Learn to Play

In-House players are all registered in the Waltham Youth Hockey program and play amongst themselves. The primary goal of the program is for the players to have fun and develop an appreciation for the game of hockey.  The focus is to develop basic skills in a fun atmosphere with plenty of encouragement from coaches and parents.


Learn to Play (In-House) players are typically 5-8 years old and should have completed at least one year of Learn-to-Skate, or have taken skating lessons.


The season typically starts on October and runs through Late March.


Practices and games are held at Veterans Memorial Rink in Waltham and John A. Ryan Rink (the JAR) in Watertown on occasion.


There is typically one practice per week. Early in the season, Mites will skate together as one large group. Once teams are formed, they will practice with their own team.


Teams will participate in one game per week. At the end of the season there is an In-House Stanley Cup tournament, the highlight of the season.


Each player will receive a team jersey after they have been placed in November with their In-House team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Tykes (Learn to Skate) and In-House (Learn to Play)

The Tyke program is a learn-to-skate program.  Most of the children are between the ages of 4 and 6.  If your child is older and cannot skate, we suggest they start with the Tykes and then move up to the Mites as soon as they are ready.  Tykes start by first learning to catch their balance pushing a milk crate.  As skills progress, the players will move to other areas of the ice where the focus is on skating skills such as edge control, stopping, backward skating and agility.

What is the difference between In-House (Learn to Play) and Travel Hockey?

Travel team hockey has a higher level of time and travel commitment than the In-House program, with travel players generally skating 3 to 4 times per week (1 to 2 practices, 1 skill session and 1 game). Travel games will be a mix of half-ice format and full-ice.  Practice and skills for travel teams are typically at the Waltham rink.  Both home and away games are played at rinks that are anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes away from Waltham.  Cost of the travel programs are proportionally more expensive than the in-house programs.  The travel season runs from early September to late April.  Travel teams will also typically participate in 1 to 3 short tournaments per year.  Tryouts for travel teams are held in the spring for the following year’s teams.  In-house programs are open enrollment.

How does the season progress?

Around Thanksgiving, the Tykes will continue to develop skating fundamentals and hockey skills.  They will have some cross ice internal scrimmages as the year progresses.  If a Tyke, especially an older child, has developed sufficient skating skills, we will discuss with the parents the potential for moving up to the In-house Mites by December.  A Tyke who moves up to the Mites by January 1st will be required to pay the added cost of the Mite Program.


The Mites will skate in large groups between for the first portion of the season, focusing primarily on skating skills.  Evaluations will be made before the end of the calendar year and all in-house mite participants will be assigned to a team at that time.  The remainder of the season will consist of a team practice and game each weekend.  Ice times will vary as noted below.  


All games are run with a 2 minute buzzer.  Each team will run 3 lines, A B & C, based on skill level for 2 minute shifts.   Each line will only compete against its counterpart from the other team (i.e. A line vs. A line, B line vs. B line, and C line vs. C line).  All games will be run with the half-ice format.


At the end of the season we will have our In-House Stanley Cup Tournament (or Beanpot Tournament depending on number of teams that year), which always ends up being the highlight of the season for players and parents.


What Equipment is Necessary?

All players are required to wear a helmet with a cage.  Full equipment is recommended for all skating sessions at the Tykes level, and is required at the In-House Mite level.  Tykes, especially the younger players can wear heavily padded snow pants and gloves at the beginning, when pushing a crate.  Sticks are usually incorporated after November for both levels.

Can I go out on the ice with my child?

Parent coaches are encouraged and all coaches are required to wear a helmet on the ice.  Parent helpers are required to sign a Waltham city rink waiver and fill out a CORI form. 

To coach at the In-House Mite level, a coach must attend a Level 1 USA Hockey clinic.  Registration for clinics is done through the www.usahockey.com website.  

Waltham Youth Hockey will reimburse a coach who completes the clinic and is registered as a Level 1 coach by USA Hockey.  USA Hockey holds a number of clinics each fall.  There are generally no Level 1 clinics after December until the following season.  USA Hockey requires that all coaches on the ice be Level 1 certified by December. 

Brendan Campbell

In-House Director


In-House Mites Registration Open in the Fall of 2023.

Confirm Delete
Click the delete icon again to confirm. Click escape to cancel.