Teton Valley Foundation Youth Hockey 

Girls, Learn to Skate, Mini-Mite and Mite Programs (4-8 year olds) 


Frequently Asked Questions from new skate families: Welcome to Teton Valley Foundation Youth Hockey and our Girls, Mini-Mite and Mite, or Learn to Skate programs!  This is where – for many children – a lifelong passion for hockey and skating begins.  For many parents, this is also where a big commitment of time and resources begins – and for that reason we want to make your entry onto the ice as smooth as possible!  All of our beginner level programs offer two sessions so you can start with one, and grow into the other depending on your skill level, or try one, without the commitment of a full season. Below are many frequently asked questions regarding the Girls, Mini-Mites, Mites and Learn-to Skate programs. If there is a question we haven’t answered, feel free to email us at rink@tetonvalleyfoundation.org, and we will promptly answer your questions!  


Q: What is the “Mini-Mite” and “Mite” program? 

A: Mini-Mites and Mites is designed specifically for kids (both boys and girls) that are brand new to hockey and focuses on the fundamentals. Learning to move with confidence on hockey skates for the first time is a challenge, especially for kids ages 4-8 with shorter attention spans than older kids. The program combines fun, small area games, and instruction to ensure the kids have a great first experience with hockey. Mini-Mites is for kids ages 4 – 6. Mites is for ages 7 – 8.


Q: How old does my child have to be to play hockey?

A: The earliest age for children entering the program for the first time is 4 years old. For kids who are adventurous, athletic, social, or ambitious, they will do great at 4 years old. If your child is a little more on the timid side or less mature for their age—both physically or emotionally—we recommend they start with the Learn to Skate program at age 4. Learn to Skate helps build confidence on the ice prior to joining hockey. Our Learn to skate programs are designed with the same “Session I and Sesson II” dates as Mini-mites and Girls hockey.  This means that you can sign your child up for Session I Learn to Skate, and Session II of hockey!  


Q: Does my child have to know how to skate to participate in the Youth Hockey program?

A: Yes, but we will help them get there! USA Hockey studies show that a strong skating foundation is critical to success in hockey, as well as the amount of fun kids will have on the ice. It’s awfully frustrating for kids trying to coordinate stick & puck skills when their skating is weak. This can lead to a lack of fun, which is the opposite of what we are all looking to achieve for your child. Because skating skill is such an important foundational piece of hockey instruction, new players will be required to pass basic skating skills before they are able to fully participate in hockey practice. This is both for the betterment of the individual player and skill development, and for the greater good in allocating practice time to hockey instruction. The first practice of the season will be a skating class taught in conjunction with our skating coach. After the first practice, new players who need a little more help with skating will be required to attend a learn-to-skate session until they pass basic skating skills. Learn to Skate practices are offered at the same price as the Mini-mite and Girls hockey programs. If you’re interested in giving your child an extra boost with their skating skills, you should consider enrolling them in our Learn to Skate program which is designed to work for both beginner hockey players and beginner figure skaters. They can simultaneously do Learn to Skate AND Youth Hockey if they want extra skating instruction. Our Learn to skate programs are designed with the same “Session I and Session II” dates as Mini-mites and Girls hockey.  This means that you can sign your child up for Session I Learn to Skate, and Session II of hockey!  There are also open skate times available at the rink to work on fundamental skills without a stick or puck. 


Q: How long does the season run? 

A: The full 2021/22 season will run from November 8th to March 11th or 18th, depending on the age division/program. 


Q: Do I have to register for a full season of programming right away?  

A: We offer half season “sessions” for all of our beginner level programs.  Learn to Skate, Mini-mites and Girls hockey have the same session dates so you can easily find the program that works for your skater.  Session dates are as follows: 

Session I: November 8, 2021 – January 7, 2022, no practice Dec. 22 

Session II: January 10, 2022 – March 4, 2022

This is an EXCELLENT option for brand new players, we recommend registering for Learn to Skate for Session I then joining Mini Mites during Session II.


Q: How do I register my child? 

A: All players register online at tetonvalleyfoundation.ezfacility.comAs part of registration, you must have a current USA Hockey number which means you must also register with USA Hockey. It’s free for Mini Mites. Starting with Mites the USA Hockey/IAHA fee is $56 a year. 


Q: Why do I need to register with USA Hockey? 

A: Idaho Amateur Hockey Association, the governing body of youth hockey for the state, requires all participants to be registered with USA Hockey for insurance and safety purposes. USA Hockey & the IAHA support our program with grants, resources & training to better the program. 


Q: What equipment does my child need? 

A: Players need a full set of hockey equipment to participate. Rental gear includes: shin guards, elbow pads, hockey shorts (breezers), shoulder pads, gloves, practice jersey, helmet, and a game jersey (handed out for games).  

Equipment that is not included in the rental gear bag: 

  • Skates – Make sure your kids are properly fitted for skates; sizing will differ from their shoe size. Rental skates are available from the rink for $3 per practice.  Used skates can be purchased at the Hockey/Ski swap at the Kotler Ice Arena Saturday Oct 2nd, at Play it Again Sports in Idaho Falls, at Headwall in Jackson, or at Victor Outdoor Seconds in Victor. 
  • Supporter/cup/garter belt
  • Stick – Straight is a good option at this age 
  • Hockey Tape (stick and sock) – Can purchase at the rink. Used to tape hockey sticks, and hold socks up. 
  • Socks – Game socks are required for sanctioned games and are available to you at cost from the Kotler Ice Arena Proshop


Q: What is the refund policy if my child doesn’t like it? 

A: Mini mites are allowed two practices to try it out and see if they like it. After the first two practices we do not issue refunds. Exceptions can be made for a partial refund prior to January 1st if there is a serious medical reason (injury or illness) with a doctor’s note. 


Q: Will my child be placed with other children from his/her school? Can I sign my child up with a friend? 

A: At Mini-Mites & Mites, all the kids are on the ice at the same time. During practices, the kids are broken up into small groups and are with different kids each practice. 


Q: Do Mini-Mites /Mites have full-ice games? 

A: Mini-Mites and Mites is about the fundamentals of skating and they do not play in formal games. A few times a year, we will put the kids into teams and play cross-ice games. These events have a game-like atmosphere and are a great opportunity for friends and family to support their skater. There is one home cross ice jamboree (play versus other teams but for fun only, no score is kept), however we are still unsure of how that will look due to Covid. There are also optional travel events. 


Q: I’m interested in coaching, what are the requirements? 

A: Parent coaches are a vital part of any hockey program. USA Hockey mandates a designated level of coaching certification for each age classification. Mini Mite and Mite coaches will need to have the Level 1 certification course completed by December 31. In addition, USA Hockey requires an age-specific online module to be completed by each coach during the same time frame. Locations and dates of area coaching clinics can be found at the USA Hockey website, and may even be digital this year. All of our coaches are required to complete the USA Hockey Safesport training program, and a background screening through IAHA to ensure the safety of our youth players both on the ice and off. Email us to learn more about coaching at Cutthroats@tetonvalleyfoundation.org 


Q: Am I required to provide any other support to the organization? 

A: In order to continue developing our nonprofit Youth Hockey program, a significant number of volunteer hours are needed. Volunteer support helps create a sense of community among parents and keeps costs low. Teton Valley Youth Hockey requires parents of all players to volunteer at least four hours of time per season per child. This can include, coaching, supporting tournaments, fundraising, being a team manager, and more. You will need to agree to the commitment in the registration process. Parents will be required to present a $150 volunteer deposit check to ensure this much needed help is covered. Once the parent fulfills their hours, their check will be returned to them.

Birth Certificates: A copy of the birth certificate is required for registration of all youth hockey participants. You can scan it online when you register or bring a copy to the first day of practice. Without it your child will not be able to step on the ice.