Active for Life: Hockey

Active for Life is a national initiative about physical literacy.

We provide information, advice, and resources for parents who want to raise active and successful kids. Being physically literate helps children to be better hockey players, and better athletes.

Here are our key articles about hockey and physical literacy:

Brent Sutter thinks we need a ‘new normal’ for Canadian kids’ hockey; he’s right

Brent Sutter, coach of Canada’s hockey team at the 2013 World Junior Championship, thinks kids’ hockey needs to get back to the basics.


How my kids are like Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and other hockey greats have suggested that year-round hockey might not be good for young players. Playing a variety of sports and developing overall athleticism is acknowledged as best for young players, and a path to elite levels of hockey.


Will Canadian parents speak up for quality hockey programs?

Parents are essential for minor hockey in Canada. And they are in a position to improve the game from the grassroots up.


Why specializing early in one sport is a bad idea

Athlete and sport specialization is a hot topic in long term athlete development for parents who want to pressure their children to become superstar professional athletes, but they should look at late specialization, sport sampling and early diversification rather than early specialization in sport.


Hockey Canada’s top 5 “off-ice” sports and activities to help goalies get better

To enable peak performance, hockey goalies are advised to develop a range of athletic abilities in other sports and activities, including yoga, gymnastics, and racquet sports.


Hockey Canada’s top 6 “off-ice” sports and activities to help hockey players get better

To ensure your child reaches their potential in hockey or other sports, and also develops his or her maximum physical and mental potential, make sure that they develop both physical literacy and a range of athletic abilities.


My role as a minor hockey coach: developing athletic players

Encouraging 9- and 10-year-old kids to play other sports during the off-season will not only make them better hockey players, but also help to prevent overuse injuries and burn out.


If you’re raising a child athlete, think long-term

The Long-Term Athlete Development model was created to ensure that sport and activities for kids are developmentally appropriate according to maturation during child development. A key part of LTAD is physical literacy, and child physical literacy should be developed by the onset of the growth spurt.


Are complete athletes the best hockey players?

Nearly three-quarters of the players on Canada’s 2012 National Junior hockey team played a variety of sports while growing up. On average, they didn’t specialize in hockey until age 14.


Canadian hockey in crisis? Ontario Minor Hockey looks at skills

Ontario Minor Hockey Association has created new hockey skills development programs designed to address challenges of hockey long-term player development (LTPD) in the youth hockey ranks similar to the issues that Brent Sutter has raised about skills learning.


Brent Sutter

Brent Sutter: True athletes make the best hockey players

NHL veteran Brent Sutter believes that kids who specialize in one sport too early hinder their development and limit opportunities to succeed. He emphasizes that true athletes remain active in a variety of sports.


NHL star Vincent Lecavalier walks a tightrope

Vincent Lecavalier, NHL star and captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, shows kids how to do a tightrope activity, which teaches balance, one of the fundamental movement skills. It can help children become physically literate.


Bobby Orr talks about what young hockey players need and deserve

Legendary hockey player Bobby Orr stresses the responsibility we all have in shaping a positive experience for kids, not just in hockey, but in other sports and activities as well.


Improving kids’ hockey: More players, better skills

Hockey Canada’s Corey McNabb talks about hockey skills development and spring hockey in the context of youth playoff hockey, and how playoffs affect developing skills during kids hockey season and pre-season.

Parents screaming in the stands? Here’s what you can do

Respect Group delivers the Respect in Sport programs to teach parents and coaches how to behave with kids during kids sports and kids activities.

‘Selling the Dream’ shows parents why kids hockey should stay fun

The strength of the Ken Campbell book, Selling the Dream, is the real-life stories gathered by the authors that document families who uprooted their lives in the pursuit of a mythical hockey career that was far from guaranteed.

Hockey’s lighter side: No apple juice, please

It’s important to keep youth sports in perspective and remember that the enjoyment of playing the game ― and the fun stuff that goes with it ― is the most important thing.

Confessions of a hockey dad: Spring hockey

The decision to let young kids play spring hockey is not an easy one to make. Rob Klovance weighs the pros and cons and ultimately decides to find the positives in spring hockey.

Young hockey players in a face off

Six-year-old invited for select hockey

A parent asks if it’s a good idea for young kids to be on the ice 4 times a week, and Active for Life’s experts have the answer.

What do you think?