How old does my child have to be to register?
LTP players may be as young as 3 years old when the program starts in October, but players must be 4 years old by Dec 31st of the year in which the program started. Most LTP players are between 4 and 6 years old and the entry year depends on the child’s interest and level of maturity.
Has my child missed LTP if over the age of 6?
We have several 7 year olds and the occasional 8 year old in the program; for players between the ages of 8 to 14, our Extended LTP should be considered.
What skating skills do you expect?
Every year about 1/3rd of the players are very new to skating, have never skated before or forgot how to skate over the summer. Others are really good skaters but have never held a hockey stick. Within the first month all are skating without assistance. We group the players on the ice within a session by skill level and move players between groups as the season progresses.
There are usually 10 kids lying on the ice for the first few sessions, intent on making snow angels. One hour on the ice when you can’t skate is a very long time, so look for your child to only last 30 minutes at the beginning of the season (city programs for skating at this age are 30 minutes long). If they come off the ice don’t force them back on; warm them up and if they want back on then send them; if not, then just tell them they did a great job and you can’t wait to bring them to hockey again next week.
Should my child take additional skating instruction? if so, where?
Yes additional skating is important, as skating is crucial to the player’s enjoyment of hockey. The city of Toronto has a great selection of times and locations for skating lessons at very reasonable prices. The other suggestion is to attend public skating and to visit any of the 50+ outdoor rinks in Toronto.
How are the kids assigned to groups?
There are several LTP sessions, and each works slightly differently but follow a similar philosophy and progression of drills. We assess the players at the first session to place them with players of similar skating ability. There are 2, 3, or 4 distinct groups during each session depending on the range of ability and coaching style. As the season progresses, all groups can perform very similar drills. Since all players progress at different rates we look to move the players to ensure they are challenged.
There are 3 or 4 skills based programs on Saturday where players are assigned to one of 2 hours based on their initial skill level. Within that session they will be further divided into smaller groups of similar ability. We will use the first 2 sessions of the season to ensure players are in the appropriate group; and players may move if they progress at a different rate than others.
York Mills Arena 9:00am-11:00am
York Mills Arena 11:00am-1:00pm
Pleasantview Arena 9:00am-10:00am
We will not know at which hour your child will be initially assigned until registration closes in mid-September and we review the self-evaluation and the year-end rating from last season (if they are a returning player). Once each player is assessed they may be moved to the other hour of the session to ensure they are with players of similar ability. If during assessments (or anytime during the season) we feel your child is better suited to the adjacent hour we will move them.
How are the coaches selected?
There is a head coach for each LTP session, they are responsible for selecting their assistant coaches. In most cases the head coach has been with Knights for several years and may no longer have a child in LTP. We also utilize student volunteers to allow them to earn their community service hours, and because they tend to relate very well with the younger players. The other coaches are selected within the first month of the program from the parents who indicated they were interested in coaching. The first month more volunteers are needed on ice as many players need help learning to skate. During this month the head coach looks for the following qualities in the parent volunteers – helps keep practices moving, assists all players (not just their child), provides encouragement, keeps things fun for the kids, patience and hockey skill/knowledge. The last criteria is based on whether the parent attends the 90 minute coaching clinic (prior to the first practice session) on how to run effective drills/practices. The number of coaches varies with the head coach’s style; and fewer coaches are needed to run practices as the players improve.
Why go to the Knights LTP program?
While there are many reasons parents put their child in hockey, we believe the two most important factors are to have FUN and to learn new SKILLS. With our experienced coaches we provide a program that offers these two important aspects. In addition we have longer sessions (50 minutes) than other programs during prime-time Saturday (9:30am-1:00pm) at top quality local arenas. Our season extends from Thanksgiving (Mid-October) thru Easter (Early-April). We end our season with a tournament where all players participate in 2 games, received a trophy and special treats. The tournament over the past few years has been held at St Mikes Arena.
The Knights have hockey programs for House League through GTHL AA; whether your child wishes to play in House League or in a more competitive division, the Knights have programs that meet your child’s needs as they graduate from LTP.
When will the Left Foot get going?
Some have asked about when the left foot will “get going”. This is the non-dominant foot (left or right); and for some children it can take a few months to get going. This is particularly the case if your child is a “young” four year old. Our experience is that as they get closer to age 5, both feet start to move. We have never had a situation where it didn’t get going at all! This movement has to do with development of strength, co-ordination and motor skills, and all are a function of time and growth.
How much Tape is appropriate on End of Sticks?
Please make sure there is a sizable knob of hockey tape on the top end of your child’s stick. This makes it easier to pick it up the ice with gloves on as it elevates it off the ice, and it protects them from accidentally spearing themselves in the stomach or having it slip through their face cage and endangering their eyes or teeth (it has happened).
Can I run errands during the session?
Parents must remain in the arena. We have had instances of a player being left unattended while in the arena. This is not a babysitting service. You must remain in the arena while your player is on the ice or in the arena. And you will want to watch as it is pretty exciting to see your child improve and have fun.
What is your Dressing room Etiquette?
Only player and one parent is allowed in the dressing room. Dressing room space is very limited and is reserved for only those who need to be in the room. We kindly ask that only one parent/adult help each child in the dressing room and suggest that you bring your child to the rink half-dressed or mostly dressed (e.g. only needing to put on their skates, helmet and gloves at the rink). While we understand that family and friends are excited and happy about getting your children onto the ice, we ask that everyone else wait in the lobby, in the stands, in the viewing area etc. The dressing room is not for spectators. Finally, please leave all non-practice items (e.g. strollers) outside the dressing rooms.