USA Hockey and AYHL promote a developmental environment in which children between the ages of 6 - 8 can learn the basic skills of hockey (children age 5 can participate but will need a referral from a skating instructor). Players in the 8U Mite program are evaluated and divided into 3 levels for practice and competitive purposes: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
At this age, participants learn physical literacy and the interrelationship between movement skills and sport skills. Specifically, players are taught the foundation of athletic development (the ABCs): agility, balance, coordination, and speed. Players are taught agility, quickness and change of direction in quick bursts (less than 5 seconds in duration) in fun activities both on and off the ice. The development of athletic suppleness also occurs during this stage. Suppleness refers to flexibility and range of motion in muscles and joints. The basic athletic and hockey skill development for 8U Mites is well structured, positive, and performed in a FUN and social environment. The program is features proper progression, and is monitored consistently to help ensure players gain physical literacy and confidence.
The objective of the “FUNdamental” stage is to develop on-ice balance, coordination, agility, and speed. The outcome goal is that participants enjoy being at the rink and want to be playing hockey. Lessons are varied and interesting; the overriding goal is that all participants leave the ice with a smile. Emphasis is placed on developing speed, power and endurance using activity-based, small area and cross ice games. Basic flexibility exercises are introduced, and strength training is included utilizing the child’s own body weight. Players are also encouraged to participate in numerous other activities. To properly develop necessary physical literacy skills, it is recommended to play several other complimentary sports at this stage of athletic development.
Michele Amidon returns to lead the Arapahoe Mite program in 2020-21. Michele was a standout in both soccer and ice hockey at St. Lawrence University and was captain and Most Valuable Player of both teams. In 1992 she won a silver medal as a member of the US Women's National Team at IIHF World Women's Championship. She spent nine seasons at Bowdoin College in Maine, one as an assistant coach and eight as head coach, taking her teams to a 140-52-12 overall record which included four NCAA tournament appearances, two New England Small College Athletic Conference Championshi ps (NESCAC) and four NESCAC championship game appearances. She was named both the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year by theAmerican Hockey Coaches Association and the NESCAC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003. In 2006, she joined USA Hockey where she was responsible for the management of the women's national team programs including development efforts for both coaches and players. She also served as a national ADM manager for Girls Hockey. Most recently, Michele served as the Executive Director for the Boulder Hockey Club. She is currently the Avalanche Female Ambassador fo r the National Hockey League and a member of the NHL/NHLPA Female Hockey Advisory Committee.
Registration Deadline: September 15
Evaluations for 8U will take place the entire month of October.
Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Teams will be selected after the completion of evaluations, with practices beginning in November.
8U Beginner teams will practice twice a week on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 8U Intermediate and Advanced teams will have practices 3 times per week on Tuesday evenings, Saturday morning and Sunday morning.
Friendlies are games set up with 8U teams from other associations. This is coordinated by your Team Manager or Coach and is not part of the current ice schedule.
Jamborees are fun events where multiple games are played cross-ice on one sheet of ice. No score is kept and teams will play two to three "friendlies" in an hour.
AYHL hosts the Jingle Bell Jamboree at Family Sports Center in late December (right after Christmas).