The Arctic Lions and Alaska Grizzlies are competitive youth ice hockey programs serving the Fairbanks North Star Borough and its surrounding areas under a unified umbrella as Fairbanks Youth Hockey. Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, the two organizations are currently seeking young athletes in all age groups for their upcoming hockey season. Teams are being formed for the following levels: Grizzlies Academy (ages 3-8), Arctic Lions 10U, 12U, 14U and 16U and AK Grizzlies 10U, 12U, and 14U. Player ages are per the USA Hockey age chart for the upcoming season.
Competitive travel hockey is an exceptionally rewarding experience for youth. The Arctic Lions and Alaska Grizzlies organizations give some of our community’s most talented and committed young men and women the exposure and opportunity to develop their skills while representing the interior of Alaska. In addition to access to elite level training and coaching, hockey teaches our kids so many valuable life lessons such as discipline, teamwork, leadership, and accountability. Our mission is to provide and implement a positive learning environment for young players to gain the maximum benefits of participating in a competitive sports program. We believe in challenging them to embrace school academics, demanding dedication to sportsmanship as individuals and teammates both on and off the ice, enhancing skill development, developing good work habits, helping them set goals and plans to reach those goals. Our goal is to develop great people as well as players. We believe in setting and achieving goals, not just scoring them!
Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions and other useful information about our programs and the wonderful hockey community in the greater Fairbanks area. Let's get started!
AT WHAT AGE CAN MY CHILD BEGIN ICE HOCKEY WITH THE ALASKA GRIZZLIES?
Youth as young as four years old (3 yrs old) have participated in the Alaska Grizzlies Academy program. Typical development schedule for aspiring hockey players is participation between five and six years old (5-6) when they skate for the Ice Puppies program and seven to eight (7-8) when they skate for the Jr Grizzlies program.
WHAT AGE DIVISIONS DO THE ARCTIC LIONS & ALASKA GRIZZLIES OFFER?
The Alaska Grizzlies follow the USA Hockey ADM Recommendations for age splits and fields competitive travel teams at the following age groups:
- Grizzlies Academy (Ages 3 to 8)
- 10u AA and A (Ages 9 to 10)
- 12u AA and A (Ages 11 to 12)
- 14u AA and A ( Ages 13 to 14)
- 16U AA (Ages 15 to 16)
HOW DO I REGISTER MY CHILD TO PLAY FOR THE ARCTIC LIONS OR ALASKA GRIZZLIES?
In order to make the process a more enjoyable experience for the parents, the registration process is completed online directly through the Fairbanks Youth Hockey website (separate registration periods will coincide with the various seasons/programs). Click here to go to the Registration Page on this website.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT A SEASON OF ARCTIC LIONS OR ALASKA GRIZZLIES HOCKEY TO COST?
Season costs can vary widely between age groups as more ice time, travel fees, and clothing requirements are introduced as the athlete ages. For more information regarding specific programs and potential costs that are related to each, visit specific program pages.
WHERE DO THE ARCTIC LIONS & ALASKA GRIZZLIES PRACTICE & PLAY
The Grizzlies skate primarily at the Big Dipper Ice Arena and UAF Patty Center for practices and games locally in Fairbanks. There are also rinks in nearby North Pole (Polar Ice Arena) and Ft Wainwright that may be used occasionally for skates in either a practice or game capacity. All rinks have great ice, locker rooms, concession stands, rental skates, & friendly staff to assist you and your athlete.
CAN WE TRY IT FIRST
Alaska Grizzlies may offer a Try Hockey for Free session. There is also a 30 day money back guarantee if you register for the Hockey Learn to Skate 6U or Hockey Learn To Play 8U programs. If your athlete joins during the current session, pro-rated costs are available with board approval.
WHAT IF MY CHILD NEEDS TO LEARN TO SKATE AND WHERE CAN THEY SKATE
The Alaska Grizzlies have several specialized programs to teach your child to skate, including the Learn To Play and Learn to Skate programs. For those players wanting to skate on their own, there are several open skate and pond hockey sessions at both the Big Dipper Ice Arena and the UAF Patty Center Arena. Both are located in Fairbanks.
WHEN DOES THE SEASON START AND HOW LONG IS IT?
It will depend on your child’s age and hockey division. Registration and evaluations for teams will typically begin in early August. The season will end in March or April depending on your child’s age and hockey division. The Alaska Grizzlies have several Learn to Play programs throughout the year and players may join at any time with a pro-rated fee. Please check out our Learn To Play Hockey page to see when the next Learn To Play program will be starting.
HOW OFTEN DO TEAMS PRACTICE AND HOW MANY GAMES DO THEY PLAY?
Fairbanks Youth Hockey uses a variety of rinks throughout the Fairbanks North Star Borough which allows all teams to practice a minimum of 2 times per week. The number of games that your child will play will vary depending on which level they are playing at. Most teams during the season play a minimum of 1 game per week with some teams playing 2 to 3 times per week or weekend.
WHAT HOCKEY GEAR DOES MY CHILD NEED?
The Alaska Grizzlies follow USA recommendations in regards to required hockey gear with several items suggested, but not required. USA Hockey suggests the following items at a minimum for your young hockey player:
- Hockey helmet with full face guard
- Mouth guard
- Shoulder pads
- Neck guard (optional)
- Elbow pads
- Hockey gloves
- Hockey Pants
- Garter belt or Hockey shorts with velcro
- Sports protective cup
- Hockey socks
- Shin Pads
- Ice Hockey Skates
- Hockey Stick
- Practice Jersey (provided by association)
For athletes in the Beginner Program and some younger division, rental equipment may be available from the association. For more info regarding rental equipment, contact a AK Grizzlies Board Member. In addition to rental opportunities, much of the required equipment can be obtained used, as children generally out-grow their equipment before they wear it out. The AK Grizzlies host a Gear Swap in the fall in conjunction with evaluations and is another great opportunity to get outfitted or trade-up for larger gear at the start of a new season.
WHERE CAN I GET SIZED OR PURCHASE ICE HOCKEY GEAR?
There are several shops in the Fairbanks North Star Borough area to purchase ice hockey gear. Play It Again Sports In Fairbanks has the largest selection of hockey equipment in town and has friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand to help assist you in making sure gear that is purchased is sized correctly for your athlete.
HOW DOES A PARENT GET INVOLVED WITH THE ARCTIC LIONS & ALASKA GRIZZLIES?
The Alaska Grizzlies welcome all participation in the organization. We feel that member participation is the best way to give your child a quality experience that builds players for life. Parents serve as Team Managers, Finance Managers, Clothing Coordinators & most staff volunteer positions during our Host Tournaments. We encourage all of our families to get involved & are grateful for your donated time & talents in every aspect of our organization! Contact any of the Board of Directors Or check out the "Community" page to see areas that you can get involved.
WHAT IS THE USA HOCKEY AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT MODEL (ADM)?
The Alaska Grizzlies utilize USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) as a basis for athletic development in all our youth athletes. In partnership with the National Hockey League, the ADM provides age-appropriate guidelines & curriculum to hockey associations across America to help more kids play, love & excel in hockey. We encourage our families to read about this highly regarded program that is used world-wide which focuses on age-appropriate athletic development of our kids while having fun as they learn to play and love the game. USA Hockey also has a great resource guide to introduce new families to hockey Come Play Youth Hockey.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER LEARN TO PLAY?
Depending on their age and ability, the players will move to a team at the 10U age division.