Getting Started in Hockey (Girls & Boys)

Overview

Hello Parents! Welcome to the Chesterfield Hockey Association! We are a youth ice hockey club located in the Maryville University Hockey Center (which we own & operate) within the Chesterfield valley area. Our programs include All-Girls options (Lady Falcons program) as well as Co-Ed options (boys & girls), and we tailor our programs for all skill-levels (beginners to elite).

If you are reading this page, you probably have a bunch of questions on how to get your daughter or son started in youth hockey. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’re going to cover A LOT of information below. Use this as a general guide, and not necessarily the only way to get started.

If at any time should you have ANY questions, please reach out to our Communications Director & Club Secretary - Greg Papuga - via email or our social media channels. We are more than willing to talk to you.

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Steps

Choose a step below to view additional details:

Learn to Skate

This is where it all starts. Knowing how to skate is a core foundational skill within hockey & it’s important to focus on this skill as much as possible. They do not have to be expert skaters by any means, but we do want them proficient enough that they can skate subconsciously at a decent pace without them leaning on their sticks or instructors holding them up. We want to set the kids up for success as they transition into the game of hockey.

As the owner of the Maryville University Hockey Center, we offer Learn to Skate classes which are perfect for getting your daughter or son started!

Additionally you are welcome to teach them yourselves, either during public skate sessions or even with roller blades at home. Try to have them practice at a bare minimum 2 hours a week.

Learn to Play

Let’s do that hockey! Our Learn to Play Hockey program is open to Girls & Boys; and is usually a child’s first introduction to organized hockey. Remember they do not have to be expert skaters by any means; we’ll keep working on skating in all our programs; but we do require them to know how to skate. See our Learn to Skate information above for more details.

Before we go farther, let’s address the Elephant in the Room question that everyone associates with Ice Hockey. Isn’t Hockey Expensive? The truthful answer is no. There are ways to get your child started in ice hockey that are extremely economical. Let’s talk about those options below:


Option 1 (Recommended If You Need the Gear):

Sign up for one of the St. Louis Blues Youth Hockey programs; called “Girls Hockey Development” for girls only (has a couple more program options) and “Little Blues” for boys & girls. For a very small up front fee, your child will be outfitted with all of the necessary equipment they need - which you get to keep - and a few weeks of instruction. The cost of the equipment is partially subsidized by the NHL & NHLPA. This is by far the most popular and economical way to get your child started.

Highly suggested - Additionally & Concurrently - Sign them up for our own Learn to Play program at the same time (about a 2 hour a week commitment between the Blues program and our program). That's the perfect amount of time for your kids as they get started in the sport.


Option 2 (You Already Have the Gear):

Whether your child is a recent graduate of the St. Louis Blues Youth Hockey programs OR you have acquired their gear independently; Sign them up for the Chesterfield Hockey Learn to Play Hockey program!

Our Learn to Play Hockey program is open to Girls and Boys and is a fun way for kids to get introduced to the sport of ice hockey. Our goals are to develop a fun learning experience while teaching the basics of the sport of hockey. We will cover both skating and puck skills while progressing in a fun manner. Our certified on-ice coaches get the children to develop through a variety of practice drills and fun informal games.


Necessary Equipment

There are many different economical ways of acquiring the necessary equipment to get your child started. Whether you choose the St. Louis Blues Youth Hockey program approach or you decide to acquire it on your own via buying it new, used, borrowed or a combination of any of those approaches; there are cost effective ways to get started & it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Be sure to price out the used vs new gear - sometimes the difference in cost is not a big of a difference as you would suspect. Remember - kids grow fast - and you do not have to buy the most expensive stuff.

View List of Necessary Gear


Additionally, we have a rental program if you are interested. We can not rent all of the gear necessary, but we can help you get started. (subject to availability). See our Learn to Play webpage for details.

From experience: The 2 pieces of gear that we highly suggest buying brand new are the helmet and skates. With the helmet, you want it to fit right & not be damaged. With a used helmet, you have no idea how it was previously treated. Make sure it’s not pressing hard on their temples (to avoid headaches). With the skates, imagine running a marathon in someone else's used shoes and how that might hurt your arches. You want the arch support to be molded to their feet not someone else's feet. Get some skates with decent padding. These are the 2 most common factors that affect kids first starting out in the sport.

Joining a Team

When can my child join a team? We love answering this question! We have All-Girls teams and Co-Ed team options. There are a few variables topics we need to cover in order to help answer this question to your specific needs. They include: age (birth year), gender, ZIP code, skill level, and what month of the year is it? This part may get confusing - don’t worry! If at any time should you have ANY questions, please reach out to our Communications Director & Club Secretary - Greg Papuga - via email or our social media channels. We are more than willing to talk to you.

Let's start with the following:

Gender

At the Chesterfield Hockey Association, we offer our extremely popular All-Girls hockey programs (Lady Falcons) as well as Co-Ed programs (boys & girls).

ZIP Codes

Within the Missouri Hockey organization, which we are an affiliate club, there is a policy that refers to the home ZIP codes of players. This policy determines the club for which a player can register to play during the “Regular Season: Aug-Feb” (keywords). Before we go any further, let's cover a few nee- to-know details regarding the Missouri Hockey ZIP code policy.

  • ALL-GIRLS TEAMS - If a girl is willing to sign up for an All-Girls team, then the ZIP code rule does not apply. The Chesterfield Hockey Association has an All-Girls team option (Lady Falcons program).
  • BOYS - Any boy wishes to sign up with the Chesterfield Hockey Association during the “Regular Season: Aug-Feb” (keywords) must be districted to our club by Missouri Hockey OR live in what is considered an Open ZIP code (basically your ZIP code does not show up on their master list of ZIP codes). This also applies to girls wanting to play on Co-Ed teams. Here is the list of districted ZIP codes from Missouri Hockey.


For Spring & Summer Hockey Programs: The ZIP code rules DO NOT APPLY. You may register anywhere.

Seasons

Within youth hockey there are 3 seasons. The exact start and end dates can slightly vary from year to year.

  • Regular Hockey Season (Aug - Feb)
  • Spring Hockey Season (Mar/April - May)
  • Summer Hockey Season (June - July)


The Regular season is when the true team based hockey programs are held, and you will want to be ready to sign up by August (do not miss this). Start checking the website after the 4th of July for details. The regular season is approximately 6 months long.

The Spring and Summer seasons are more group based hockey programs focused on development. We may call them teams for the sake of the kids, but they are not the true teams like the regular season. Some kids take a break from hockey during the Spring & Summer. That is perfectly acceptable. It’s healthy for kids to be well rounded in various sports and to take breaks.

Birth Years

All programs in youth hockey (aside from Learn to Play) are based on the birth year of the player. You’ll hear birth years referenced a lot in youth hockey. The day and month they were born does not matter - including kids born Jan 1 @ 12:01AM or Dec 31@ 11:59PM. The date on the birth certificate is what is used.

Age Groups

Expanding upon the Birth Year topic, we field teams of various skill levels under the following age groups:

  • 6U
  • 8U
  • 10U
  • 12U
  • 14U
  • 15U
  • 16U
  • 18U


To avoid confusing you on which age group applies to your child, we’ll ask you to instead reference the various programs we have listed in the main navigation. Within each of those pages, we’ll list out which birth years are associated with which programs for that particular season.

Skill Levels

The Chesterfield Hockey Association offers a number of options to cater to a wide range of skill levels. Whether they are just coming out of Learn to Play or they have been playing for years and are considered an Elite level player - we have options for all of them.

Refer to our program pages below for more information.

Team Based

Regular Season Programs

6U Program 8U Program 10U-12U Recreational Program 10U-16U Travel Program 10U-18U Central States Program (Elite level)

Group Based

Spring & Summer Programs

Spring Program Summer Program

Questions

We just covered a lot of information. If it’s still confusing, you have questions or if you just want to verify some information - please reach out to our Communications Director & Club Secretary - Greg Papuga - via email or our social media channels. We are more than willing to talk to you.

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