In the spring of 2017 Hockey Canada announced the following with regards to Initiation and Novice hockey across Canada:

  • All Initiation hockey will be played ½ (cross) ice effective the 2017-18 season
  • In 2019/20 season, it will be mandatory that all games at the Novice level of hockey under the Hockey Canada umbrella be played in a ½ ice format

In preparation for the 2019/20 season, Hockey Calgary and our member Associations implemented a transition plan for the 2018/19 to best serve the Hockey Calgary membership. Following the 2018/19 season, a review was conducted and after much deliberation and discussion the Operations Council (Presidents of all Associations) has recommended the following plan for the 2019/20 season. This has subsequently been approved by the HC Board of Directors.


  1. Implement a combined 2-Year Age Category 2019/20 season.
  2. The combined age category of Novice will operate with a 4-Tier structure and will continue regionally with North and South divisions.
  3. All players (2011 & 2012) will play in a ½ ice hockey environment similar to the Minor Novice structure from the 2018/19 season. Topline structure of the game format will remain as follows:
    • Only 2 teams will be scheduled per each game slot
    • Teams will play split squad, ½ at each end
    • Games will be played 4 on 4 (plus goalies)
    • Line changes will be on the buzzer (90 sec)
    • No off-sides, no icings
    • 1 official at each end
    • Blue Puck
    • Small Nets (3’x4’), if available
    • Hard Boards, if available
    • No statistics or scores will be posted


  1. Continue with single year age categories of Jr. Timbits (2014 born players) and Sr. Timbits (2013 born players).
  2. All Timbit games (Exhibition and Tournament) hosted by a Hockey Calgary team will be played in a cross-ice hockey environment (boards to boards, blue-line down) for the 2019/20 season. Teams will be permitted to participate in other tournament games played in a ½ ice environment.
  3. Similar to Novice, rosters will be sized (17-19) and games will be played split squad. Topline structure of the game format will be as follows:
    • 2 or 3 teams each per game slot

i. 2 Teams – the neutral zone (between the blue lines) will be used as a developmental zone for coaches to work with players between shifts.

ii. 3 Teams – the neutral zone (between the blue lines) will be used as a 3rd gameplay surface.

    • Bumpers will be split between blue lines
    • Teams will play split squad
    • Games will be played 4 on 4 (plus goalies with no equipment)
    • Line changes will be on the buzzer (90 sec)
    • No off-sides, no icings
    • No officials
    • Blue Pucks

We are aware that there may be much debate in the hockey community regarding these changes, but the leaders within Hockey Calgary feel that this is the best course of action moving forward for all involved. There will be many more details to follow and a new ‘Novice Development Guide’ and ‘Timbit Operations Manual’ will be developed over the summer months.

We thank you in advance for your support of these modifications. Change is never easy but it is often necessary if we hope to improve the state of the game within Hockey Calgary. We look forward to another exciting season in 2019-20.

See you at the rink!!


Jamie Henry
Manager, Development & Hockey Operations
Hockey Calgary