AHA offers two programs for young or first time skaters. Our Learn to Skate (LTS) and Learn to Play Programs (LTP) are designed to help new skaters learn skating and playing skills necessary to advance them into our Travel Program.
The Learn to Skate Program (LTS)
The Amherst Hockey Association offers new skaters eight years old and younger a place to learn to skate and learn basic hockey skills. The LTS Program's primary objective is to help skaters have some fun while learning to skate safely. One goal is to develop hockey skills and enjoy an experience that could lead skaters and their families to participate in the AHA Travel Teams (available to all ages). Skaters are placed in groups that best match their ability and age at the beginning of the program. The LTS Program has three divisions:
- Blue (beginner): First-time or new skaters; emphasis on skating skills
- White (intermediate): 2nd year in the program; emphasis on skating and basic hockey skills
- Red (more advanced): 3rd year in the program, or 2nd year with improving skills; increased emphasis on hockey skills and introduction to team play
Each LTS skater must have ice skates, shin pads, elbow pads, gloves (hockey gloves are not required; heavy winter gloves are OK), an HECC approved helmet with cage/face mask and a hockey stick. [Printable quipment information (PDF)].
The program runs Saturday afternoons for one hour at the Mullins Center practice rink, from early November to late February.
The Learn to Play Program (LTP)
This is a hockey program offered by the Association. This program stresses skill development and hockey concepts. Its goal is to prepare skaters for Travel Teams. Skaters with equal skill levels will be placed together so that drills flow more effectively during practice time. Depending on the number of skaters in each group, creating additional groups of equal skill levels is an option. Inter-squad scrimmages will occur from time to time; teams will be created with team balance in mind. Girls have the option of being on an all-girls team or a co-ed team.
This program is available to any skater between the ages of 4-8 and is available for skaters with birth years 2010 and younger. Older skaters are expected to participate in the co-ed Travel program , girls Travel program or the girls house team. Players should spend no more than two (2) years at this level before moving on to a Travel Team or the all-girls house team.
This program provides skaters an average of two on ice sessions per week, and is approximately eighteen (18) weeks long starting in November and ending in March. Practice ice time will be at the Mullins Center practice rink at UMass on Saturday afternoons. Full hockey equipment is required. Because of the age and abilities of skaters in this group, it is mandatory that a parent or an adult responsible for that child remain in the rink at all times while their child is in the rink.
The Association will offer one or more novice teams in the second and third sessions of the GSL Novice Program if there are enough children who meet the USA Hockey and GSL requirements, an approved volunteer coach and adequate ice time. The Novice games are played at the Olympia Ice Areana in West Springfield MA on Sunday mornings. The Novice teams will play one hour cross ice games against teams from other GSL associations. These games will be 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 with reduced sized nets and no goalies. The Association scheduler will publish any additional ice time associated with this program on the master schedule.
For more information on these programs, please contact Dan Feldman [