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Mites & Girls 8U Program Information

Mite/U8 Level Guidelines

Level General Guidelines General Age
Beginner - Learn to Skate Co-Ed - Can perform basics of skating, one year or less of skating experience Pre K - 1st grade
Beginner - Intro to Hockey Co-Ed - Can skate and hold hockey stick, one year or more of skating experience Pre K - 1st grade
Intermediate Boys - Can skate forwards, backwards, handle the puck. Appx two years skating/hockey experience. K - 2nd grade
U8 Level 1 Girls - Can skate forwards, backwards, handle the puck. Appx two years skating experience. No evaluations conducted. K - 2nd grade
Upper Mites - Red Level Boys - third or fourth year of hockey. Evaluations conducted. 1st - 3rd grade
U8 Level 2 Girls - third or fourth year of hockey. Evaluations conducted. 1st - 3rd grade
Upper Mites - White Level Boys - fourth year of hockey. Evaluations conducted. 2nd - 3rd grade
U8 Level 3 Girls - fourth or fifth year of hockey. Evaluations conducted. 2nd - 3rd grade
Upper Mites - Black Level Boys - Most advanced of the upper mites. Typically fourth or fifth year of playing hockey. Evaluations conducted. 2nd - 3rd grade

Upper Mite/U8 Evaluation Schedule

Wednesday October 23rd - Timed Drills
Time Rink Group
5:45 - 6:45pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 1
6:00- 7:00pm Rec/St. Croix TCO North U8 Group 1
6:55 - 7:55pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 2
Friday October 25th - Timed Drills
Time Rink Group
5:45 - 6:45pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 3
6:55 - 7:55pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 4
7:10 - 8:10pm Rec/St. Croix TCO North U8 Group 2
Saturday October 26th - Day 2 skating Drills
Time Rink Group
12:35 - 1:35pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 1
1:45 - 2:45pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 2
2:55 - 3:55pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 3
4:05 - 5:05pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 4
5:15 - 6:15pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South U8 Group 1
6:25- 7:25pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South U8 Group 2
Sunday October 27th - Half Ice Scrimmage
Time Rink Group
9:35 - 10:35am Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 1
10:45 - 11:45am Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 2
11:55am - 12:55pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 3
1:05 - 2:05pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South Mite Group 4
3:25 - 4:25pm Rec/St. Croix TCO South U8 Groups 1&2




Welcome to the Stillwater Area Hockey Association (SAHA) 2019-2020 hockey season. We are excited to welcome our newest members to SAHA and welcome back our returning players advancing in the next stage of their development. As we begin a new season, I want to start with an introduction and share some exciting initiatives we will be rolling out this season.

My name is Dan Pavel. I am honored to be serving my first term as Initiation Director and SAHA Board Member on behalf of the SAHA members. I currently have two children in the program. Tyson (9) will be entering his first year of squirts and Mila (7) will be in her third year of U8’s. My wife, Sarah, has volunteered as a team manager, SAHA golf tourney committee and many other functions within the association. She is very invested in making SAHA the best program possible. Growing up, I played youth hockey and high school at No. St. Paul. I went on to play collegiately at the University of St. Thomas. Since college, I’ve coached at the mite/U8, squirt and pewee levels. Most recently, as a mite/U8 coach in SAHA for the last five years. Being involved in hockey for 30+ years and now our family has been a proud member SAHA for five years, has been an absolute joy. Some of the best friends throughout my life have come from being around the sport of hockey. It’s such a privilege being part of this program and the many great families we’re blessed to have in it!

As the new Initiation Director, my goals are to make the beginning hockey years an enjoyable, affordable and accessible experience for both the kids and parents of SAHA, while focusing on the fundamentals of the game, for all who want to play.

Here is how we intend to accomplish that mission:

  1. We will direct our coaches to the best way of teaching kids hockey fundamentals and the lifelong lessons associated with being a class act athlete. We will advise our coaches to teach the kids to respect and listen to coaches, be kind to their peers, and give exceptional effort. When that cycle of behavior takes place, it creates a positive path to success and enjoyment for the kids.

  2. The beginning years of hockey is where a child will decide if they enjoy the sport or not. We want give every child a chance to enjoy this game and come to the rink with a smile on their face. Whether their hockey journey lasts one year, three years of for a lifetime, at SAHA, we put all our resources around making sure the kids have fun!
  3. We do not allow for the practice of early move-ups for our Mite/U8 eligible players. The Initiation program will implement a proven path for progression by redefining the levels within the initiation program. The Divisions will include: Upper Level Mites/U8’s (level 2 &3), Intermediate Mites/U8 Level 1’s, and Beginner Mites (Co-ed). *All players with a birth date of July 1, 2010 or younger are expected to sign up for the Mite/U8 program.

  4. As the director, I’ll expect all SAHA members to respect the sport and all the stakeholders involved in it. As coaches and parents, we are their main role models, so we must act the part. The Initiation years should be filled with making friends for the kids and the families. We should all work for the good of the program to make this happen.  

  5. We will perform a skills assessment at the beginning of the season to determine player placement within the Upper Mites/U8’s. This process groups players within the Upper Division of the Initiation program based on similar skills and stage of development rather than by the player’s specific age and grade. The skills assessment will be conducted over 3 sessions in a low stress environment with the sole intention or properly placing the player at the appropriate level to ensure long-term success. The Upper Mites/U8 teams will be filled to form as equal of teams at each level as possible.

  6. Our Beginner Mite Program will benefit from the experience of several talented returning coaches. In order to ensure the best experience for our youngest players, we will informally segregate these players into two groups which consist of a Learn to Skate Group and the Intro to Hockey Group. This process, in addition to ensuring an appropriate number of players and coaches on the ice at a given session, will allow us to match our development curriculum with the appropriate skill level of our newest players.

  7. We will continue to enhance the Mite/U8 development experience by taking advantage of Minnesota Hockey’s rule change which provides our Upper Mite/U8’s with the opportunity to participate in a reasonable number cross-ice games, up to 6 full ice games, and a sanctioned Mite/U8 tournament. This includes competitive events with other teams in District 2. Our Intermediate/U8 Level 1 and Upper Mite/U8 2 and 3 players will also benefit from In-Season Training Opportunities with Professional Instructors.

The initiatives for this season are the result of a thorough evaluation of our Mite/U8 program and our continued commitment to providing our players with the best development experience possible.

Please refer to the updated Program Level descriptions and Registration Guidelines documents on the Mite and U8 Level program pages. It is essential to the development of our boys and girls that they are registered for the correct level. If you have any questions on which level might be appropriate for your son of daughter, please feel free to contact me. We will also be posting more information including the specific dates and times of the Upper Mite/U8 Division Skills Assessment on Mite/U8 program page in the coming months.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with our dedicated team of coaches, parents, and players in making the 2019-2020 season a great experience for all.

See you at the rink!

Dan Pavel – Initiation Director

Dan Pavel

PHONE: 612.227.0928

College Hockey:

  • University of St. Thomas - Varsity 1998-2001

  • NCAA National Championship Runners Up 1999-2000

High School Hockey:

  • No. St. Paul: 1995-1998 


Coaching/Association Board:

  • Coach - Stillwater Area Hockey Association: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

  • Pony Pride Hockey Clinic Instructor: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 

  • Coach - No St. Paul Pewees: 2004, 2005

  • Coach - Manitou Muskies 2009’s: 2019 

  • SAHA Initiation Director/Board Member: 2019


Please read through ALL of the information provided below BEFORE registering your player!

Click Here for what equipment is required!

Mites and U8 players must wear full gear. Click above for a complete list of what is needed. You can purchase these items at most sporting good stores in the area. A complete set of equipment (excluding skates) should cost under $200.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old does my child have to be to play hockey?
The recommended age for children who are entering the program for the first time must be 4 years of age as of July 1 of the year entering the program.  For those that are age 4 and those that are brand new to skating (regardless of age) we recommend that the child start in Beginner Mites (see Beginner Mite program description).  If a child has previous skating experience and are age 5 or older, they can participate in the Intermediate Mite/8U1 program.  If your child turned nine before July 1, 2019, they must play squirts (boys) or U10 (girls).  Mites and U8 is only for those who are 8 or under as of June 30, 2019.

Does my child have to know how to skate to participate in the SAHA Hockey program?
No, the Beginner Mite program is designed to teach all kids the fundamental skills that are required to play the sport of hockey. Skating is the most important skill and is heavily emphasized throughout the mites and U8 programs.  While the program is designed for players with very little skating experience we will informally segregate the Beginner Mite group into two groups:  Learn to Skate Group and Intro to Hockey Group.  If your Son or Daughter has no skating experience, we highly recommend signing your Son or Daughter up for the St. Croix Valley Recreations Center's Learn to Skate Programs prior to signing up for our Beginner Mite Program.  More information can be obtained at

How do I register my child?
Boys (mites) and girls (U8) MUST register ONLINE by clicking on the SAHA registration link on this page.   NOTE: All registrations for the SAHA hockey program must be accompanied by a USA Hockey Registration confirmation AND a copy of the official birth certificate for the participant. If your child participated in the SAHA last year, we have a birth certificate on file. If your child is new to the program, USA Hockey requires us to get and keep get a copy of the child’s birth certificate before processing the registration forms. 

Do I need to live in the Stillwater School District?
Generally yes.  However, if you reside outside of the 834 ISD boundaries but your child is enrolled in an 834 ISD and you intend to keep your kids in the Stillwater School District, you can request a waiver to play hockey for Stillwater.    

At what level should I sign up my child?
Please refer to the Program Descriptions and the Registration Guidelines provided on this page.

Will my child be placed with other children from his/her school? Can I sign my child up with a friend?
At Beginner Mites and Intermediate Mites/8U1 the program tries but does not guarantee that a child will play with others from the same school or friends. It is dependent upon number of teams, number of children registered, etc.  

Why are the fees higher for each respective Level?
The amount of ice time is increased at each level.

What do my fees include?  Are there any other costs or "team fees" that I will need to pay later in the year?
The registration fees for Beginner Mite, Intermediate Mite/8U1, and Upper Mite Red/8U2 cover ALL costs for the year (ice, jerseys, district fees, etc.).  Upper Mite Black and White and Girls 8U3 teams will be assessed a $200 program fee after the player skills assessment process is complete.  Further, teams are not allowed to charge team fees without approval from the Initiation Director.  The most common instance for team fees is if a team decides to have an end of season party, awards, or those types of things.  These costs are not covered in your registration fee.  You do of course need to supply your own equipment for your child as the fees do not cover individual equipment.

What is the refund policy if my child doesn’t like it?
Refunds are available until Dec 1st.  If you decide to cancel before December 1, you will receive 50% of your registration money back. 

How long does the season run?
The season begins in late October / early November and ends in late February or early March with a "Jamboree".    

How often do they practice?
Our Beginner Mites skate twice per week on Saturdays and Sundays for 45 minutes per session.  Intermediate Mite/U81 usually practice twice per weekend (once on Saturday and once on Sunday) and will play up to 5 games throughout the year at the Lumberyard for Mite Night Hockey Games.  The Intermediate Mite/U81 level practices are shared with 3 teams on the ice.  Mite/Upper Level Red/U82 skate on average of two times per week (Saturdays and Sundays) with up to 5 games which are usually on Friday nights.  The Upper Level Red/U82 level practices are shared with three teams on the ice for the 2019-2020 Season.  Upper Level White, Black/U83 practice on average of 3 to 4 times per week.   At the Upper Level White, Black/U83 level practices are shared with two teams on the ice. 

When do they practice?
Generally speaking, ice times are on Saturdays and Sundays between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  However, given the huge demand for ice time at all levels of the Association, there may be situations where Mites and 8U teams practice outside of the time periods listed above.