The NHL/NHLPA First Shift Hockey Program

The Fun Starts Here

The NHL/NHLPA FIRST SHIFT program is designed to ensure a positive experience for new-to-hockey families. We want families to experience the game at its best — to understand why so many Canadians feel an inherent love for the sport, and to stimulate a desire for continued participation. We want to take away any intimidation as it relates to equipment requirements, and/or rules of the game, remove potential safety concerns, and most importantly, provide an experience that is memorable and fun.

Our Goal

We believe in all hockey has to offer kids, their families and our communities. We designed the NHL/NHLPA FIRST SHIFT to facilitate entry into hockey by offering a program that is ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE, SAFE, and most importantly, FUN! We cannot wait to help your kids fall in love with hockey.

Logo The Program

The NHL/NHLPA FIRST SHIFT makes hockey;

  • Affordable
  • Manageable (time commitment)
  • Safe
  • Fun!

Participant registration fee of $299 includes:

  • BAUER Equipment (Head-to-Toe)
  • Welcome Event
  • Equipment fitting demonstration
  • Expert fit session and equipment distribution

Program Capacity

  • A Program Maximum Capacity: 45 participants, 10 on ice instructors
  • B Program Maximum Capacity: 30 participants, 7 on ice instructors

On-Ice Experience including;

  • 6 Weeks, 1 session/week, 1 hour on a consistent day and time
  • Focus on Fun and Learn to Play
  • Insurance for participants

Hockey Canada On-Ice Curriculum

Hockey Canada has created a fun curriculum that focuses on:

  • Small areas games and skills stations active
  • Wide variety of skating skills, puck handling, passing and shooting exercises
  • Discovering the sport through variety of basic motor movement patterns
  • Fun games to ensure participants enjoy a full range of hockey experiences

Praise and encouragement will serve as the foundation of the instructor’s approach to working with all participants.

What’s Next?

The Transition Program

The Transition Program is intended to provide families a path forward to ensure continued participation in hockey. Following the initial 6-week On-Ice Trial, families will have the opportunity to participate in a program hosted by the Minor Hockey Association. Details will vary slightly from location to location and program to program, but the parameters of every offering will fall in line with the key principles of the NHL/NHLPA First Shift. The Hockey Canada on-ice curriculum is progressive; moving from a Learn to Play, through the fundamentals of skating and hockey skills, on to a 3 on 3 play environment.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift is a program designed to ease kids and their families into the sport of hockey in a fun and friendly environment. We begin with a Welcome Event offering information and activities to help build kids’ confidence to make them and their parents more comfortable in the hockey environment. There are 6 sessions – one per week on the same day, at the same time to make it convenient for parents to schedule. The focus of the on ice sessions is fun, teaching kids basic skating and fundamental hockey skills through play.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift kicks off with a Welcome Event which is our opportunity to welcome you into our hockey community. We will introduce kids and parents to the local program administrators, and coaches, provide an overview of the 6 week program, and offer important information about proper fit and maintenance of equipment, as well as a demonstration on “how to get dressed”. After the 15 minute information session, each child is individually fitted for the equipment he/she will collect and take home- ready to start the first session!

All skaters are on the ice together at one time. However, the instructor/skater ratio of 1:4 ensures participants will be divided into small groups according to age and skating experience level.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift program is split into two segments depending on your Minor Hockey Association’s program application. The limit will either be 45 or 30 skaters depending on which the association has chosen.

The ratio of instructors to skaters is 1:4 which allows instructors to create smaller groups within each session, and provide maximum individual attention.

Your son or daughter will have fun! In addition, participants will move at their own pace, through fundamental skating and hockey skills. The program runs 6 sessions, which allows kids time to build confidence and improve in order to experience a sense of achievement.

Our goal is to create a path forward for each child that participates in the NHL/NHLPA First Shift, with programming that continues to be accessible, affordable and fun. Your local minor hockey association is encouraged to offer a Transition Program with similar program parameters in terms of the length of the program, consistent timing of sessions, and cost. Information on the Transition Program will be available over the course of program. You may also enquire about local Minor Hockey Association registration with your program administrator.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift is open to children ages 6-10*, who have never previously enrolled in minor hockey within Canada or the NHL/NHLPA First Shift program.

*To be eligible to participate, children must be born between January 1, 2014 and May 1, 2019.

Your child does not need any equipment to enroll. Each participant will be expertly fitted at our Welcome Event and will take home all the equipment ready to start the NHL/NHLPA First Shift program.

To find out if there is a program available in your area, visit and click on LOCATIONS . If so, either contact your local program administrator or simply click REGISTER.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift program is offered on a first come, first serve basis. However, we understand the logistical challenge parents face juggling kids activities. Therefore, we do try to accommodate siblings for the program as long as your son (s)/daughter (s) are between the ages of 6-10 and have never previously registered to play hockey.

The $299 registration fee covers the 6 week program, player insurance, as well as head-to-toe hockey Bauer equipment.

You will receive an invitation from your local minor hockey association for the NHL/NHLPA First Shift Welcome Event, generally 2 weeks prior to your child’s first on ice session. At the Welcome Event your child will be expertly fit, and will bring home all the equipment required to play hockey.

At the NHL/NHLPA First Shift Welcome event we provide important information on proper fit and maintenance of equipment, including a demonstration on “how to get dressed”. Following the information session your child will be expertly fitted for each piece of equipment to ensure the proper fitted. Once your child has been fit head-to-toe, he/she will take all the equipment home in preparation for the NHL/NHLPA First Shift on-ice session.

Yes. Once you complete the NHL/NHLPA First Shift program, you keep the equipment.

Yes. Your local minor hockey association will send out a weekly newsletter with information on the program objectives for the session, what your child learned, along with highlights and maybe a few photographs capturing your kids in action.

The Program Administrator at your Association is your best resource for any questions. You may also email [email protected].