Little Devils - Learn to Play Hockey program is considered one of the best learn to play programs in Massachusetts.
Our hockey skill development sessions follow the American Development Model designed by USA Hockey. For more information on the American Development Model visit ADM Kids. One thing you will notice over the course of the season is that we don't play full ice games and I suspect you might wonder why. The reason is because small area games enable each player to get much more involved. The playing surface is smaller, helping players to develop key skills like turning, starting, stopping, keeping their head up, shooting, and passing. Remember, our players range from 4-8 years of age. A player that is always involved will have a lot more fun, learn a lot more, and develop quicker.
One of the reasons that the program is so successful is because of the help receive from all of the parents. Ice time is expensive and limited so we try to maximize the time the kids have on the ice by preparing in advance for each practice. As a result, there is a lot of work that gets done in a short period of time to ensure that our players get the most out of every minute of ice time. If you are interested in helping on the ice please register as a volunteer here. For those who would prefer to help off ice, each week we need help moving equipment like bumper pads on and off the ice.
There are 3 rules we stress as coaches throughout the Little Devils program. First and foremost, every little devil must be having FUN. Second, every little devil must FOCUS and PAY ATTENTION so they get the most out of each game, and third, every little devil must be SAFE - that means keeping their head up and their stick down.
Below are 10 tips/suggestions to help answer some common questions in preparation for a great season:
Full hockey gear is required - a helmet, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pants, athletic supporter with cup and attachment for socks, knee pads, hockey socks, skates, a hockey stick, and a practice shirt for now. One tip for those packing your gear, always pack it either head to toe or toe to head and together - put both skates in the bag together, both knee pads, both socks, both gloves, etc. - this will help you minimize the likelihood you will forget something.
There is a “learn to play” hockey equipment package offered by Pure Hockey. If you purchase a "learn to play" package from Pure Hockey the package typically does not include a shirt, hockey socks or athletic supporter with cup. Please make sure you have these items in addition to the other gear included in the package. SMS team jerseys will be given out between weeks 3-5 once we complete evaluations to assign teams.
Please put your child's first name and last initial on the front of their helmet. This is best accomplished by taking a short piece of white hockey tape and marker. It is also a good idea to label your child's equipment. The locker rooms become crowded and much of the gear looks similar.
I encourage you to try to arrive a half hour early to each session and to give yourself extra time the first few weeks especially if hockey is new to you. If you have any questions please reach out to someone in the locker room for help.
Help is always appreciated. I would encourage those parents who have been involved with hockey and the little devils program to lend a helping hand to the other parents once we get to the rink. The first two weeks are always a bit hectic and a little help goes a long way.
Get your players skates sharpened prior to week one and at least once every 4-6 weeks. At their age they do not weigh much, so sharp skates make a huge difference.
If you are not sure what length a players stick should be, hold the stick straight up and down, with the stick blade touching the ground/ice. The top of the stick, or the knob, should be at or an inch above their nose with skates off and between their chin and nose with skates on.
We try our best to give all players attention and we are thankful to have many volunteers coaching. Please remember that no player yet has graduated from the program and signed an NHL contract the following year. This program is designed to create a FUN, SAFE environment for young players to enjoy the game of hockey and develop the skills necessary to move to the next level.
If your player(s) are unable to attend a session, it is not necessary to notify the coordinator as we do not take attendance.
If a coach is unable to attend, it would be greatly appreciates if you could let the coordinator know so that there will be enough coaches to help on the ice.
Sessions around holidays often do change. Please check the SMS web site for updates and the coordinator will also try to keep you informed of schedule changes in advance.
If you know anyone else who might be interested in the program, please encourage them to register soon. Each year, most of our registrations come via referrals from past participants.