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MITES (age 8 & Under as of December 31)

Hanover Hockey Association, at the March, 2012 Board meeting, approved a slate of changes and updates for the Mite age level.  This is in coordination with USA Hockey (USAH), who is working to implement the American Development Model (for more info about ADM goto  http://www.admkids.com/), and the New Hampshire Amateur Hockey Association (NHAHA).  This includes changes to ages, schedules, game formats and practices.  A summary is below. 

WILD MITES - House League 
 

Eligibility and Overview:
Players ages 6-8 as of December 31 for the current season, who have played one year in the LTPW program, are eligible for Wild Mites (WM).  This a developmental House (local) Mite program. Players ages 4-8 (as of December 31) with no organized hockey experience must register first with the Learn To Play Wild (LTPW) Initiation Program. The WM program is important to player development as skating and puck skills are taught and reinforced while the fundamental elements of team/positional play, rules and games are learned. The program is designed so that players can spend multiple years in Wild Mites and it is recommended that players 8 and under consider a second year in the Wild Mite program before moving to travel hockey. The WM program starts with a clinic-style pre-season followed by a team season including team practices, games between the HHA Wild Mite teams, and some games between Hanover teams and house mite teams from other local associations. These games will be half-ice games with four skaters on a side and goalies. Wild Mite Program plans to have four teams within the program this year.

Schedule: 
The season begins on Saturday, October 29 at 9:10 AM at Campion Rink. Very important that players arrive early on the first day to receive their team jersey and to have enough time to get ready.  While attendance at all practices is strongly encouraged, Hanover Hockey encourages young players to try other sports and activities. So if a player will miss a practice or game, all HHA asks is that the player (or parent) notifies the coach in advance. 

Program Focus and management: The Initiation Programs (LTPW and Wild Mites) are designed to introduce children to the sport of hockey while developing skating, puck handling (such as passing, receiving, shooting , etc...), and team skills. There is also an emphasis on learning about hockey and having fun in a team-oriented environment.
A committee of HHA Board members and coaches from this level provide oversight and management for Learn To Play and Wild Mites.

TRAVEL MITES
Eligibility
To be eligible to participate a player must be age 7 (by December 31) and have completed at least one full year of House Mites.
 
Teams
All travel mites will start the season together and there will not be Mite Green or Mite White designations initially. After the Thanksgiving Holiday, the coaches, and possibly an outside evaluator, may divide the players into Green and White teams based on each player’s development stage and ability.  If the total number of travel mite players is not large enough there will only be one team.
 
Season, Practices and Games

Travel Mites will play a 5-month season that will begin in early-October and conclude at the end of February or in early March.  Teams will usually have one or two station-based or skills practices a week, a practice on Sundays and either a game or practice on Saturday.  The focus of travel mites is roughly 85% on individual skill improvement and 15% on hockey sense through small area games.  For the 2016-2017 season, because of low numbers at 8U in HHA, travel mites will practice on Sundays with House Mites in a station based practice in order to provide a wider exposure to skills & games with more skaters on the ice.  Saturdays will either be a game or a practice with House Mites.  During these combined practices, the older/more skilled players will be grouped together and participate in more challenging drills.  The weekday practice(s) will be either separate as travel mites or shared with squirt teams as part of a skills practice.
 

The travel mites will be divided into balanced teams (if numbers allow) and will play half-ice games throughout the season against appropriate competition.  Every attempt will be made to schedule games against local competition (Twin Valley, Pleasant Valley, Woodstock, Barre and Rutland) however in prior years the quality of competition has necessitated traveling to Manchester or Concord where the competition level matches the team. 

 
Travel mites may go to several Jamborees/tournaments during the season, which could involve an overnight stay on a weekend (HHA covers the entry fee for one tournament, and families cover the cost of additional tournaments that the team decides to attend).  In 2015-2016, there was an optional tournament at Thanksgiving (paid entirely by the team) and an end of season tournament (HHA paid entry fee) both in Burlington, VT.  These tournaments provide an opportunity for many games against well matched competition.
 
Finally, the commitment to Travel Mites is a step up from Wild Mites not only in the frequency of skating but also in the expectation that kids (and families) will attend practices and games as they are truly part of a team that depends on them.