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Learn to Play Hockey


Kent Valley Hockey Association would like to welcome you to the wonderful sport of ice hockey. With the NHL here in Seattle there has never been a more exciting time to become involved in the sport. For over 18 years, it has been KVHA’s goal and desire to promote and grow the sport of hockey from the ground up, in a fun, engaging, and energetic atmosphere. KVHA, the coaches, and the staff are delighted to take part in your journey as you enter into the world of ice hockey!

Kent Valley Learn to Play Programs

Kent Valley offers programs for beginning level boys and girls to experience and learn the basic fundamentals of skating and playing hockey.   Once a child has completed one learn to skate series*, they can join our Hockey 1 program where they will learn preliminary hockey skills and continue to develop their skating.  After graduating our Hockey 1 program, the next stage of participation is in the Hockey 2 program which prepares a player for joining a competitive team. For more information on each program click the links to the right. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) continue reading below and be sure to take time to read the information within our website. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call us at (253) 478-3612 or email us

*If skater can get up on their own and march on the ice without a walker or skate helper, they can join Hockey 1 without doing a learn to skate series prior. 

Hockey 1

Learn the fundamentals of hockey

Hockey 2

Prepare to move to a competitive team

More information for new hockey parents

Ways to Start Playing:
The Kent Valley Ice Centre Learn to Skate program helps young skaters to become more confident on their skates before introducing a hockey stick and puck to the lessons.  Lessons start every few weeks throughout the year and are an excellent way to get started learning the basics of skating.  Click HERE to visit the Kent Valley Ice Centre’s website and learn more about the available Learn to Skate class options.

The Kent Valley Hockey Learn to Play program focuses on skating skills, but also teaches the basic skills of stickhandling, shooting and passing.  The Learn to Play (LTP) program is done in full gear, and players experience the thrill and challenges of trying to skate, use the stick, and handle the puck simultaneously.  The LTP Program is available to beginning level boys and girls ages 4 to 12 years old.  

What comes next?
At the end of each 6-week series, each player will be evaluated.  This evaluation will determine if the player is ready to move up to the next series of Learn to Play or a Rec team. 

Rec Teams:
The goal of the Learn to Play program is to graduate the players to their own teams.  The Rec teams generally practice twice a week and play games on the weekends against other local teams in the Metropolitan Hockey League (MHL).  Games are non-hitting and designed to be fun, yet competitive.  


Still more information:

Age Divisions
Learn to Play program is for younger skaters ages 4 to 12.  The following are the USA Hockey age divisions by birth year for the 2023-24 hockey season:

  •   8U ... 2015-2017 (cross-ice games)
  • 10U ... 2013-2014 (half-ice games)
  • 12U ... 2011-2012
  • 14U ... 2009-2010
  • 16U ... 2007-2008
  • 18U ... 2005-2006

Ice hockey is a contact sport, thus requiring proper equipment to keep everyone safe. All players need to have the following HECC approved equipment before they take the ice.

  • Hockey helmet with full face cage/shield
  • Shoulder pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Ice hockey pants
  • Shin pads
  • Ice hockey skates
  • Hockey gloves
  • Hockey stick
  • Athletic supporter with cup for males and pelvic protector for females
  • Mouthguard (required for all ages)
  • Jersey and hockey socks

The Kent Valley Ice Centre Pro Shop carries all of the above items at competitive prices. The staff can help fit your child with the proper equipment to make sure they are ready to go.  Here is a helpful video from USA Hockey that explains how to dress your new player:

Parents who would like additional information are encouraged to read the USA Hockey Parent Handbook which can be viewed at

Is the sport of hockey safe for my child?
Yes. Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that ice hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth hockey is a different game than the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey places a stronger emphasis on sportsmanship and friendly competition and contact/checking is not allowed at the rec levels and only allowed at the 14U and 18U rep levels.  No fighting is allowed at any level.

Kent Valley Hockey Association subscribes to USA Hockey's "American Development Model."

Please click upon the ADM logo on the left for a wide range of ADM training and information resources for coaches, team officials and parents. You may e-mail Les Grauer at if you have any questions regarding ADM.