KYHA’s Learn to Play program is for those skaters aged 4-10 years old who are interested in trying hockey on a small scale before committing to a full season/team.
KYHA's LTP is run by one of the best coaches in STL, Todd Brereton.
Todd uses the principles of the American Development Model (ADM) where the players are rotated though small group stations to master specific skills.
Each player will receive a KYHA LTP jersey at the beginning of the session
and a medal upon completion.
Kirkwood LTP is open to children residing in the following zip codes: 63021, 63088, 63122, 63011, 63131, 63019, 63026, 63028 who have not previously been on a full season team.
First of all to love hockey, meaning the kids are having fun and everyone found it a worthwhile endeavor. Your child will master the basics: skating with proper technique/balance, stopping - “snowplows” for the beginners or directional for the more advanced, tight turns and moving with the puck.
The kids will learn to be disciplined – skates and sticks can be dangerous. We want the kids to realize that safety comes from using them properly. You will note we don’t talk about passing or shooting or even team play. We will touch on some of those things because that’s what kids expect to do when they play hockey, but they aren’t the priority at this stage. We will use games like "freeze tag" and "simon says" to reinforce good fundamental skills like lateral movement and listening.
KYHA offers a Winter and a Summer Learn to Play.
The Winter session begins in January with registration open on the website in November.
Summer LTP is held in June and July with registration posted in April.
LTP is designed as an introduction to hockey
- just so players get a chance to see if they like the sport.
Once graduated from LTP, players are ready to continue their learning on teams.
**If there is not an LTP available, consider keeping your child on the ice with skating lessons and local hockey camps. A great resource for camps and private lessons can be found on the KYHA Sponsors page.
Your child is ready when you feel they can participate
in a 45 minute on-ice session once a week.
Your child will also need to skate the full width of the rink unassisted or has completed the equvilant of "Snow Plow Sam 2".
If your child isn't quite able to accomplish these items then look into skating lessons by visiting:
SKATES: Hockey skates fit, generally, 1.5 sizes below your child's shoe size. Do not be tempted to get them big 'to grow into'-it will impede their
skating. KYHA will not have skate rental open during LTP.
HELMET: Helmets should fit just above the eyebrows. Don’t worry if it isn’t red as is stated on the website. When they grow out of this one, you can purchase a red one next time. Chin should fit comfortably into cup of facemask. Should not have any pressure points from pads. Adjustable even within sizes with screwdriver.
SHOULDER PADS: Shoulders should fit directly into shoulder caps without adjustments or straps. When lifting arms, pads should not dig into the neck of the player as this may cause injury. Arm pads should extend to just above the elbow, slightly covering the elbow pad, to ensure full protection. Actually, the cheaper ones are better at this age – ones with little/no molded plastic – so as not to restrict motion.
ELBOW PADS: With elbow in cup of pad, bottom should extend to top of glove cuff. Check that straps do not cut off circulation. Gloves: Try a pair out while gripping a stick. Fingers shouldn’t swim, but shouldn’t be snug either. Have your child drop their hands from their shoulders to their sides in a quick motion. The gloves shouldn’t fall off. Sliding down a little bit is okay.
HOCKEY STICK: Have your child pick one up off the ground several times and observe their hands - one will eventually consistently wind up on the bottom (closer to the blade). This is their dominant hand. You want a stick that curves away from this hand. Example: if their right hand is on the bottom, they are considered right-handed. When the blade is on the ground, it should curve toward their left side. Cut down the end of stick to the bottom of their nose in street shoes or at chin height when on tiptoes (to simulate skates). The front of the blade (the toe) should be on the ground and the stick vertical when you take this measurement.
PANTS: Fit according to waist size; should not be tight. Bottom of leg should extend over shin guard by .5” or 1”, coming to the top of their kneecap when standing straight up.
SHIN GUARDS: If possible, put on their skates in order to get the proper length of the shin pad. The cap of the shin pad should be centered on the kneecap. The bottom of the pad should barely overlap the skate tongue. If the pad is too short, it leaves an unprotected area above the skate. If the pad is too long, it will prohibit their leg from flexing forward at the ankle and create discomfort for the player. Leg flexion is critical for proper skating form.
JOCK SHORTS: Jock shorts are great – well worth it in terms of time savings. They are more comfortable and have velcro garters which hold up the hockey socks. Sizing is according to waist size.
JERSEYS: We will provide one at the first practice. If you aren’t at the first one, we will have them available at the second class as well. Mouthpiece: There are all types. Choose based on size/age of your player. Follow directions if any moulding needed.
NECK GUARD: It is something that is a requirement as your player moves forward. It is best to start now. Some Under Armour-type shirts made for hockey players have them built in now, as well.
St.Louis' Pure Hockey, also offers this list of beginner equipment at competative prices: