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2022 - 2023 Reston Raiders Learn to Play Program Description 


The Reston Raiders Learn to Play (LTP) program is offered to all children ages 4 – 10 years old (2012-2018 birth years). The program is based on the USA Hockey American Development Model philosophy and is intended to teach players the fundamentals of the game in a fun and supportive environment. The program will be led by USA Hockey Certified coaches from the Reston Raiders Hockey Club and supported by parent volunteer coaches.   


This program is designed for children who have little to no experience ice skating or playing organized ice hockey and is intended as a prerequisite for those children who wish to join the Raiders recreational House league Program and/or our Travel Program. 


General Information

Registration for 2022 - 2023 Season opens on June 13th 2022 at 9:00am


Program schedule and registration fees:

Learn to Play 1*: 8:30am to 9:40am Sunday mornings at Skatequest

Program Fees: $400 (approximately 20 on-ice sessions)


Learn to Play 2**: 7:20am to 8:30am Sunday mornings at Skatequest and varying times Saturday mornings, based on grouping (Loudoun Ice Center); 

Program Fees: $650 (approximately 40 on-ice sessions)


Program Goals

  • To have fun and grow a passion for the game.
  • To learn the fundamental skills required to play the game of hockey - skating, puck handling, scoring, body contact, and passing.
  • To be introduced to the concepts of cooperation and fair play.
  • To develop players so they are prepared to play in the Raiders Travel or House Programs.



  • No prerequisite skating or hockey experience is required for the LTP program. Check the Skatequest website for introductory skating opportunities for your children, if desired.


Program Overview

The program emphasizes the basic hockey skills: skating, puck handling, passing, scoring and body contact. Each skill is introduced and refined in a progressive manner and then again through repetition. Children learn and develop through participating in practice drills and informal and modified games (such as cross ice scrimmages, freeze tag and obstacle courses). Although the emphasis is on fun and progressive skill development, the Learn to Play Program also allows kids to experience “real hockey” situations. 


The LTP program basic hockey skills include:

  • Skating – forward stride, backward stride, stopping, agility, balance, coordination
  • Stickhandling and Puck Protection – fundamentals of stickhandling and puck possession
  • Passing – fundamentals of passing, including technique and different types of passing with a focus on forehand and backhand passes
  • Scoring – teaching shooting basics (wrist shot and backhand) and scoring concepts
  • Body contact – while checking is not permitted until 14U, players at all levels will be instructed on how to use body contact as a key skill. 


Program Structure

The Raiders LTP season runs from late September to early March (approximately 20 weeks). There will be a mid-season break from mid-December to early January and the program will not meet on various holiday weekends. The program will be led by USA Hockey Certified coaches from the Reston Raiders Hockey Club and supported by parent volunteer coaches.  There are two formal offerings within the Reston Raiders Learn to Play Program based upon age, skill level and experience: LTP 1 & LTP 2.


Learn to Play 1 (LTP1)*

LTP 1 is intended for younger (4 – 7 years old) and older but less experienced children with no hockey experience.  

  • The LTP1 group will practice one time per week on Sunday mornings.  
  • Younger players (e.g. 4 and 5-years of age) may repeat LTP1 and do not need to move on the LTP2.  All players born in 2018 and new players born in 2017 should register for LTP1. 

Learn to Play 2 (LTP2)**

LTP 2 is intended for older children (6 – 10 years old) or those that have completed LTP1.

  • The LTP2 group will practice two times per week on Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings. 
    • Saturday morning (Loudoun Ice Center) scrimmages; divided by age; will mirror our 8U house program games and begin to ready players for House and Travel
    • Sunday morning (Skatequest) drills/skills/small games
  • Older players (born in 2012, 2013 & 2014) with no (or limited) skating/playing experience may also enroll in LTP2 – completion of LTP1 is not required.




Age Enrollment Guidelines

  • 2018 – LTP1 only 
  • 2017 – LTP1 strongly recommended
  • 2015/16 – LTP1 or LTP2 based on skill and experience level
  • 2012/13/14 – LTP2 only

If you need assistance determining which LTP session is the correct fit for your child, please email nickdurso.raiders@gmail.com and include your child’s birth year and a description of the player’s hockey/skating experience.




The Raiders coaching staff will do an initial evaluation on all the LTP players at the beginning of the year to ensure your player is in the correct session. Throughout the season, we may ask that some players move from LTP 1 to LTP 2 and vice-versa depending on their age/ability and what we believe is the best environment for your child’s hockey development. Occasionally we may move some LTP 2 players into the House Program.


Children will be evaluated at the end of the LTP season, and you will be provided a recommendation on the next steps in your child’s hockey career. We will assess if they have the requisite skill level to join the Reston Raiders House or Travel programs or would benefit most from another session of LTP.


To complete LTP1 & LTP, typically takes two, and sometimes three, seasons depending upon age. A child who does not “graduate” immediately to our House program is not a failure or “behind” – many of our most skilled Raider players at the 8U through 18U levels, played multiple years in LTP – your LTP player is at the very beginning of hopefully a long hockey career.  We strive to create an environment where each child enjoys the great game of hockey and looks forward to coming to the rink and leaves the rink with a smile. The LTP program is all about developing players and a passion for the game.





  • Hockey Shorts - Jock/Jill (with Velcro to hold up hockey socks)
  • Skates
  • Shin Pads
  • Hockey pants
  • Hockey socks
  • Shoulder pads (small, not overbearing)
  • Elbow pads
  • Hockey gloves
  • Hockey helmet with cage/facemask
  • Hockey stick (generally provided to all LTP participants and distributed at Orientation)
  • Hockey jersey (provided to all LTP participants and distributed at Orientation); jersey color will generally be assigned by birth year
  • Mouthguard (optional)
  • Neck protection (optional)


Equipment Swap

The Reston Raiders host an annual equipment swap where you can find gently used youth hockey gear for very reasonable prices. The equipment swap usually takes place in early September (prior to the LTP season start). Details will be posted on the Raiders website.


Dressing Your Player


Volunteer Coaches

Our program is dependent on adults willing to volunteer their time to help the kids learn to play the great game of hockey. We encourage new volunteers to help us each year. Experienced Raider coaches will plan and lead the sessions and assist in training new coaches. If you would like to volunteer, please email  . No previous hockey experience is necessary, although the ability to stand up and move around on skates is beneficial. Minimum requirements include:

  • Registration with USA Hockey
  • SafeSport Education
  • Background Check


Additional Resources



For more information, contact Learn to Play Director Nick Durso at  .