By Jim Clare, AHAI Mite ADM Chairman
As many of us know, one of the key principles of the American Development Model is the size of the ice surface for our youngest players. We see it in every other sport our children participate in from baseball (t-ball) to soccer. One area that we don’t focus on much is the size of the net the goalie has to defend at the mite ages. Many times we play cross-ice or half-ice games on the reduced surface but we still use a regulation NHL net.
For comparison, the pictures below show a high school goalie at the recent High School Hockey Holiday Classic contrasted with a mite goalie playing at the Mite Mid-Season Classic at the United Center on December 28. The mite is using an intermediate net. Notice where the top bar of the net hits the goalie’s back and compare it with the high school goalie. Additionally, look at the amount of space the high school goalie takes up in the net as compared to the mite using the intermediate net. The relationship of the goalie to the net are almost identical due to the reduced net size for the mite.
Now imagine that same mite using the regulation net and how much more difficult and unrealistic it is for them to try to cover a 6’ by 4’ opening. The ADM at the mite level is designed to create age-appropriate situations on age-appropriate surfaces, while providing the players a chance to succeed and grow.