"From the eyes of an 8-year-old, a full-sized hockey rink looks a lot bigger."
Those words opened a USA Hockey video designed to educate and deliver a reality check. The game is hard enough for grown men and women on an NHL-size 200-by-85 foot rink. For children 8 years old and under, it's akin to skating from New York to Los Angeles and guarding a net the size of One World Trade Center.
The goal of USA Hockey's American Development Model is to encourage cross-ice games at the 8-and-under level nationwide in lieu of competing on full-size rinks. Those who played a pick-up game recently on Dollar Lake in Eagle River, Wis., were provided a harsh perspective as to why.