Dear North Toronto Hockey families,
As the summer winds down, we all start looking forward towards the new beginnings that Fall brings – the return to school, new routines and, of course, hockey! Whether you’re returning to North Toronto or are joining us for the first time, I want to welcome you to our community’s home for hockey – the North Toronto Hockey Association.
For over 50 years, the NTHA has provided many thousands of players with what we consider to be one of the most complete and high-quality minor hockey development programs in the country. We have well over 1,000 players registered in our programs including: Learn to Play, House League, 20 CDS and Select teams. NT is also one of the very few clubs in the GTHL to offer a full slate of 18 “A” and “AA” teams across all age divisions! Our mission is to provide every one of those players with a safe, fun environment to learn, play and compete in ice hockey using best practices and strategic partnerships to promote a life-long love of hockey and participation in sport.
This is an exciting time for our hockey club as we continue to implement the Hockey Canada Initiation Program guidelines into our House League and competitive programs for our younger players. While the most visible aspect of these changes involves the use of cross-ice and half-ice configurations, it’s the non-visible benefits to players that really merit attention. Modified-ice practices and game play dramatically increase player participation in hockey on all measures such as skating (acceleration, balance, turning, stopping), puck handling (carrying, passing, shooting), and hockey I.Q (reading, reacting, creativity and contact). And it’s just more fun with more ice time, more goals, and fewer stoppages in play.
Introduced just last season, our new Competitive Development Stream program is a resounding success and will be significantly expanded to include teams from the Scarborough Hockey Association and Don Mills Civitan House League. We now have a Novice division and the total number of teams has more than doubled from seventeen last year to thirty-six this season. Developed and run in partnership with our neighbor clubs, we offer competitive-minded 6-8 year-old players with all the benefits of the Initiation Programming outlined above with the benefits of playing exclusively on rinks within our local Toronto communities.
Many of you will also notice a few upgrades to our House League program including new uniform designs, an expanded music program and special events and activities throughout the season.
Absolutely none of this programming would be possible without the dedication and commitment of our community volunteers. Whether on the Board, the bench or behind-the-scenes, please take a moment to thank your coach or manager or convenor for the amazing work they do. And I hope you continue to enjoy the pleasures of Toronto’s very best home rink (and hot dogs!) -- the venerable North Toronto Arena managed by Eric Anweiler and his capable staff.
I hope this hockey season brings you and your family lots of fun, excitement and new connections to the people in your hockey club.
President, North Toronto Hockey Association