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Parents: Looking for a youth hockey roadmap?

By Chicago Blues Hockey Club, 05/01/17, 8:30PM CDT


With the recent successes of the Chicago Blackhawks and other factors, many Chicago-area youngsters are looking to play the coolest game on earth. Of course, the responsibility for making it happen comes down on the parents – the young ones just want to hit the ice!

With that in mind, the Chicago Blues Hockey Club is providing this step-by-step guide for parents who are looking to get their child started in youth hockey. No matter where your son or daughter is in their development, the Chicago Blues offers a program that fits your needs.

The Chicago Blues Hockey Club is a Tier 2 travel hockey organization that fields multiple teams at every age level from Pre-Hockey to Mites to Midgets. The mission of the Chicago Blues Hockey Club is to provide an instructional environment aimed at developing highly competitive hockey players as well as providing programs for the beginner or recreational player. Following is an outline of the three programs offered for eight-year-olds and under.

All of our programs are held at the Edge Ice Arena, which is owned and operated by the Village of Bensenville. We pride ourselves on providing a clean, safe and well-maintained, family-friendly facility. The Edge is located at 735 East Jefferson Street and 545 John Street in Bensenville, IL 60106. The telephone number is 630-766-8888.

Pre-Hockey Program

Pre-Hockey is a program structured so your child will have the opportunity to learn the basics of hockey from experienced professional instructors in a relaxed, non-competitive and fun atmosphere. No skating or hockey experience is needed. Our classes concentrate on skating basics and confidence building, following USA Hockey’s Long-Term Athletic Development Model (ADM) guidelines.

Although all players develop at different rates, we believe that every player has the potential to be great. The goal is to maximize his/her hockey playing experience through a perfect balance of fun games and skills training. Our philosophy is designed for each child to develop self-confidence, promote fair play, meet new friends and develop a life-long interest in this great sport.

Because our classes are introductory in nature, we do not require complete hockey equipment. We do require your child wear a HECC-approved hockey helmet with face-mask, hockey elbow pads, shin pads, hockey gloves, jersey and has a hockey stick. Rental skates are available, but purchasing correctly-sized quality skates is of great benefit to the skater. Equipment can be purchased at the Edge Pro Shop or Pure Hockey, located at Route 83 and St. Charles Road in Elmhurst.

Upon completion of our Pre-Hockey Program, it is our goal to have prepared your child to be ready to join a house league team. Your child may then enjoy the excitement of playing hockey with children of his or her own age and skill. Evaluations take place on the final class of each session to determine if your child should return to Pre-Hockey session or move up to a FutureBlues U8 Developmental team.

Also, we need volunteers! Do you enjoy working with children? If so, don’t be afraid to come and help out. You don’t need to be a great skater. Enthusiasm and support are all that is required. We will provide you with the rest. If you’re interested in assisting our regular staff of instructors, please indicate your interest in the “Coaches” section of the on-line registration form. Thank you for your help and support of our program

U-8 Developmental Hockey League

Players born from 1/1/2011 to 12/31/2013 are invited to join the best developmental hockey league in the country. We will be following the USA Hockey American Development Model to provide the best possible experience for your young hockey player. At ages six to nine years old, our objective for physical development is to refine fundamental movement skills and begin to acquire the sport’s basic skills.

As far as psychological development goes, we focus on providing FUN, motivating practices and games, developing reasoning skills through unstructured competition, building confidence by creating competitive groups which will allow for a high rate of success and promoting individual and group participation, maintaining a “no excuses” atmosphere and introducing the participants to simple rules and sports ethics (fair play).

The format of our program is to have practices be split into four groups based on ability. We recognize that each player is unique and develops at a different rate. By creating parity within each group, we can better serve the needs of each player on an individualized basis. Players will have more fun by practicing at their own level, and coaches will be able to create a more competitive atmosphere with the games and competitions in practice.

Competition will consist of half-ice games with our new hard board system splitting the ice in two. Competitive matching will be the rule to create parity among teams. By splitting the ice in two, we create more opportunity for each young player to get involved in the game and thus use their skating, puck-handling, agility and shooting on a more frequent basis.

This program is run by Rick Patrone. All practices will be conducted under his direction. If you are interested in becoming a youth hockey coach, please indicate so in the “Coaches” section while registering your child for the league on the Chicago Blues website. All coaches will be required to attend the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program workshop and complete the USA Hockey 8 & under online coaching module as well as be screened and fingerprinted.

Chicago Blues Travel Hockey / Mites

Our philosophy for Mite hockey, including the travel level, will be to continue to emphasize the recreational enjoyment of the sport, while developing fitness, skills and fun team play. We will follow the USA Hockey American Developmental Model (ADM) recommendations for youth hockey which encourage an environment where children can learn the basic skills without the distractions that are often associated with an overemphasis on winning. Mastery of the fundamental skills and the fun of playing are essential to the development of a lifelong interest in hockey.

Mite travel hockey is designed to be an entry point into competitive hockey. As part of this process it is important to ensure a measure of parity among the participants.  Therefore, the Chicago Blues will hold tryouts for this Mite level team for players ages 6 - 8. Participation on a travel level team involves two weekly practices and power skating session on alternating weeks. Additionally, Mite teams will participate in cross-ice practice games and Jamboree tournaments in the months of September, November and December.

Participation at this level is for the more advanced Mite-level player, and participants are selected based on the assessments of the coaches and hockey director for this age level.

Tryouts are structured over a four- to five-day period. Tryouts for the highest level team are scheduled on the first and second day of tryouts, followed by successive team(s). 

Registration for clinics and tryouts will open August 1. Please check out the Blues website at or contact Rick Patrone at for more information.