Coaching 101

Welcome new minor hockey coaches! The following information will assist you in your first steps in becoming a hockey coach. Follow the steps to begin the process of completing your training and developing your own program.


For Minor Hockey Male and Female: All coaches must obtain the appropriate coaching level, as defined by the Regulations, by January 10th of the current season. Individuals must complete the online coach modules delivered through Hockey University (HU) then fully attend & participate at an in person coach clinic to achieve “Trained” status (formerly known as “certified”).

The course you require to be “Trained” in is specific to the level you are currently coaching. Each course stream of training is designed to cover pertinent learning & skills content appropriate for the level of athlete which you’ll currently be coaching.

All coaches & team staff are required to complete Respect in Sport (RIS) online.

It is important that ALL team staff members understand what training is required for all levels of hockey. Ex: who requires Coach Level, Checking, Safety, Respect in Sport, Intro to Coach. Visit our TEAM STAFF REQUIREMENT page to learn more.

There are 3 Steps to becoming a “Trained” coach.

STEP 1Hockey University – HU - Online Coach 1/2

  • Complete the online coach modules
  • Click here to get started

STEP 2Respect in Sport Coach (RIS) 

  • Complete the online modules
  • Click here to get started

STEP 3Attend an in person clinic

  • Visit our Training & Clinic page to select your clinic

Coach 1 - Intro to Coach


Coaches will complete the Hockey University E-Learning Modules (1-12).  Upon completion of the On-Line modules Coaches will register for a Intro to Coach Certification Clinic which will consist of a 2.5 hour Classroom Session and a 1.5 hour On-Ice Session.  The Classroom session reviews the basic tools they will need in the areas of leadership, communication, teaching skills, and lesson planning. All this is taught with the special considerations of the youngest athletes in mind. Coaches qualified in the Intro to Coach receive a Hockey Canada Network App code that provides a number of helpful tools, including practice plans. The practice plans are tailor-made for teaching the beginner to ensure their first experience with hockey is fun and positive. This app eliminates much of the planning necessary to ensure a fun and effective practice and remove much of the demand from coaches who often find themselves with little time to plan their practices.

Who Should Attend?

Intro to Coach is a required course for registered coaches working with Initiation (5-6 year olds) and Novice players (7-8 year olds); however, it is not necessarily targeted to the inexperienced coach. This exceptional program shows coaches how to teach hockey's basic skills while keeping the theme of their practices with an emphasis on fun and fundamentals.

This program follows the Community Sport Stream and the Long Term Player Development stages of – Discovery, Fundamentals 1, Fundamentals 2.

Qualification Requirements

Qualification is based solely on attendance. 100% attendance is required.

There is no prerequisite course to the Intro to Coach. Participants who successfully complete the program will receive TRAINED status upon completion of all components --On-line modules, Classroom and On-Ice Sessions.

Course will consist of 12 on-line coach modules, 1.5 – 2.5 hours of classroom time and 1.5 hours ice time.

Coach 2 - Coach Level


The NCCP Coach Level course is the first level of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) within the Community Sport Stream. This Coach Level course follows the competency based education and training method of learning and is an excellent course for all new and recreational level coaches. The NCCP Coach Level will provide an introduction to player development and will teach coach knowledge, skills and attitudes in the following areas:

  • How to communicate effectively with athletes and parents.
  • How to support the athlete in a team environment.
  • How to support the athlete in the training environment.
  • How to support the athlete in a practice environment.
  • How to support the athlete in a game environment.

The NCCP Coach Level emphasizes basic skills and the importance of having players develop confidence, self-esteem and a love for the game.

Coaches will complete the Hockey University E-Learning Modules (1-12).  Upon completion of the On-Line Modules, Coaches will register for a Coach Level Clinic which will consist of a 2.5 hour Classroom Session and a 1.5 hour On-Ice Session.  Once both on-line modules & clinic is completed the Coaches will be considered TRAINED.

This program follows the Community Sport Stream and the Long Term Player Development stages of – Learn to Play, Learn to Train.

Please Note: if the On-Line Modules have been previously taken as part of the Intro to Coach Certification, Coaches will only need to attend the Level Coach Certification Clinic.

Coaching Training

Who Should Attend?

All coaches coaching 9-17 year old players; Atom, Peewee A, B, C, D, Bantam A, B, C, D, and Midget A, B, C, D.  Coaches must have the Coach Level Trained status.  If Coaches have a D1 Certification they still must still be Trained at Coach Level.

Development 1


The NCCP Development I course is a two day clinic starting on Saturday morning and concluding late Sunday afternoon. Coaches attend a minimum of 12 hours of classroom and 2 hours of on-ice instruction and/or observation. A Pee Wee AA team, or higher quality, will be needed in conjunction with the clinic to provide the coaches with the necessary tools for the weekend.

This program follows the Competition Introduction Stream and the Long Term Player Development stages of – Learn to Train, Train to Train.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone who is coaching Peewee AA, Bantam AA, Midget AA, Midget AAA, Junior Hockey and Senior Hockey.

All coaches looking for a continuing education opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the game. The Development I clinic is targeted at those coaching in the competitive stream.

The Coach will be considered TRAINED when:

  • Currently has Coach Level or completion of Hockey University Coaching On-Line Modules 1 thru 12
  • clinic attendance
  • EAP (Emergency Action Planning) to be completed in the classroom portion of the clinic.

The Coach will be considered CERTIFIED when:

  • Completion of the D1 Post Task 
  • MED (Making Ethical Decisions) Online evaluation for Competition-Introduction is completed on the CAC (Coaches Association of Canada) website.
  • Field Evaluation of a practise

To view the graph please CLICK HERE.



The Checking Skills Clinic consists of four progressions – Angling, Stick Check, Contact Confidence and Body Checking.  Body Checking is the last progression to be taught.  The first two – three progressions of checking need to be introduced long before players play their first game of Bantam hockey.  These taught progressions will make the players transition from Peewee to Bantam a more rewarding and enjoyable experience.  Clinic presentations, group work, delegate discussions and individual reflection are supplemented with in class demonstrations and on-ice applications. It is not the intent of this clinic to train coaches to be experts, but rather to identify the key fundamental of checking and being checked. The degree of success that coaches experience depends on how readily the core values are accepted, and our ability to take this learning from the clinic to our communities and grow the game.

Who Should Attend?

The Saskatchewan Hockey Association Checking clinic requirement is to have the Head Coach listed on a team certification form from Novice to Midget, to have attended and certified with the Checking clinic.  The content of this course focuses on much more than simply “Body Checking” and is therefore recommended for Novice, Atom and Peewee coaches as well.

  • Novice and Atom Head Coaches need ONLY complete the on-line portion of the checking training.
  • PeeWee - Midget Head Coaches must complet BOTH the on-line AND in-person portions of the training.

Qualification Requirements

Qualification is based on a combination of on-line modules and in-person attendance. 100% attendance is required.

There is no prerequisite course to the Saskatchewan Hockey Association Checking Skills Program.

Course will consist of 2.5 hr. classroom time and 1.5 hr. Ice time

*Once both on-line modules & clinic is completed the Coaches will be considered TRAINED.


This clinic is now available online through Hockey University (HU-SAFETY), visit the TRAINING & CLINICS page to get started.

The Hockey Canada Safety Program utilizes a proactive, preventative, common sense approach to keeping our children safe. The goal of the program is for the safety people to implement effective risk management programs with their own teams where player safety is the first priority at all times, both on and off the ice.

Additional information can be found on Hockey Canada’s website.

The safety person:

  • must conduct regular checks of players’ equipment. 
  • is responsible for promoting proper warm up and conditioning techniques as a form of injury prevention. 
  • coordinates plans for road trips, tournaments, etc. and assists in the overall supervision of the team. 
  • establishes medical history files on every player and caries these files and the team first aid kit on every outing. 
  • implements an Emergency Action Plan for the team and through this is prepared to react in the event of accidents, injuries and medical emergencies. 
  • manages all injuries, learns to recognize serious injuries and refers injured players to qualified professionals. 
  • must assume a leadership role in promoting the values of safety, fair play and integrity.


One of the coaches on a team staff in all levels from Novice thru midget must have this certification.

Goaltending is a critical aspect of team play and requires direct & consistent unique coaching skills. As forwards and defenders get specific coaching for their respective positions, goalies require the same attention and guided skill development. The objective of goaltending clinics are to develop coaches knowledge, skills, and drills to enhance the play of their goaltenders. The process includes two parts; in class session and on ice.

In Class Session:

  • mini-lectures, discussions, and videos

On Ice Session:

  • On ice session with demonstrations of key skills:
    • Skating
    • Stance
    • Movement
    • Positioning
    • Save Selection
    • Puck Control
    • Puck Handling

To view more information click HERE.

High Performance One

The NCCP High Performance I seminar will feature professional speakers delivering sessions featuring topics such as specialty teams, yearly planning, offensive/defensive individual tactics, offensive/defensive team play systems, goaltending, Mental Training, Off-Ice Training and many more.

Past guest speakers have included coaches from a wide range of levels and teams, including University, Junior, Minor Professional, Europe, and National Hockey League coaches.

The NCCP High Performance I Seminar is held every two (2) years in Saskatchewan and is targeted at those coaches who have significant coaching experience, and want to pursue High Performance coaching opportunities with competitive athletes.

Saskatchewan Hockey Association –2019 NCCP High Performance I Seminar Topics

  • Ethics & Leadership in Coaching
  • Teaching and Leading Techniques
  • Physical Preparation
  • Planning to Preform
  • Mental Preparation
  • Player Evaluation and Selection
  • Game & Bench Management
  • Team Building
  • Effective Use of Technology
  • Power Play
  • Penalty Kill
  • Offensive Team Play
  • Defensive Team Play
  • Goalie Coaching
  • Advanced Skill Analysis
  • Leading Drug Free Sport
  • Coaching Pathways
  • Conflict Management    

These are the requirements for all Head Coaches in Bantam AA, Midget AAA and Juinor A.

To view the graph please CLICK HERE.

Coaches Job Descriptions

Head Coach

  • Serve as the official spokesperson on behalf of the team
  • Coordinate the delegation of responsibilities to the assistant coach and manager
  • Plan on and off-ice activities in consultation with the assistant coach
  • Organize parents meeting to inform them on the team's hockey season plan
  • Coordinate player evaluation and selection in conjunction with the Association mentor
  • Plan, implement and control pre-game preparation and communication with the team
  • Design the practice plans in consultation with the assistant coach
  • Coach the team in all games and practices
  • Establish rules for the team and oversee the supervision of the players
  • Submit a year end report which contains the following information - evaluation of players performance, evaluation of team's performance, outline of practice plans and game strategy and recommendations on how the program can be improved.

Assistant Coach

  • Assist with player evaluation and the player selection process
  • Assist with planning, organizing and conducting practices
  • Assist with pre-game preparation
  • Assist with the operation of the team during the games
  • Assist with scouting and evaluation of opponents
  • Assist with the supervision of players off and on the ice
  • Assist with the formulation of the game plan
  • Submit a year end report to the head coach containing player observations
  • Report to the head coach

The following qualifications can be applied to both the Head Coach and the Assistant.

Coaching Qualifications

  • Coaches must meet SHA certification requirements for that age category (see the following Certification Requirements)
  • Strong hockey background in playing, coaching, evaluating
  • Strong interest and commitment to child/athlete development
  • Ability to work with fellow coaching personnel
  • Ability to communicate on and off-ice requirements to players and parents
  • Available to meet time requirements

Communicating with Players

These are some questions that a coach or assistant coach should consider when dealing with players:

  • How are your team rules communicated to the players?
  • How do you instill a sense of motivation into one or more players?
  • Do you see yourself as a role model for the athlete?
  • How do you handle the player who does not get along with teammates?
  • What approach will you take to individual and team discipline?
  • What is your approach when dealing with players who have suggestions?
  • How would you handle a situation where there is jealousy between two players or where two players dislike one another?
  • How do you handle behavior changes of your players at the specific age group?
  • What makes players of this age-group different from adults?

Communicating with Parents

These are some questions that a coach or assistant coach should consider when dealing with parents:

  • How you would handle a parent who has a different philosophy or game plan than yours?
  • What is your approach when dealing with parents who have criticisms and/or complaints?
  • What is your approach when you hear that a parent is criticizing you "behind your back" and hasn't approached you on their own to discuss the concern?
  • How would you approach the parent who is excessively vocal and negative in the stands knowing that it is affecting either their own child or the team?
  • How would you handle a complaint from a parent that his/her child does not play enough?
  • How would you handle complaints/accusations from a parent that the team's budget isn't in order and that there may be money missing?
  • What are the most important steps in a dispute resolution?

Self Assessment – How am I doing?

A self-evaluation is a useful tool for personal development. At a minimum, it creates an introspective look into an individuals personal coaching style and motivations. It can target strengths and weaknesses, and may lead to realizations about barriers to effective coaching style.

The following sets of questions can help you articulate your philosophy of coaching as well as the atmosphere of your team and practices.

  • How do I want players to interact on the ice?
  • What resources should be available to my players?
  • What was the most important thing I tried to teach the players this week, month?
  • What is the most important thing my players will learn from me this season?
  • What did I learn from my players this week?
  • Did I reach my coaching goals?
  • Are the players having fun?  Am I having fun?

Checking Progression


The NCCP checking model is based on the principle that checking should be taught in four logical steps. Each step builds upon the previous step and brings the hockey player that much closer to being able to give and receive body checks competently and confidently. › More (Link to Attached PDF introduction.pdf)

Step 1 – Positioning Angling

Angling can be considered the first line of defense for a player. Body and stick positions are important in checking without making contact. This section will examine angling as one technique of checking (Step 1) without making contact. › More

Step 2 Stick Checks

Stick checking may be considered the second line of defense as angling forces the opposition to a position where contact can be made with the stick. › More

Step 3 – Contact Confidence (Body Contact)

Body contact is the third step in the progression and is used to gain separation, when a player positions his/her body between the puck and the puck carrier. › More 

Step 4 – Body Checking

Body checking is the final step in the 4 step checking progression. A body check can be defined as body contact primarily caused by the movement of the checker. The checker uses their body for the purpose of stopping the attacking progress of the puck carrier and/or to separate the carrier from the puck. › More


For more information please contact:
Blaine Stork
Senior Coordinator of Development Coaching
Saskatchewan Hockey Association
Tel (306) 789-5101

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