New to Hockey

Everything you need to know about starting your hockey journey...

Hockey is based on birth year, not age or grade. Our youngest players typically start in the House League Minor Mite program after getting some confidence on skates, either through their own practice or completing Learn to Skate classes through the Winnetka Park District. Once a child has some confidence on skates, it's time to get them on a team!

Winnetka Hockey Club offers multiple programs across different levels of play throughout the year:

  • Fall House League
  • Fall Travel
  • Winter Minor Mite Development Program (MMDP)
  • Winter House Select (for Mites, Squirts, Peewees)
  • Spring ADM (American Development Model) - for those newer to Hockey
  • Spring Travel
  • Summer Warrior Academy

All programs are co-ed!

Just learning to skate or hold a hockey stick? Check out the Winnetka Park District's Weekend Warriors Learn to Skate, and Learn to Play programs.

House League

Program Focus:

  • Recreational hockey for ages 4+
  • Designed to give children of all levels the opportunity to play hockey in an equal play environment
  • Great for younger kids learning the fundamentals of the game, and for older children who want to play but don't want the commitment of travel hockey
  • All teams are coached by parent volunteers


  • Kids are generally on the ice 2X a week on weekends
  • Season begins with pre-season clinics & evaluations in September, with practices and games typically starting in October
  • All kids are evaluated and placed onto a team, and then practice/game schedule will be shared
  • Consistent game/practice times which allows for participation in other sports/activities
  • Friend requests can be made
  • Jerseys are included as part of the program

MMDP, House Plus & Spring ADM:

The Minor Mite Development Program (MMDP) and House Select (Mites, Squirts Peewees) programs begin around early December. Both are designed to give these House league players extra ice time, typically 2 additional sessions per week. It's a great way to get more of a challenge to see if your player is ready to move on to Travel.

Spring ADM is for those newer to hockey.


Program Focus:

  • More competitive hockey league, generally for ages 6+
  • Mite, Squirt, Pee Wee, and Bantam teams (Bantam teams compete as the North Shore Hockey Club)
  • Great for kids who want more of a challenge and team dynamic
  • Professional coaching staff along with parent assistant coaches
  • Player development follows our "Green line" characteristics


  • More of a commitment, kids are on the ice 4-5X a week between practice, skills clinics and games
  • Typically 2-3 tournaments per team per year (sometimes out of state)
  • Tryouts are in August with practices following team placements
  • Kids are placed onto teams based on skill level (no friend requests may be made)
  • Season begins with pre-season clinics and tryouts in August, with practice and games starting in September
  • Regular season goes through the end of February and ends with playoffs in early March.

Spring Programs:

Spring Travel is similar to the fall. Tryouts will take place in March and players will be placed on a team based on their skill level beginning the first week in April. There are fewer games in the spring, as the primary focus is on skills and player development. Some teams will play in tournaments. The season is eight weeks.

Required Equipment

Click here to see what equipment your child will need to play hockey

Player Development

Click here to see how WHC approaches player development and our core curriculum.

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