults," said AHA Coaching Director Barrett Heisten.
Players, like Hollenbeck, move up to full ice when they join a 10U team -- that may change. The hockey association is considering a plan to keep all 10U divisions around Alaska on half ice, starting this fall. Coaches say full ice poses several problems for players at that age.
"It's not going to translate when he gets older, when he, his teammates get bigger, but, the rink doesn't. He needs to learn to make quick decisions in a small area, and that's what we're trying to do," said Heisten.
However, half ice does have its advantages.
"It's more for the development standpoint, the kids are going to be on the ice, they're going to be around the puck more, they're going to pass the puck more, they're going to get more shots," adds Heisten, by possibly keeping very young players on a smaller rink for a little longer.
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