Hockey for Kids in Calgary – Alternatives to Minor Hockey

Minor hockey is great program but not a perfect fit for every family and every child. And sometimes you just want to make sure your kid actually likes it before you commit to a full year. When I looked around I was surprised to find how many other options exist.

Your nearby community centres can be a great place to look for community run shinny for kids. I’m sure there are even more, so if you know of something not on this list, please let me know!

In addition to the options below, Jr. Inferno Calgary Girls Hockey is offered as part of minor hockey – girls can play with them or their local minor hockey association.

Other leagues:

Flames Community House Leagues

no fundraising, no tournaments, set schedule. These are based through your local hockey associations just like minor hockey but is a separate program. It is designed for recreational players and requires less of a time and monetary commitment.

They are regionally based but the area can be quite large depending on the registration numbers. Novice and Atom (7-10 year olds). PeeWee (11-12 years) may be available in some areas (NW).

Grass Roots Hockey

For kids 4-14. Designed to be non-competitive, affordable and reduced time commitment. Players require very basic skating.

Kids 4-5 can be total beginners but require parental assistance on the ice. City-wide league played on outdoor ice. Minimal equipment required.

Alternative Youth Hockey League

For kids 4-7 years old. “One fee, one location, one schedule”. No fundraising, cash calls, volunteering, early morning ice times. Set yearly schedule. Two tournaments per year (Calgary/Cochrane).

Recreational Hockey Council

For kids 11-20 years old (PeeWee – Junior). Aimed at kids who have previously played hockey who would like to continue with a more relaxed schedule and commitment level. Typically two ice times per week that are both games with a set schedule.

Calgary Sledge Hockey Association

The Calgary Sledge Hockey Association welcomes people of all ages, abilities and genders, however, they do note that playing sledge hockey requires a fair amount of upper body strength. They currently run a few teams including one for kids under 12.

Sledge hockey is a Paralympic sport that uses the same rules and strategies as stand up hockey, however, players sit on specially designed sleds with skate blades under the seat and use two sticks.

Community Run Programs

Huntington Hills Shinny Hockey – (indoor) Players cannot be registered in organized hockey. Non-competitive program. Basic skating and full gear required. Program runs once a week in 3 consecutive sections. Kids can register for all sections or just one or two. 7-11 year olds.

Rosemont Community Association (by confederation park) hosts a once a week outdoor shinny program for kids 6-12 years old during outdoor rink season. Starts in early January each year.

HVCA Outdoor Hockey Program – Organized by the Hidden Valley Community Association. Volunteer commitment required. Ages 6-14.

Auburn Bay,  Cranston, and Mahogany – Residents Associations run outdoor hockey skills classes for kids

TGCA Youth Spring Shinny Program – Non-competitive spring program for McKnight hockey Members run out of the Thorncliffe-Greenview Community Association. No previous hockey experience is necessary but skating experience is required. Runs once a week on Sundays.

Classes and Programs

Trico Intro to Hockey – 11 weeks long. Non competitive,  once a week in the early evening. Classes for kids 4-12 including parented classes for kids who need additional support from an adult.

Winsport –  Hockey FUNdamentals. One hour class to learn hockey skills. Basic skating required. Learn hockey skills with a game on the last day. Classes for ages 5-12 years.
3 on 3 hockey program. Can be purchased with Hockey FUNdamentals or separately. Gives kids more time with the puck to develop their skills more quickly. 

U of C – Once a week class to learn hockey skills. Offers parented classes for little kids (5-7) and classes for kids with some skating ability to learn hockey skills. Leveled classes for ages 6-11.

Intro to Hockey – The City of Calgary – The City runs an intro to hockey program that runs for a couple of months at a time as well as Recreational Hockey for kids with at least basic skating skills.

Cardel Rec South – Cardel Rec South offers a number of different hockey options for kids including Introduction to Hockey and Recreational Hockey

Power Play Hockey Program – “The Power Play Hockey Program is a free, weekly drop in hockey program delivered in partnership with the Calgary Police Service and Hockey Calgary. Power Play engages approximately 70-100 youth, ages 6 to 17, who are facing various cultural or financial barriers and gives the participants an opportunity to learn how to skate and play hockey while interacting with on ice Calgary Police officers in a safe and supportive environment.”

The First Shift – This popular program is designed for new-to-hockey families. They offer an accessible, adorable, and fun program to try out hockey for the first time. It is a 6 week, 1 session/week program. Registration fee includes equipment. This program fills up quickly. Can be followed by an additional transition program.

Jr Hitmen – These are generally development programs designed to be in addition to minor hockey and at the higher levels are focused on elite players. However, they have programs for kids from 3-5 years and the timbits and novice level programs are designed for all skill levels.

First Strides Girls Hockey – Introductory 16 session program for kids 4-8 years old with limited skating experience.

Please Note: 

We do our best to ensure the information on Calgary Playground Review is accurate, however information and events are subject to change. Please contact the organizations directly to avoid disappointment.

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4 thoughts on “Hockey for Kids in Calgary – Alternatives to Minor Hockey”

  1. We also just found out about recreational hockey league for kids 11 to 20.

    They play 2 games per week. No practices.

    “Recreational Hockey Calgary was created in response to a need for a less competitive playing environment and a less demanding time commitment that exists in community hockey. The philosophy of RHC is to provide opportunities for players ages 11 to 20 to play hockey that is affordable, fun and safe with moderate time commitments. The organization encourages and supports good sportsmanship, fair play, friendship, and respect.”


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