Hockey 101


Your child has decided they want to play youth hockey. What an exciting time for your family! This can be a great learning experience for both you and your child and we want to provide you with some helpful tools and tips to get you off to a great start.

The decision has been made, but NOW WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?…

Lysander Youth Hockey offers two introductory programs for those new to ice hockey – Mini Mites and The Rookie Program.  

  • Mini Mites are for beginner skaters ages 3-8.  The program focuses on getting the child acclimated to the ice and learning the fundamentals of hockey. In season, sessions typically run October through mid-March, once a week for an hour, usually on Sunday mornings.  Spring and Summer sessions are also available, typically beginning at the end of March.
  • The Rookie Program is for kids new to hockey and are ages 9-14. This is a skill development program for older players with little to no organized hockey or skating experience. Instruction in the fundamentals of skating, stick handling and the necessary hockey skills required for transition to a team in the future is the focus of this program. In season, sessions typically run October through February, twice weekly for an hour. Spring sessions are also available, typically beginning at the end of March and occur once a week.


Now that you have an idea of which program is the correct fit for your child, what’s next?

This picture shows the equipment required to participate as a skater and a photo for reference.

*Jerseys, a bag, water bottle, skate guards and hockey socks are also needed. Undergarments are optional and mouth guards are optional until 12U (we’ll get to what 12U refers to later).

Gear can be rented from the rink or purchased at McKie Sports (new), Play It Again Sports (used) or even FaceBook Market Place

Below is a link to a video on how to dress your child.

Dressing your child for Ice Hockey - Bing video

BASICS - Rink and Positions for Full Ice

Now what’s that called? This diagram shows the different parts of the ice rink and where the positions line up on the opening faceoff. This positioning is relevant for all levels other than Mini Mites and Mites (8U).

BASICS - Rink and Positions for Half Ice

Mites (8U) typically play half ice games with 4 skaters and a goalie for each team. Boards are set up along the red line to divide the ice. The diagram shows set up for one side. The other half of the ice would be set up identical, with another Mite game taking place at the same time.

BASICS - Signals & Rules

There are many different rules. Some are enforced for player safety and competitive play; others exist to manage the flow and pace of the game while keeping play fair. The following two rules play a vital role in allowing the game to proceed smoothly and prevent players from taking advantage of unfair positioning on the ice.

  1. Icing: Icing is when a player in their defensive zone shoots or passes the puck before they reach the center-ice line, and it crosses the opposing hockey red line without being touched by another player.
  2. Offsides: The offside rule in hockey is when any player crosses the blue line into their attacking zone before the puck enters. The puck must always enter the attacking zone first.

*Both of these rules do not apply to (8U) Mites, as this age group plays half or third ice games. Below is a link for a more complete list of rules:

Hockey Rules: A Complete Guide to Ice Hockey Rules & Regulations (

Sometimes you may also hear different references from coaches and parents that are just part of the “hockey community”. To help navigate some of this, below is a link for some hockey Lingo:

Hockey Player Lingo: The Ultimate Dictionary (

General Team Level Details

  • The age division a child plays in is determined by their birth year (not school year or age necessarily). This chart below lists the informaion for the age divisions for the 2023-24 season.
  • There are primarily 2 Tiers of hockey. Tier I (also referred to as AAA) is considered to be the highest -caliber of youth hockey. Tier II (also referred to as AA) is considered mid level hockey. 
  • There are also independent teams
  • Lysander is a Tier II organization with Independent (Select and travel teams) and House teams. Select Team and travel teams tend to compete at higher levels than typical Tier II teams.  
  • Within each age division there are varying levels of team play with the most competitive to least as follows: Select, Red, White then Blue.
Age Division A.K.A. Levels Offered Game Length Game Sheet Size
8U (2015-2018) Mites Red, White and Blue 1 hour Half sheet or Third sheet
10U (2013-2014) Squirts Select, Red, White and Blue 1 hour Full Sheet
12U (2011-2012) PeeWee Select, Red and White 1 hour 15 minutes Full Sheet
14U (2009-2010) Bantam Snowbelt, Tournament Bound and Girls 1 hour 15 minutes Full Sheet
16U (2007-2008) Midget Snowbelt amd Tournament Bound 1 hour 30 minutes Full Sheet
18U (2005-2008) Midget Full Season and Split Season 1 hour 30 minutes Full Sheet
  • Some teams can be designated as either Tournament Bound or participate in a league such as the Snowbelt League or Thruway Series.
  • Tournament Bound: The NY district allows 12 & Under Youth and Girls teams, 14 & under, 16 & under and 18 & under Tier III teams to be NY State bound. These teams participate in a NY District Tournament but do not advance to a national tournament. The Tier III teams may be allowed participation in a regional tournament
  • Snowbelt League: A local league that teams pay to be part of in which a predetermined number of games are required to set up pool play at the end of the season. Teams in each age group and division play for a championship.
  • Thruway Series: The top 2 teams from the Snowbelt League and Empire League (located in WNY), play in a one-day, 2-game tournament where the winner of the Snowbelt League game plays the winner of the Empire League game to be crowned Thruway Series Champions.
  • Practices for most teams are held twice a week. Some Select/Travel teams may practice 3 times a week, while teams such as mini mites typically practice once a week.
  • Most communication, scheduling and rsvp’ing to games, practices and events will be done through a team app. Currently, Lysander uses Crossbar. Your team manager will assist with set up of this app.
  • Generally, the more competitive of a team you are on, the more travel you will have. Travel for the most part will be in New York, however some tournaments do take place in PA, MA, etc.


Now the question on everyone’s mind… How much is this going to cost???

USA Hockey Association Fee: 2023-2024 season is based on age and ranges from $15-$70 yearly. Registration usually is renewed in August/September.

SafeSport Training/Background Check: SafeSport is USA Hockey’s response to keeping kids safe from bullying, harassment and predators. Training is required by USA Hockey for all coaches and parents/guardians that want access to the locker room or offer to volunteer. If you are completing the training for the first time there is a fee of $20. Please plan on about 1-2 hours to complete the program. Each subsequent year, training is about 30 minutes long and there is no fee. In conjunction with SafeSport there is a $30 yearly fee for a background check, which is required to complete training and be certified as SafeSport Trained 

Tryouts: Occur at the conclusion of each season. All players that intend to play for the organization next season need to attend these tryouts. Typically 8U Red – 18U will take place in the Spring. 8U White and 8U Blue level players, typically take place early fall. Tryouts for 2022-23 were $30 for skaters and $0 for goalies.

Season Registration Fees: This is the main cost of hockey and what allows you to play on a team. These fees can be paid in full at the time of registration. Lysander Youth Hockey Association offers a 3-payment plan (cost split into a third due at registration, and 2 additional payments) as well. Typically, registration will be paid in full regardless of payment option by November of the current year.

Additional Costs: Game jerseys are not included in this fee, nor are tournaments that your team participates in. This fee covers, practices, home ice games and ref fees (if applicable).

Registration fees for the 2023-24 season is TBD. 

Most Importantly – GET INVOLVED!

No matter if you’re new to hockey with little-to-no knowledge or just coming back from a break, THE ORGANIZATION NEEDS YOU! 

Volunteering is a vital component for the organization and your teams’ success! There are many different ways that you can help. Ask your team coach, manager or a LYHA board member how you can help.   

"PRO Tips"

Parents have shared some tips that they have learned along the way to help make your experience a positive one.

  1. Make sure kids use the rest room before dressing. It’s a lot more work to have work around the gear if it’s already on.
  2. Practice putting gear on before their first practice. It will make your skater and you more comfortable before that first practice.
  3. There is no dressing or undressing in the lobby. Players can either dress in their team assigned locker room or at home.
  4. All parents/guardians are required to stay at the arena during their childs’ scheduled practice or game time, especially those new to the sport. Kids will come off the ice for many reason such as their equipment doesn’t feel right or just need some encouragement. For safety reasons as well, there should always be someone on premise.
  5. Kids grow. Some gear is adjustable and some is not. Poor fitting gear is not safe. Please make sure you plan for growth expenses as they are quite common.
  6. Kids will tend to play multiple positions, especially those that are younger, as they are just learning the game. Knowing all of the positions will help to become a more complete player. 
  7. Learn to work the timeclock or operate the penalty box doors. They’re the best seats in the house!
  8. Rinks are cold for spectators! Make sure to dress appropriately to watch your child so that you can enjoy your time there.
  9. Referees, while paid minimally, are a necessity for the game of hockey. While we may not all agree with their calls or lack-there-of, please be respectful.
  10. Many of the people you see working at the rink are volunteering their time to help. They may not have all of the answers but are very open to finding out for you. Please give them the benefit and courtesy they deserve, as without them the rink could not run and your child would not have a place to play.
  11. Remember you are a representative of Lysander Youth Hockey and your actions at other rinks affects the organization. Please conduct yourself in a manner that is appropriate for youth hockey.
  12. They always want a slushie and quarters for the arcade!

Lysander Youth Hockey (LYHA) Info

Lysander’s home arena is the Three Rivers Athletic Complex (TRAC) in Lysander.

The address for the rink is 2725 West Entry Road, Baldwinsville, NY 13027.

The following link is a list of Board members and their roles. Board members are voted on by the parents/guardians of LYHA players every 2 years. The last vote was in January 2023.

Board of Directors

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