Girls Hockey 101


While girls hockey is similar to boys/co-ed programs in many ways, there are key differences that make playing girls
hockey in Ontario a unique experience for players.

Governing Bodies

Girls hockey in Ontario is governed by the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), a member of the Ontario
Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada. OWHA governs all levels of women’s hockey in the province and operates
outside of and under different rules than those bodies governing boys/co-ed programs.


Girls minor hockey offers divisional groupings as per Hockey Canada: U7 (under 7), U9 (under 9), U11 (under 11), U13 (under 13),
U15 (under 15), and U18 (under 18). Divisional placement is based on year of birth. In some circumstances, girls may be provided opportunities
to play in a higher division, but are never able to play down.

Division Selection by Year of Birth (2023-24 Season)

U7 (2017, 2018, 2019)
U9 (2015, 2016)
U11 (2013, 2014)
U13 (2011, 2012)
U15 (2009, 2010)
U18 (2006, 2007, 2008)


Girls hockey provides various programming options for players depending on their interest, skill and commitment level. A brief introduction to these programs can be found below, but please refer to the Programs section of our site to learn more.

  • Introductory
    • FUNdamentals (U7) - Learn the basic skills required for hockey (full season)
    • Intermediate FUNdamentals (>U7) - Learn the basic skills required for hockey (full season, opportunity to transition to appropriate age group before end of season)
    • NHL/NHLPA First Shift Program (5-12) - hosted by home associations, the First Shift Program’s goal is to ensure a positive experience for new-to-hockey families by removing barriers and intimidation as it relates to equipment, rules, etc. (6 sessions, option to finish season with home association)
  • House
    • Open to all players in the appropriate age division
  • Competitive
    • Teams are selected via tryouts and tiered based on competitive level.

Player Pathways

As OWHA operates under Hockey Canada, girls associations are required to follow Player Pathways to support long-term player development. Additional information.

Why Girls Hockey?

The benefits of females playing female hockey are reflected on both the skill development and the social aspect of the game. It is important for girls to have the opportunity to interact with teammates and be leaders on their teams. The skill level of female hockey has increased dramatically and girls today have the opportunity to compete at a high level and still benefit from the social and leadership side of the game as well. -Hockey Canada

Want to know more?

Frequently Asked Questions for Women’s and Girls Hockey (Hockey Canada)
Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Website

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