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MAHA Announces Michigan '8u Hockey Plus Program' for January 2024

By MAHA, 09/26/23, 5:00PM EDT


New program focused on transitioning 2015 birth years to full-ice hockey

September 26, 2023


The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) will launch its first ‘8u Hockey Plus Program’ in January 2024. Approved by USA Hockey for an official launch in the 2023-24 season, the new program represents a defined path of transition for 8u hockey players into full-ice hockey, prior to their introduction into the 10u classification the following season.

Inspired by ADM player development programs, the 8u Hockey Plus Program will consist of an 8-to-10-week schedule of regional games, consisting of teams made up of exclusively 2015 players. All participants must have competed in its association’s half-ice program between September 1st and December 31st of the current season. The new program concept will run concurrently with each participating association’s regularly-scheduled 8u season calendar, starting in January 2024, and concludes with a season-ending tournament in March.

 “We’re very excited that USA Hockey has granted MAHA approval to launch this new program,” MAHA President George Atkinson explained. “With this new concept in place, we offer a clear path from Learn to Skate to Cross-Ice Hockey – and then a transition to Full-Ice Hockey during the proper development window for those players moving on to 10u hockey the following season.”

The MAHA will organize and run the regional games, as well as the season-ending tournament. While the program is intended for 2015 players participating in their local association, exceptions may be granted for a combined association program if two neighboring associations do not have enough players to field a team by themselves.

MAHA Director of Operations & Marketing Jason Reynolds believes the new program serves as a learning opportunity for young players, as well as young officials.

“8u players will get an early adjustment to all of the facets of the full-ice game – new playing area, spatial awareness and traditional game rules,” Reynolds said. “With that in mind, the new program also serves as a potential training ground for young officials as well. The increased on-ice experience will instill confidence in their management of the game.”

MAHA will offer an informational Zoom call on Thursday, October 5th, 2023 @ 8pm for all organizations, coaches and managers interested in participating. Program details, as well as Q&A, will be addressed at this time.

For immediate questions, please contact Hockey Events Manager Jon Hosking at