Frequently Asked Questions - Ottawa Senators Youth Leagues

1.What’s the difference between our 4-on-4 league and the new 3-on-3 league?

Studies have shown that skill development can be drastically enhanced when players are playing on a surface that has been adjusted to their age. Say "hello" to 3-on-3 half-ice hockey!

Transitioning from full-ice to half-ice hockey encourages more puck battles, more changes in direction and more scoring opportunities. When players are forced to play in tighter spaces, they are doubling their touches on the puck, producing six times more shots on net and passing to teammates more often when compared to traditional full-ice games. As the pace of the game increases, goalies will see more shots per minute and shots from different angles, helping them develop their skills even faster than in traditional hockey. Quite simply, it can be more fun and more beneficial for many IP, Novice and Atom aged players. It can also serve as the perfect compliment to full-ice 4-on-4 hockey which provides players the chance to develop different skills as they are given more time to control the puck in open ice and develop a keen sense of spacial awareness.

Click here to view the Spring 3-on-3 League

Click here to view the Spring 4-on-4 League

Click here to view the Summer 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 League


2.When will I get the schedule?

The League schedule will be available two weeks prior to the start of the season. Once released, it will be made available online and participants will be notified via e-mail. Please note that due to the size of the league, west-end games can take place on any day of the week and exclusively for the east-end, games will take place on specific days. All 3-on-3 league games will take place on specific days.


3.How do I know what team I’m on?

The team rosters will be made available one week prior to the start of the season. As the schedule is released two weeks prior to the season, you’ll already know the dates of your games, prior to knowing your son/daughter’s team (as all teams in a division are scheduled to play on the same game days). Releasing the roster one week prior to the season allows league coordinators to create teams that are as balanced as possible. Once released, the rosters will be made available online and participants will be notified via e-mail.


4.Why can’t I request more than one friend and/or my own team?

We are excited to be able to allow two friends to play together who may not otherwise have the chance to do so, however the League would like to encourage participants to meet new friends from various associations, who they may not otherwise play with in their regular season. Balancing rosters can prove to be overly challenging when “groups” of friends are placed together. Roster adjustments are also significantly more difficult, as a player may have to be traded to a different team away from the rest of the group. As such, we are unable to accept anything other than one-to-one friend requests. This policy allows league coordinators to ensure teams that teams are as balanced as possible for the good of ALL players.


5.How do you balance the teams?

Upon registration, each participant must provide information about their past playing experience. With this information, we try our best to form as balanced teams as possible – ensuring that each team has a similar skill level as a whole, including a similar number of recreational or competitive players and girls and/or boys. If we notice any discrepancies as the league begins, balancing trades will be move players between teams (while continuing to honour one-to-one friend requests). Only players affected by balancing trades will be notified of the moves.


6.Should I play Recreational or Competitive?

Participants should register according to the level at which they played during the 2018-2019 minor hockey season (or at the “recreational” level if they did not play hockey this season). All competitive registrants must already have experience this season playing competitive hockey to participate in a competitive division, in order to protect the advanced nature of the program. At the IP level, we recommend strong IP skaters (in the top 30% of their IP association) or those playing their third year of IP to register in IP Advanced. All others should register in IP Intermediate.


7.Can I play in both the 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 league?

Absolutely! We will ensure that the start times for the 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 games and the same facility will not conflict – that means more hockey for you!


8.What is the goalie attendance policy?

Goaltenders must notify a league coordinator at least 36 hours’ in advance of any expected absence, so that we are able to find a substitute for their team. There is a “Two Strike Attendance” Policy which each goaltender must sign prior to the start of league play. For more information, please contact us at  [email protected] / [email protected] 


9.Can I substitute goalies/players if I know notice an absence?

Please do not substitute goalies/players on your own. Our coordinators and game-day staff will find substitutes for each team as they are needed and will communicate with the league’s full-time goalies prior to contacting spare goalies.


10.Why are there no coaches?

The goal of the league is to encourage creativity and give each player time to develop skills on their own and with their teammates, in an atmosphere that prioritizes fun. Having no coaches, will allow players to think outside of the box and make decisions on their own.


Ready to register your child into our Ottawa Senators Youth Leagues? Click here!

Still have questions? E-mail us at [email protected] / [email protected] or call us at (613) 599-0222