By @MichaelCaples –
Some lucky youth hockey players will be playing in a Saturday morning hockey league at Little Caesars Arena this fall.
The Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League and the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association have created a 8U fall hockey program that will be housed at the new home of the Detroit Red Wings.
The LCAHL 8U Division will feature USA Hockey American Development Model approved cross-ice games for eight teams in “Yzerman” and “Howe” divisions; the divisions will alternate Saturdays in a 19-week schedule full of hour-and-a-half timeslots at LCA from September through March.
In the press release announcing the new league, the LCAHL and MAHA state that they are both “strong supporters of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, and they have attempted for many years to encourage associations to come together to play half-ice hockey in a league format. The new league is the latest attempt to encourage half-ice and cross-ice hockey at the 8U level of play; MAHA and the LCAHL hope to expand the league in future seasons and illustrate the potential of full USA Hockey ADM adoption.”
The league is the first formal youth hockey announcement regarding the new arena in Detroit, which is expected to be completed on Sept. 1.
“The LCAHL has been around since 1978 and it has always been viewed as a national leader in terms of scheduling, programming, and being a platform for each association to collaborate on the structure of youth hockey in the state of Michigan,” said LCAHL manager Andrew Stewart. “Over the past few seasons, we developed ‘Jamboree at the Joe’ events and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participating teams. With Little Caesars Arena opening in the fall, we wanted to do something even bigger; we wanted to create something so good that the whole country will look into at what we are doing here in Michigan.
“It’s great to see a full commitment of USA Hockey’s American Development Model from top to bottom, and it is starting with some of our state’s recognized programs who have fully integrated the USA Hockey model and are coming together at the youngest age level. Our hope is this division will spark an interest for all associations to commit to full adaptation of the ADM, and, through our league, we can continue to build and shape the landscape of youth hockey together.”
MAHA president George Atkinson echoed similar sentiments.
“Having teams compete using this format will really help build the skills they need for future levels of play,” said MAHA president George Atkinson. “We are very thankful to LCAHL for adding an Yzerman and Howe division to the league at these age levels, and what a treat to have them play their league games at the new arena in Detroit.”
The new league will feature a trophy that is presented annually to the top teams – winners will see their names engraved into the new hardware. According to the release, it’s safe to assume that there may be a few Red Wings-related surprises along the way, as well.
USA Hockey ADM regional manager Bob Mancini gave his seal of approval on the new endeavor.
“Congratulations to the Little Caesars Hockey Amateur Hockey League and the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association in partnering once again to take the lead in providing an age-appropriate pathway for youth players 8 and under,” said Bob Mancini, regional manager for USA Hockey’s American Development Model. “The LCAHL 8U half-ice league should prove to be another positive step in the development of players of this age.”
Teams interested in participating in the new league can contact Andrew Stewart at Andrew.Stewart@LCAmateurSports.com.