AHA offers two programs for young or first time skaters. Our Learn to Skate (LTS) and Learn to Play Programs (LTP) are designed to help new skaters learn skating and playing skills necessary to advance them into our Travel Program.
The Learn to Skate Program (LTS)
The Amherst Hockey Association offers new skaters eight years old and younger a place to learn to skate and learn basic hockey skills. The LTS Program's primary objective is to help skaters have some fun while learning to skate safely. One goal is to develop hockey skills and enjoy an experience that could lead skaters and their families to participate in the AHA Travel Teams (available to all ages). Skaters are placed in groups that best match their ability and age at the beginning of the program. The LTS Program has three divisions:
- Blue (beginner): First-time or new skaters; emphasis on skating skills
- White (intermediate): 2nd year in the program; emphasis on skating and basic hockey skills
- Red (more advanced): 3rd year in the program, or 2nd year with improving skills; increased emphasis on hockey skills and introduction to team play
Each LTS skater must have ice skates, shin pads, elbow pads, gloves (hockey gloves are not required; heavy winter gloves are OK), an HECC approved helmet with cage/face mask and a hockey stick. [Printable quipment information (PDF)].
While the program generally runs from early November to late February, we are unable to run it at this time due to lack of ice availability and restrictions related to ice rink use and hockey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay tuned to the home page for details on the program running later in the winter or spring.
The Learn to Play Program (LTP)
This is a hockey program offered by the Association. This program stresses skill development and hockey concepts. Its goal is to prepare skaters for Travel Teams. Skaters with equal skill levels will be placed together so that drills flow more effectively during practice time. Depending on the number of skaters in each group, creating additional groups of equal skill levels is an option. Inter-squad scrimmages will occur from time to time; teams will be created with team balance in mind. Girls have the option of being on an all-girls team or a co-ed team.
This program is available to any skater with birth years 2012 and younger (i.e. skaters 8 and under). New skaters should participate in Learn to Skate first. Older skaters are expected to participate in the co-ed Travel program , girls Travel program or the girls house team. Players should spend no more than two (2) years at this level before moving on to a Travel Team or the all-girls house team.
Full hockey equipment is required. Because of the age and abilities of skaters in this group, it is mandatory that a parent or an adult responsible for that child remain in the rink at all times while their child is in the rink.
The Association will offer one or more novice teams in the second and third sessions of the GSL Novice Program if there are enough children who meet the USA Hockey and GSL requirements. The Novice teams will play one hour cross ice games against teams from other GSL associations. These games will be 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 with reduced sized nets and no goalies and take place at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield.
The 2020-21 program will be different from other years due to limited ice availability. There will be six practices from late November through January on Saturday afternoons at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield (practice dates are 11/28, 12/12, 12/19, 1/9, 1/16 and 1/30). Games will run Sunday mornings starting November 29, 2020 through the end of February 2021 (no games Dec. 27, 14 games total).
This year, we are offering families the option to participate in practices only, or both practices and games. Visit the registration page for pricing and to register.
For more information on these programs, please contact AHA President, Krisztina Filep at
or LTS/LTP Coordinator, Thomas St Laurent, Jr. at