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MITES (age 8 & Under) -Updated for 2011-2012
Hanover Hockey Association, at the March, 2011 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. 
Contact for additional info and questions:


      Rob Seelig, Initiation Programs Committee Chair 603-640-2202

Tim Gardner, Initiation Programs Committee

WILD MITES - House League 
Eligibility and Overview:
Players ages 6-8 as of December 31 of the current season (NEW minimum age for 2011-12) who have played one year in the LTPW program are eligible for Wild Mites (WM), which is a developmental House (local) Mite program. Players ages 4-8 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. The 2010-11 season had four teams in the Wild Mite Program.

The season begins in mid-to-late October. The majority of the skates will be at either 7am or at 910am at Campion Rink in Hanover on Saturdays and Sundays. Later in the season, there may also be a handful of midweek practices. 
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.

Cost: The fee is $325 for the season (2010-11 rate), and includes a team jersey.

TRAVEL MITES- Full Ice and Half Ice (new for 2011)
Eligibility and Overview:  Players age 7-8 (as of Dec. 31) who have played at least one full season with the Wild Mites are eligible to try out for Travel Mites.
Players who are 6 years old (as of Dec. 31), and have played a full season of  Wild Mites, may petition the HHA Board to try out for Travel Mites as would any player who wanted to play up with an older team. As of September, 2009 approval is based on HHA's existing process for player petitions that is guided by achieving the right balance of registration numbers.  

For the 2011-2012 season, the New Hampshire Amateur Hockey Association (NHAHA) is only allowing each Association to enter ONE full ice travel team into the Granite State League (HHA has fielded two in past years).   Season will start October 14 (including tryouts if needed) and will practice on avarge twice during the week and have two games on the weekends.  Anticipated away League games in NH will be no closer than Concord and many will be in the southern part of the state.  Players will be expected to attend practices and games and the team will be operated similar to past years. While this is a competitive travel team, it is guided by all HHA policies on equal ice time and play. 
Should registrations  for this Full Ice travel team exceed a reasonable number of players that the Mite travel teams can accommodate (as guided by HHA's recommended team size and coach input), then players not selected for a travel team during tryouts will have a place on either the Mite White half-ice travel team or the Wild Mite house program.  

Season will start October 22 and the team will usually practice two times per week (generally on weekday afternoons/evenings) and have 1-2 games/practices on the weekends.  As this will be a team desinged to play Half Ice games, team size will be larger (16-20 players).  Should tryouts be required, they will be held on or after October 22.  Players not placed on this team wil l have a spot on a Wild Mite team.  Travel for games will generally be no further than Manchester, NH and Barre/Rutland, VT. 
THis team will be desinged for players who are ready to make the jump from Wild Mites, but are not ready for the Mite Green level in its skill or travel.  The team will play half-ice games with four skaters and a goalie.  While core fundamentals will be heavily stressed, there will be significantly more emphssis on team and positional play.  THis will be geared towrds players who may be interested in moving to the Mite Green team or to the next age level (Squirts) in the following year.  During the later part of the season, the concepts of full-ice hockey will be introduced. 
The team may go to a couple Jamborees/tournaments during the season, which could involve an overnight stay on a weekend (HHA covers the cost of one tournament, and families cover the cost of additional tournaments that the team decides to attend).  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.