The Alaska Grizzlies Academy is a specialized curriculum designed to advance youth athletes by leveraging modern training techniques - USA Hockey American Development Model (ADM) - with the acquisition of sport specific skills in the game of hockey. Development for our youngest athletes within or program is achieved by focusing on reduced player to coach ratios (sometimes down to a 1:1 ratio) and grouped skill sets. Creating a safe training environment with low numbers that includes a program cap, a mitigation plan that will help keep the kids on the ice during this trying time, and registration by semester are just a few of the ways we help keep players with like skills growing in the activity they enjoy.

We invite you to grow with us this season. With advancement in mind, the development season is broken down into two semesters (with bonus spring/summer classes available). The first semester runs in the fall for a Christmas advancement into the second semester beginning just after the New Year. Spring and summer classes, if available, start in the spring months. Participation in the fall semester is not a requirement to participate in the winter session or available spring/summer classes. We'll be offering assessments and fun skates for all registered players to get their legs under them for each semester kick off and grouping. A brief overview of each curriculum within the Academy is listed below:

Learn to Hockey

Our intro class to hockey focuses on skating fundamentals for the new to hockey athlete and lays the groundwork for the sharpening of the skills addressed down the development line in Ice Puppies and Jr Grizzlies classes. As the athletes learn the art of skating, eventually learning to skate on their own without the help of tools, they begin to learn and advance agility and balance skills. We focus on fun, motivating sessions that develop a love for the sport and their teammates. This intro class to the Academy is typically offered once per season, but accommodations can be made for the athlete wanting to try hockey out.

1 session per week |  (Available Fall semester only)

Ice Puppies  

Our Ice Puppies are on their feet and ready to start learning how to move with the puck and with teammates. The athlete focuses on learning the basics of stopping, edge work, passing, and shooting through an encouraging and enjoyable environment with the use of skill development games the kids respond to. The athletes will begin to progress into the basics of youth hockey and continue to work on skating. These skaters will join coaches and their team for two ice practices a week, usually Saturday and Sunday and include skaters from 4-8 years of age grouped by skill.

2 sessions per week 

Jr Grizzlies

Our Jr Grizzlies are skaters who have developed control of their skates and puck handling and are working to learn more about team play in addition to the continued development individually. We also offer a Jr Grizzlies Advanced curriculum for athletes working hard to make it to the next step as an Alaska Grizzlies competitive player and later, to become an Arctic Lion as they develop with us through the world of competitive hockey. The Jr Grizzlies Advanced players are also offered additional ice and opportunities to play in jamborees and tournaments in the state. All Jr Grizzlies skate at least two times per week, usually on Saturday and Sunday with optional skill sessions and games during the week when available. These players can be from ages 5-8.

2 sessions per week 

We know that developing a love for a sport often starts at the beginning of participation. That's why we have developed the Grizzlies Academy to lay the foundation for future acquisition of more advanced skills through fun, motivating practices and games. By creating a program that focuses on developing reasoning skills through unstructured competition, we can build confidence in our athletes through competitive groups. By grouping athletes in similar age, size, and ability groups, we can assist in building skill of all our younger or new to the sport athlete appropriate to help them continue on their hockey journey. With each paid registration, your athlete will receive a practice jersey and helmet stickers to match their skill group.

USA Hockey Registration. Players who register for the Grizzlies Academy are required to register with USA Hockey. Each USA Hockey membership is good for one year (12 months). To complete the process of registering you can go here.

When can I register? Watch for more information on registration and other skate opportunities.


Skater Age: (Ages 3 to 8 as of December 31st)

Season Start Date: September @ UAF Patty Center

Season End Date: Early March (program breaks for major holidays and school breaks)

Spring/Summer Classes: Starts in April (available by demand)

Player to Coach Ratio Avg: 3:1 (sometimes 1:1)

Ice Sessions: 45-50 minutes

Ice Location: UAF Patty Center

Required Equipment: For a detailed list of equipment your athlete may need, click here

Assessments: Yes

Power Up Program: If your player would like the opportunity, you may be offered additional ice time for $100 per 5 ice tokens.

Program Contact: Nicole Valentine (Program Coordinator) 907-388-5190

Welcome to USA Hockey

Coach's Corner

Sample practice plans for our coaches at the 6/8U level can be found here:

USA Hockey 8U Practice Planning

USA Hockey 6U Practice Planning

Hockey Canada Timbits Under 7 Plans

For more information about coaching, practice plans, and coaching support - reach out to Alaska Grizzlies Academy On-Ice Coordinator Beau McBrien at (907) 978-8621


Looking to Join a team?

We don't believe in closing registration for the current season. Find out more about how you can pro rate your experience this hockey season.


To help you make the decision if our Grizzlies Academy program is the right fit for your young athlete, we've listed a few common questions and answers below regarding the program.

Have more questions? We'd love to answer them. Get in touch with the Board of Directors or call (907) 328-0549.