Fun Hockey For Kids

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Last update 1-15-17

As part of the the Reston Raiders Organization we try to make it easy for families to recieve answers responsively, we have put together a list of questions and answers for families, that are just starting with the Raiders to families that need to understand more about the processes.

Starting out with Hockey...

  1. What equipment does my child need to play hockey?
    • From the start of your young hockey players hockey beginning at mites, All youth hockey players are required by USA Hockey to wear full gear, and can receive a penalty or removed from the ice if they don't have it. This equipment is for the protection of the players and is NOT optional. It is required to participate in the Reston Raider hockey program both House and Travel. Equipment can be purchased in the Pro Shop at SkateQuest or order online . CLICK HERE for a full list of equipment.
    • IP Programs are the exception where 
  2. Does my child need to learn how to skate before signing up for the Raider programs?
    • Yes. In order for your child to get the most enjoyment out of the ice hockey experience they should be comfortable with skating before joining a league. 
  3. Can my child go directly from beginning hockey skating lessons to playing on a team in a league? 
    • We recommend that players take Initiation Programs One and Initiation Programs Two classes before joining a league. Some players who have a lot of roller hockey experience make a good transition without taking ice hockey classes, but all will benefit from learning to play the game of ice hockey before joining a league.
  4. How much does the equipment cost?
    • It's no secret that hockey is an expensive sport. And to enjoy hockey to its fullest you must have specific equipment that fits properly TODAY, NOT equipment that you will "grow into". Hockey skates will be your biggest and most important investment. Youth skates cost anywhere from $80-$160. Your next most important investment is a helmet. Helmets with cages start at about $55.00-$100. However more expensive helmets are usually more comfortable and are also adjustable with growth. Padding comes next. Youth sized shoulder pads are approximately $45.00, kneepads $35.00, and elbow pads $30.00, Hockey pants $35-$60. Under garments are not as expensive as the other items but are just as important when it comes to comfort. Compression shorts with jock built in and Velcro tabs are approximately $40.00. Hockey socks are about $13.00. Gloves are about $25.00, neck guards are $12.00 and mouth guards are $12.00 to $20.00. Ice hockey sticks start at about $30.00 for junior sizes. You may buy any of these items at SkateQuest. We recommend that equipment be fitted by a knowledgeable salesperson if the parents are not familiar with it.
  5. How do I know what level my child will play at?
    • USA Hockey has identified age ranges for ice hockey players that are based on birth years. Age divisions for the current year are listed on their website. CLICK HERE
  6. My child has never played hockey before. Can he/she play at a lower level? 
    • Participants in the House program should have graduated from the Raiders Initiation Program, but at a minimum should have prior hockey experience (camps or lessons) and/or should have skating skills as established in the Learn to Skate program at SkateQuest (or equivalent) or the Star 1 / Pre-Alpha Level.  Please refer to http://www.skatequest.com/group-lessons/# for the skills chart and conversion sheet.   If a parent of a player who is of Mite or Squirt age is uncertain of whether they have the requisite skills for the house program or it is unclear to the Raider Registrar whether a player has the requisite skill, an evaluation by the IP Director will be made and the director will determine whether the player is ready for the house program or needs to be placed in the Initiation Program.  Please contact the IP Director, Henry White, at   for questions regarding the requisite skills needed and evaluation requests. 
    • Reston Raiders House players usually have a wide range of skills on any one team, and coaches try to match experienced players with comparable players on the opposing team when team selections are made. Balancing our teams to ensure fair play and optimum player development is of paramount importance and will take precedence as coaches select the teams and finalize rosters. 
  7. How do I register my child to play hockey with the Reston Raiders?
    • Each season an email is sent out to the Raider Families that have registered previously.

Both Beginner and Seasoned Families.....

  1. What is the hockey season?
    • Registration for the winter hockey season is usually starts in July with practice starting in late August or the first part of September. House teams are selected in September and then start to play games in October. The fall/winter season ends the first part of March for house teams. Some travel teams go beyond that date. Spring league starts in April and finishes the end of May. Many camps and clinics are offered during the summer months as well as open stick times for all age levels. 
  2. Can my child play up into another age division? 
    • This not recommended by the Reston Raiders nor USA hockey, this would need approval from the governing rules of the League and Organization.
  3. At what age do players start body checking?
    • Under USA Hockey rules, players at the Bantam level are permitted to body check during games. Coaches at Peewee levels should begin to teach the players how to check and how to take a check so as to prevent injury.
  4. How do I determine what level my child should play at (house or travel)?
    • There are many variables to this question. One consideration is the amount of travel associated with a travel team. In Reston Raiders our travel teams can do a significant amount of travel, House Select teams may travel once or twice during their season but compared to house which has no travel associated with it. You need to make the commitment to travel and expenses associated with travel, tournament cost, hotels, and driving/flying.
    • This question goes through the minds of parents everywhere.  What is the next step for my child and when should this step be taken?  This is where you, as parents, should talk to and ask the hockey coaches and hockey directors that have been on the ice with your child, what the next step is.  They are knowledgeable as to what skills and at what stage of development within particular skill sets (edge skating, stick handling, shooting, passing, etc..) determine whether a child is ready for the next step into travel hockey or if it is better to wait.  Further development in house league and learn to skate hockey programs is more beneficial in order to hone those skills rather than to get ahead of the game and proceed into travel hockey prematurely, just because it is travel hockey.  All kids develop on the ice at different times. Talk to your child's coaches in the house program and on the travel side so you can begin to understand the transition when the right time to take that next step forward is evident.
  5.  My son/daughter is in high school and plays House, is there a high school league? Can they play House and High school
    • Yes, but the Raiders would like for the players that have High School teams to play on their High School team first, but if their school does not have one then House would be accepted.
  6. What type of Insurance do I need for Hockey?
    • All players are registered in USA Hockey. This provides insurance coverage but is not necessarily intended to be the player's primary insurance. For more information about USA Hockey's insurance, please see www.usahockey.com
  7. My child says they want to play goalie. Do I need special equipment? 
    • Goalies are one of the most integral parts of a hockey team. They do require special equipment that is more expensive than the normal player. If your child is a Mite, the Raiders provide goalie equipment to the team. Because of the individual characteristics of each player (size, weight, tendencies, right vs. left handed, etc.) the league can not stock all the equipment necessary for the goalies at the age groups past Mite.
  8. How do the coaches select the travel teams?
  9. Does the Raiders organization follow USA Hockey commitment for "Zero Tolerance"? 
    • Yes, the Reston Raiders  are committed to the "Zero Tolerance" policy regarding use of foul language, fighting, poor treatment of officials and use of illegal substances. Players are expected to conduct themselves appropriately at all facilities and all team events. Players, team representatives and parents who cannot abide by the rules will be disciplined. All players and parents are expected to sign a "Code of Conduct" at registration.
  10. Are there skating lessons available?
    • Yes, there are a variety of lesson through the Raiders and SkateQuest, please look through the websites for more detail.

Registration Questions....

  1. How do I register my child to play hockey with the Reston Raiders?
  2. How do I determine what level my child should play at (house or travel)? 
    • There are many variables to this question. One consideration is the amount of travel associated with a travel team. In Reston Raiders our travel teams can do a significant amount of travel, House Select teams may travel once or twice during their season but compared to house which has no travel associated with it. You need to make the commitment to travel and expenses associated with travel, tournament cost, hotels, and driving/flying.
    • This question goes through the minds of parents everywhere.  What is the next step for my child and when should this step be taken?  This is where you, as parents, should talk to and ask the hockey coaches and hockey directors that have been on the ice with your child, what the next step is.  They are knowledgeable as to what skills and at what stage of development within particular skill sets (edge skating, stick handling, shooting, passing, etc..) determine whether a child is ready for the next step into travel hockey or if it is better to wait.  Further development in house league and learn to skate hockey programs is more beneficial in order to hone those skills rather than to get ahead of the game and proceed into travel hockey prematurely, just because it is travel hockey.  All kids develop on the ice at different times. Talk to your child's coaches in the house program and on the travel side so you can begin to understand the transition when the right time to take that next step forward is evident.
  3. What do Travel Players playing in Spring house register for?
    • Travel players register for the next level
      • Example: if they Travel squirt the will play peewee house.
  4. What birth year is Bantam/Midget House? 
    • 2002 and under
  5. What does "returning players" during registration mean?
    • A returning player that has been previously registered from the previous season. Any player that is registered during an adjacent season Fall to Spring or Spring to Fall will be considered a returning player. If a player does not wish 

What should I do if my question is not on this list?

If you have additional questions about Reston Raiders Hockey or need more specific information, please contact or email our Board members for further help.