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Learn to Play Hockey

Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH) Fact Sheet

USA Hockey online brochure, a "must see":   Come Play Youth Hockey 

The objective of LTPH is to help a youngster progress through four stages of proficiency, in a fun and safe environment, in order to prepare them for XICE or House programs.   Past graduates of the LTPH program may enroll for a second season but are encouraged to step up to the age dependent "Mini mite" or "Mite" program for additional ice time each week and faster development.

  • Stage 1: Skating while pushing a chair, getting back to one's feet from the ice.
  • Stage 2: Independent skating in a forward direction, initial refinement of skating stride.
  • Stage 3 (ready for Minimites or Mites): Basic hockey-oriented skating – intro to backward skating, turning, and hockey stop; continued refinement of forward skating stride.
  • Stage 4 (ready for Minimite or Mites): Basic stick-and-puck skills (i.e. puck handling, sweep passes)

If your player can already perform all of these skills, they are likely to find LTPH a little too easy, and are probably better suited for their Mini-mite or Mite age group (or Squirts, Peewees, and so on).  

Skaters may begin LTPH at any of the four stages, and proceed at their own pace. Young skaters may take multiple seasons to progress through the four stages and they can move up from LTPH to more advanced programs at any time, paying the pro-rated program fee. 

LTPH has a minimum age of 4 and no upper age limit. The average age of participants is typically between 4 and 7 years old.   


LTPH is usually Sunday mornings around 9 or 10, beginning in late October or early November.  Specific date and time of LTPH events will be listed on the MASTER SCHEDULE tab of the website. (All MCYH events are subject to change from week to week, and on short notice – double checking the schedule the morning-of is always a good idea.) 

Equipment requirements

Because some kids will be using sticks and pucks - and because ice is hard! - we require all players to wear full hockey protective gear. The complete list can be found on the “Player Equipment Requirements” tab of our web site.

Kid's name on helmet
We will provide a printed label for each registered child. 

Parents on the ice It is required that parents become a USA Hockey certified coach to assist on the ice and we welcome all parents who can skate to do so. Details can be found on the Coaching Requirements tab of the website. Note that several of the criteria require advance registration and attendance of a certification class; please plan well ahead.

No parents on the bench
Only coaches and players are allowed on the bench. 

At least one parent or guardian must stay in the stands while their child is skating
Children will occasionally get tired, frustrated or hurt before the hour is up, and it is important that someone be there to receive them from the coaches.

Dressing your player at home

Bowdoin locker rooms were not designed for the large numbers of LTPH skaters and parents that converge upon them. You are highly encouraged to dress your player at home to the greatest extent possible. 

Staying informed

Watch for news items on the web site home page, and also on the LTPH subsection of the site

Below is all you need to know about the programs: what to expect, registration, equipment needs and volunteer coaching. If you have questions not answered here, please send me an email.


  • Minimum age 4 years old by December 31, 2018 (Birth year 2014)
  • The average age varies from 4-7 years and we often accommodate new skaters who would normally be in the older divisions to help them get started.
  • LTPH is designed for players brand new to hockey who may or may not even be able to stand up on skates. For those having difficulty standing up on skates for the first few weeks, we will have chairs available for them to push around on the ice. Our goal is to be “chair-free” by the mid-way point of the fall session.

Please register for “LTPH”. Coaches will make any adjustments to groupings on the ice based on numbers and skill levels of the players.

If your child is at least 5 years old, is ready to practice two or more times a week, has mastered the basic skating skills and is ready for a more challenging environment, he or she may be ready for Mini-mites or Mites.

What to Expect on the Ice

The goal of” LTPH” is for the players to learn hockey in a fun atmosphere . We follow USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) which is designed for larger groups of players on the ice, with more “stations” (skill-building centers), more movement in each station and less waiting around. For more information about ADM, please go to  The Learn To Play Hockey program adopted ADM last season and the feedback from parents and players was very positive.

As skaters progress, a variety of games and activities designed to teach different skill are incorporated and later in the season we will move into cross-ice hockey games.


You are required to pre-register online for Midcoast Youth Hockey Programs. To register, use the "Online Registration" link (in the left-hand sidebar) and follow the directions. 

Please note: LTPH will be offered FREE to first year participants in 2018-19 as a means to offset the cost of equipment for the first year. The cost for returning LTPH skaters in 2018-19 is $200 and second year skaters are highly encouraged to move to the mini-mite program, plus a one-time $50 fee from USA Hockey for its mandatory enrollment. Note: USA Hockey enrollment is FREE (but still required) for 6 and under (birth year 2014).

Volunteers and Coaches Wanted

Our program would not be possible without our volunteer coaches! Parents with hockey backgrounds are encouraged to help out on the ice. Please email the Coaching Director  if you are interested in volunteering your time and skill on the ice. Please also indicate your willingness to help coach or volunteer off-ice as well on the registration form for your child. Please make sure to contact the Coaching Director and get approval to coach before paying registration fees. Then, the only things you'll need are the ability to skate and a good attitude (plus skates, stick, and a helmet). 

More information about coaching clinics will follow and please see the coaching requirements tab of the midcoast website.

Equipment - What will they need?

Hockey Equipment / Preparation at Home:
Because some kids will be using sticks and pucks - and because ice is hard! - We require all players to wear full hockey protective gear. 

Selection of hockey equipment is an important step for players, parents and coaches. Shop early for a good selection of new or used hockey equipment! When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors: 1) make certain the player is adequately protected and 2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills. By carefully considering these two factors, your child will be more comfortable and will better enjoy their participation. 

Required Equipment

  1. Helmet with face mask and straps. (When buying used, check the "expiration date" sticker on the back of the helmet and ensure it is still valid.)
  2. Neck guard: Midcoast Hockey requires all players in all divisions to wear protective neck guards.
  3. Mouth guard
  4. Shoulder pads
  5. Elbow pads
  6. Gloves
  7. Protective pants
  8. Groin protection (boys and girls)
  9. Hockey-specific shin pads with integrated knee pads
  10. Skates 
  11. Hockey stick (optional for LTPH - when they are ready for it). Proper length is determined by holding a stick straight up and down in front of the player. As a rule of thumb, the stick should reach from the ground to the player's chin (for a player in skates), or from the ground to the player's nose (for a player in shoes). Until a young player knows if they will play right or left handed, a flat blade is best. Once they find the side that feels natural to them, a minimally curved blade should be introduced. 
  12. Names on Helmets - Micoast Youth hockey will supply a label for the front of every players helmet


  • Skates must fit very snugly in order to provide support. Foot socks should not be a thick, heavy material, as such would inhibit the foots ability to directly control the skate. 
  • Skate blades must be kept sharp - even for beginning skaters. A professional sharpening is typically required after 5-10 hours of rink skating, more frequently if skating outside.
  • Hockey socks held up by hockey undershorts with velcro or a garter belt and should be secured with a strip of tape or two around each shin pad to keep the shin pads from moving all around. Don’t turn your skater loose without hockey socks over their pads as the plastic pads are very slippery and will be a distinct disadvantage to a new skater!
  • Hockey pants should be tightly secured around the waste with a belt (and old skate lace will do) or a pair of hockey suspenders.
  • Hockey sticks are optional for the chair skaters, but they will want one to use sooner than later. Measure and cut the length of the stick at their nose (with skates off). A straight blade stick (no curve) is best for a new skater to allow them to find their natural side.

Locker Rooms:

  • Please arrive at least 30 minutes before ice time on the first day and check in at the main lobby of the hockey rink. Payment is required at the time of registration.
  • Space in the locker rooms is very limited. Please arrive with your skater fully dressed for hockey, if at all possible (except for skates, gloves and helmets which can be put on at the rink).
  • Practice putting on ALL of the equipment at home several days in advance of the first skate. You might have your child put on skates and walk around on the carpet at home to get a feel for them. If you need help at the rink, coaches or seasoned parents can help you figure out the equipment and will be glad to help.
  • Visit the potty! A bathroom break means we need to track you down in the stands and is time consuming with lots of hockey equipment to deal with – please plan accordingly.
  • To manage the expected locker room congestion, please minimize your time in the locker rooms and avoid brining your entire family into the locker room if possible. Once your player is ready to skate, pack all of your extras into a bag so they won’t get lost and another skater can make use of the space. It is wise to label each piece of hockey gear with a name!

On the Ice

Parents MUST remain at the rink and should remain attentive to their child on the ice in the event we need to track you down with a tired skater, bathroom break etc. Parents are NOT allowed to stay on the player’s bench and coaches will do their best to make timid skaters feel comfortable.

Remember to check the LTPH section of the website weekly for updates.

Please plan to be available for a brief parents meeting during the first session in the corner bleachers at the top of the stairs. Now, with that out of the way, let’s have some fun!