The Delmarva Raptors are a Tier II youth ice hockey organization based out of Harrington, DE. We operate as a 501-C3 offering travel hockey players between the ages of 4-18 years old. We were established in 2022 but have roots dating back to 2003 as our team was formed by the merger of the Delaware Rough Riders and the Delaware Stars. Our mission as Delmarva Raptors, is to promote the love of hockey to all players from recreational skills to the elite travel players, allowing the opportunity for all to advance and enjoy the sport. We want to help teach our players not only about the sport of ice hockey, but life lessons on how to have fun, work hard, compete in a healthy way and make lifelong friends.
The Raptors program is based on the science of cognitive, muscular and nervous system development in growing athletes. Below is a chart of the long term athlete development windows of train-ability.
U6 / U8
Training will emphasize flexibility, speed and aggressiveness, competitive games, races and obstacle courses are examples of the fun situations that force young players out of their comfort zone and develop the natural motions critical to hockey.
The practice format will follow the six-station town carnival style. This allows the players to be split into smaller groups and run through six different drills before finishing practice with a cross ice scrimmage.
U10 / U12
This is the "golden age of skill development" As you can guess we will be focusing on skills. Emphasis will be on refining skating, stick handling, shooting and passing. Introduction to individual and small group tactics will come in the form of 1 on 1, 2 on 2, and 3 on 3 competitive drills and games. Basic concepts of positioning are covered but hockey sense is still being developed so we prefer to let the game teach as much as possible through trial and error.
We are in the middle of PHV, or growth spurt, at this point. Bodies are changing and affecting the work / rest ratio and intensity potential of the athlete. Practice plans should utilize these factors and combine skill, tactical and conditioning into high paced and efficient training sessions.
At this point we drop our skill development ratio to 50% and add more team tactics to our small group and individual tactics.
Bantam major is also when we begin advising players on options for junior/college programs and what the path and expectations are.
U16 / U18
Continuing the practice format of U14, we begin to refine team systems like organized forechecks, traps, d-zone coverages, line rushes and zone entries. More in depth advisory and Jr Placement.