U7 Program


The Cole Harbour Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association U7 Program is changing for the 2022-2023 Hockey Season. 


The new U7 Development Program aligns with Hockey Canada’s Seasonal Structure for U7 hockey programs and adheres to guidelines for the U7 Division outlined by Hockey Nova Scotia . For more information please click here.


As of July 1, 2022, CHBAMHA will have an updated U7 Development Program. The updated CHBAMHA U7 division is for all players who turn 4, 5 or 6 years old by December 31st, 2022. In years past, U7 has been called IP (Initiation Program) and/or Timbits. CHBA had a unique program designated as ‘Feathers’ for 4 year old players that was offered at a separate cost. Moving forward, the program known as Feathers has been removed as Hockey Canada only allows 1 U7 Program within minor hockey organizations.


In addition to the updated program, fees for the upcoming 2022-2023 season will be increased. However, they do remain one of the lowest amongst the six main Metro Associations. The new fees will be the same for all 2016, 2017 and 2018 birth year registered players in the U7 Development Program.



Unique Pricing offered



$550 (U7-1)



$450 (U6)











Cole Harbour




Every Association in Hockey Nova Scotia’s jurisdiction may use different terminology and every program may look a little bit different. What is consistent is that young players have an opportunity to start and/or continue their development while having a positive and fun hockey experience. The ideal season does not conflict with the start of the school year, provides a fair evaluation/selection process and is structured to maximize development opportunities for every player.


One of the changes being introduced in the updated U7 Program for CHBAMHA is the new Seasonal Structure, which includes an orientation and evaluation phase. Players will be grouped/teamed with *‘like-ability’ players for maximum growth (*term used and recommended by Hockey Canada). Players will NOT be cut and the evaluation phase is NOT to be considered ‘tryouts’. Tiering will also be done within each team to ensure skill-based balance and to ensure players are learning with other players who are at the same level of hockey development progression. This also supports volunteer coaches in tailoring practice plans and stations to the presented skill level.


The new CHBA U7 Development Program may have up to a total of 4-5 teams, depending on the number of registered players. The U7 Division is made up of 2 different levels of hockey, and children will be grouped in phases as outlined by Hockey Nova Scotia.


• Level One - U7 Program Phase 1 and 2

• Level Two - U7 Program Phase 3 and 4


Players, regardless of age, will be placed at the level that is appropriate to their skill and ability. (from HNS Regulations 18.3). However, when grouping kids in their levels/phase, if the evaluation process provides comparable analysis between players, priority will be given to the highest intended birth year players for the levels as outlined below.


The U7-1 Level (Phase 1) is primarily intended for new first year players (2018 born). This Level may have two teams with the 2nd team primarily intended for other first year players (born 2017 or 2016)


The U7-1 Level (Phase 2) is primarily intended for 2nd year returning players (2017 born) or other players who are at the comparative level of hockey progression.


The U7-2 Level (Phase 3) level is primarily intended for 2nd – 3rd  year returning players (2016-2017) or other players who have reached the comparative level of hockey progression.


The U7-2 level (Phase 4) is primarily intended for 3rd year returning players (2016), or other players who have reached the comparative level of hockey progression.


Additional Note: Teams will be differentiated by color designation for administrative and communication purposes. For example:


U7-1 (Yellow)

U7-1 (Red)

U7-1 (Black)

U7-2 (Grey)

U7-2 (White)


Frequently Asked Questions


(If you do not see your question below, please ask your question here, and you will be contacted directly and you will find the answer listed below at a later date as well)


When does the U7 Season Start?


The U7 Season Start date is expected to start September 10th (formerly Sept 17). There will be 4 Orientation sessions as required by Hockey Canada, before moving into 3 evaluation sessions in October.   


How do the evaluations work?


The U7 Program will begin with the Orientation phase for all players. As required from Hockey Canada there has to be a minimum of 4 practices with the fundamentals before any evaluation period. Players listed for these ice times will be based on alphabetical name and birth year. However, we will get as many first time skaters together in one group as the first ice times for beginners require different support and structure. There will be a minimum of three formal Evaluation/grouping sessions after the orientation phase. One skating skills session, one station based puck session, and one multiple cross-ice game session. An evaluation committee will be formed to ensure a diverse group of experienced coaches are selected. Before the season begins you will have more communication on how this will work.


Is there an advanced team like in U9?


No. This is not about creating advanced teams and labeling the groups as such. As Hockey Canada recommends, players will be grouped with ‘like-ability’ players for maximum growth. Hockey Canada wants every Canadian youngster to have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from a program designed to meet their specific needs, one that ensures progressive skill development through well-delivered practice sessions and age-appropriate game play in an environment suited to their skill level.


Can I register if I don’t live inside the boundaries?


To register for hockey programs in Cole Harbour, players must reside in the community. Hockey NS has determined which communities belong to the numerous hockey associations in the province. Click Here for CHBA Boundaries.


Who are the Coaches?


At this age group, coaches are also parents. Any U7-2 group will have a head coach of a 2016 born player. U7-1 Groups will have a head coach of a 2017 born player or a head coach of a 2018 born player.  Various assistant coaches will balance out the icetimes as well. We will strive for a 1:3 coach to player ratio as much as possible.


What are the qualifications for coaches?


Registered Coaches will have completed a Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector check, a Respect in Sport for Volunteers course, an online Intro to Coach course, and an online virtual or half day in-class Coaching Course (to be completed after the online portion).  This applies to Assistant Coaches as well as Head Coaches.  All Head Coaches must also do an online Safety Course .Please click here for updated Qualifications for all coaches


Can I coach, or at least help on the ice?


Yes, any parent/guardian that wants to get involved can access the coaches application form here.


What other supports do coaches get from the association?


To ensure a positive experience, a coaching clinic has been designed for the on-ice coaches that focuses on communication, teaching skills, leadership, skill analysis, lesson organization, and safety and risk management. This will be scheduled in September for all coaches of the U7 age group.


Am I able to assist on the ice, but just with my child?


For the U7-1 phase 1 group, parents that are comfortable on skates are asked to come out and assist the first couple weekends to assist as most skaters will be learning how to fall down and how to get back up. Your head coach will determine how many parent supports are required.  By Novemeber 1st, 2022, any parent on the ice has to meet all qualifications as an assistant coach.


Any parent that wants to be an assistant coach will be assigned to the same ice time as their child but are responsible to all the children on the ice. Coaches will be assigned to stations and provide instruction to all children, not just their own.


How much hockey experience do I need to help coach?


You do not need to have a high-level of hockey experience.  You just need to be a strong skater, and have a helmet, gloves and a stick.  There are mandatory certifications mentioned above that are required by Hockey Nova Scotia in order to be allowed to be on the ice for the duration of the season.  Coaches interested in volunteering will be advised of the requirements and the timelines when they must be meet them.


Will there be female coaches?


Female coaches are definitely encouraged to seek a head coaching or assistant coaching role. Historically. Most teams get coached by dads, but moms and even aunts are needed as role models to our developing players as well.


Where are practices located.


Practices are held at either Scotia 1 or Scotia 2 at Cole Harbour Place or Shearwater Arena.


What are the practice times?


There are 2 practices each weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Times vary amongst the U7 teams and time slots are shared between 7am-2pm. Ice times are NOT consistent.


What does a practice look like?


Practice Plans are created for each session and shared with all coaches. Coaches will have stations and children will cycle through them. There will be power skating components and large group activities along with small area station based skill development stations. The focus is on developing the foundation for strong skaters while teaching the basics of hockey.


Will my child play hockey games?


Stations may consist of small area hockey games, in addition to cross ice hockey games. Click here for the benefits of cross ice games for the U7 Development Program.


Depending on the level/phase games may start earlier or later in the season.


There can be concerns from parents about how small-area games may impact their child’s hockey development, but parents should trust Hockey Canada and its research. Putting young players into a competitive environment too early will compromise their development; they need to be placed into competitive situations that suit their presented skill level. This is why Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development Model is so important.

Dividing the playing surface is a decision that has been made in consultation with experts in athlete development. It is important to understand the benefits of cross-ice hockey and why Hockey Canada has a national policy ensuring all Timbits U7 hockey is played in smaller, modified spaces.


Will my child play full ice games?


No. Hockey Canada and Hockey Nova Scotia strongly disallow any full ice structured hockey games for this division.


What if my child gets better during the season?


The U7 Development Program will have opportunity for ongoing evaluation of participants with the focus of continuing to place each player at the level appropriate to their level of skill and ability throughout the season. This is hard to manage during the season, but Phase 3-4 teams will start with fewer players to allow a couple other players from the first 2 phases to be placed at a new level by December. This will be a determination of the head coach and an agreement with the parent. Also, if a head coach notices that a child becomes disengaged or begins to lose confidence, a coach may recommend that the player moves to another level and this needs agreement with the parent.


Can I drop my child off?


No, a parent/guardian must be available at all times for every practice. Coaches will not leave the ice for washroom breaks and have to adhere to Hockey Canadas ‘Two-deep policy’. Parents have to be immediately available to respond to children if required.


Are there any extra costs not covered by the registration fees?


Yes, there are optional extra costs that are not covered.  Photographs, name bars, Jamborees (excluding the Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree for 5-6 year olds), and any extra team building activities would be an extra cost to the parent/guardian.  In the past, some teams have also purchased group seats to Halifax Mooseheads games together for an extra cost. 


Do we have to fundraise?


There is no fundraising requirements for the U7 Development Program. However teams are allowed selling juice boxes after practice to raise money for activities outside the program.


Players registered in the program are also able to sell 50/50 tickets through Raffle Box, and money raised will go towards future registration fees. Click here for more information.  38% of the total tickets sold will be going back directly to the player selling the ticket to offset future registration costs. Tickets will be available for Monthly draws.


My child has never skated before, or has very limited skating experience. Will this be an issue?


No. the majority of the children in the U7-1 level Phase 1 are skating for the first time.


My child is very excited to play goalie. Is that available?


Once children in the U7-2 levels have developed a basic skating foundation they are able to try the goaltender position. The goal of the program is to develop strong skaters first and develop basic hockey skills and offer a taste of the position. U7-2 levels will be given sets of goalie gear to rotate children in and out of the net.


What is a “Jamboree”?


A “Jamboree” is a non-competitive tournament where children play teams from other associations.  There is no score kept, and no specific positions are played.  Goalies are generally not part of the Jamboree.  It is a fun event where the kids play between two to three short games in a day.  The Jamboree usually includes other activities and players receive a medal or other small award.


Will Cole Harbour have a Jamboree?


There are discussions underway to look at the costs and viability to hold a ‘Mini-Joe’ tournament before the holiday break in December. We are looking to invite 1-2 other associations for a fun little jamboree and perhaps a pool party at Cole Harbour Place. Stay tuned. The costs of this jamboree would be covered by registration fees for Cole Harbour Teams.


What about the Eastern Shore Jamboree?


All players in the U7-2 teams are able to participate in the Eastern Shore Jamboree in March.


Managers will contact parents early in the season and collect $40 dollar registration fees by November 1st. Fees collected will determine the amount of teams Cole Harbour and they will be registered.


Are there other jamborees?


There are many other hockey programs not affiliated with CHBAMHA or under the jurisdiction of Hockey Nova Scotia which may offer jamborees or 3 on 3 tournaments. These programs are at parent discretion.  


Can I enter my child in as many Jamborees as I want or is there a limit?


There is a limit set by Hockey Nova Scotia of three Jamborees during a season.  Once your child has played in three Jamborees, he/she is not allowed to participate in any more for the rest of the season.  This total does not include the annual Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree.


Is there a TimBits Mooseheads Jamboree this year?


The annual Timbits Mooseheads Jamboree held at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax has been cancelled the last two years.  This Jamboree is free - complimentary of Tim Hortons for U7-2 and U7- 3 only (born 2016 and 2017).  We currently do not know if this Jamboree will be taking place this year. Please stay tuned.


How does my child get to play in the Mooseheads intermission games?


This is only available for players born in 2016.  Each year, metro associations are given a set number of games to play in (historically 4 games) with 10 players needed each game. 

The players are randomly chosen except for 2 registered coaches and their children that are required to be on the ice to support the players each game. If your child is selected, you will be notified by email.  If the Mooseheads advance into the playoffs, there is the possibility we can receive an additional game and may draw from the 2017 pool of kids if all the children from the 2016 age group have had an opportunity to be on the ice.   


My child has a good friend who plays hockey in U7 as well. Can they be placed in the same group?


As Hockey Canada recommends, players should be grouped with ‘likable’ players at a comparative level of hockey progression. Therefore, requests to keep friends together may not be honored.


I’m interested in volunteering, but not as a coach?  Is there any other way I can help?


CHBAMHA is a volunteer run organization, and we can always use additional help off ice.  In particular, orientation and evaluation phases will require more help to stay organized. Each team will then require a Team Manager to manage many of the off ice requirements.  If you are interested, please fill out this google form.  


Team Managers will work together to ensure a consistent experience is had by all teams.


Team Managers do things such as distributing and collecting the jerseys, organizing team photos, signing teams up for Jamborees, communication, collection of optional fees, etc.


All volunteers must go through a certification process.  This process includes a Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector check, and a Respect in Sport for Volunteers course.  


What is the Respect in Sport for Parents Program?


One parent of every player beginning hockey must complete the online Respect in Sport for Parents program.  It is mandatory as per Hockey Nova Scotia and costs $12 + tax.  If you have completed the program for an older sibling, you don’t have to do it again but your new U7 player must be added to your Respect in Sport account.


My child has a medical condition.  What is the best way to inform the Head Coach?


Every child must have a medical form filled out and given to your Team Manager at the start of the year.  These forms will be kept with the Head Coach/Team Manager and brought to each practice.  As well, because a parent must remain in the arena during the practice, someone will always be present who is aware of the condition as well.  Knowledge of a potential severe allergic reaction or other medical condition while on the ice may help the coaches recognize this and allow them to notify the parents present in the arena.


Do I need a jersey?


Players born in 2018 will be given jerseys, and socks before the first orientation session. Every other player will be provided with new Timbits hockey jersey and socks once the teams are finalized after the evaluation phase. If you don't have a jersey for the Orientation practices, please.


Do I need to buy hockey Gear or is that supplied?


You have to purchase your own hockey gear. Please see the image below for required gear.


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