KBX minor hockey alternative

April 27, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: HockeyNewsNorth.com has received the following information document from KBX Selects of Sault Ste. Marie. KBX Selects is owned and operated by Sault Ste. Marie native Ken Belanger, who played three seasons as a left winger in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm and appeared in 260 National Hockey League games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings.

KBX Selects is a new alternative player development focused hockey program in Sault Ste. Marie.

KBX Selects is a not-for-profit organization that builds on the legacy of KBX Hockey Club’s hockey schools and training facility to create a new and very different option for youth in the community that would like to play competitive level hockey and strive to be the best that they can be.

KBX Selects was established to address the growing need for new player development option in the city. Two short years ago, at the ripe age of 7 or 8 years old, young players that did not get selected as part of the 17 ‘elite’ players had no other options but to play at a level of hockey where a single half ice practice and a single game a week against the same two teams was the standard. Proudly, in just over a year this is no longer the case. Players who are not in the ‘elite’ 17 at 7 years old now have an option to get the ice time, training and competitive hockey that they want and need to develop.

KBX Selects is not about creating National Hockey League hockey players, it is about creating opportunity and options. Great hockey players are not selected at 7 years old, they are developed over many years. Even more fundamental to player development than learning the skill to play is nurturing the passion and the love for the game. This means making it fun but it also means making it flexible and letting kids explore other sports and other activities, emphasizing education and family as core values. We are serious about player development but know that finding the right balance of fun, hard work, and competition in the right environment is everything!

What makes KBX different?

A comprehensive player development program that features weekly dryland and synthetic ice sessions in the KBX training facility with a focus on hockey fitness and specific individual skills (i.e. shooting technique, skating stride, speed, agility, and strength). We also have a big indoor scoreboard with music and goal horns and you can often witness an intense game of mini-sticks, ball hockey in our outdoor rink, soccer, river cross, tic-tac-toe and many more. Did we mention fun?

Weekly individual skills development clinics designed and customized for each age and skill level by professional hockey players, including specific goalie training. These sessions are run by a diverse coaching team and usually integrate multiple teams. Almost every session includes 30-45 minutes of informal hockey play (i.e. 3 on 3, 4 on 4 etc.) to give players a chance to just play hockey for fun.

Two regular team practices usually minimum of 1.5 hours each depending on age. This is a chance for the team coaches to work directly with their team and where team tactics and strategies are introduced in an age appropriate manner.

Once a month power skating sessions by certified power skating instructors.

Shorter team rosters to reduce ice time conflict and to ensure all players are given ample opportunity to play in every game.

Family friendly scheduling

Regular prime-time ice schedule at the Rankin Arena and at the KBX training facility. All our teams know their training nights and their tournament weekends for the whole season by the end of July.

Family friendly scheduling means taking long weekends and major holidays off. No hockey to interrupt family time.

Sanctioned competitive hockey with tournament format league schedule.

KBX Selects is sanctioned by the North American Independent Hockey Federation.

Our teams play in the Ontario Rep Hockey League, based out of Burlington, Ontario.

Season is designed as a series of up to 8 tournaments. Depending on age, some teams will play a modified schedule.

Team rankings over the season dictate the pool in which teams will compete as the season progresses. This means always playing at the right level for your team.
Intramural games between squads at each age level and other exhibition games will augment the league schedule. Each team can expect a 30-40 game season.

Principles of the KBX program

At KBX, we know games are important and fun but we also believe in the research and the experts that tell us that current minor hockey programs are putting too much emphasis on formal games and not enough on fun and development.  

Hockey Canada itself has published guides stating that minor hockey should decrease their emphasis on games and increase the ratio of practices to games.  

Research has shown the average hockey player possesses the puck for about 20 seconds per game.

So, if your current program has 140 hours of ice including over 60 games, than more than half of your money is spent to give your player about 20 minutes of puck time a season (with full rosters many get much less).  

At KBX, we believe that this a poor way to investment in our young hockey players.  

The Hockey Canada development guide says that a single high quality and efficient practice is the equivalent development of 11 hockey games.  These are numbers you can believe in and are the basis for our unique and exciting program. A few keys to our development platform are as follows:

Shorter team rosters to reduce ice time conflict and to ensure all players are given ample opportunity to play in every game.

1.5 hour practices and grouped individual skill sessions, power-skating, goalie training, and dryland/synthetic ice training sessions run by specialized trainers to reduce reliance on a single coaching staff.

A higher practice to game ratio with more emphasis on informal games. 

KBX strives to be a unique alternative rep program via:

Our own training facility that is constantly growing and improving

Our own unique approach and philosophy to player development

Access to great prime time ice at the Rankin Arena

Dedicated, highly-qualified and passionate coaches, trainers, and coach mentors

A competitive, well organized league, the ORHL to play competitive games for every age group. 

We have all the fundamental requirements to deliver on our goal of being the best possible player development program for youth in the north.

— Ken Belanger, KBX Selects

PHOTO: Ken Belanger played in 260 games at the National Hockey League level.

What you think about “KBX minor hockey alternative”

  1. thats kewl — great philosophy ………… what age groups are being offered these opportunities?

  2. I am sure my kid has possessed the puck more than 20 minutes in the season. I also want to know how this article can state that they strive for flexibility and player development but families were told that if they tried out for Sault Minor they wouldn’t be welcome to KBX tryouts. Shouldn’t kids be able to try out wherever they want and be welcome to any tryout or organization?

  3. Awesome stuff. Some have CHOSEN the KBX route even though their kids are IN the mix for the SO called ELITE 17! Good to see people have a choice now. Great job KBX!!!!

  4. verry verry interesting … life is about choice’s and so to should kid’s hockey be about choices.

  5. Unfortunately until you have some local games, Travelling to Burlington area throughout the winter just isn’t worth it. Great model for young kids (novice & atom) if your ok with alot of practices.

  6. If you want stress free Hockey come to KBX…… I wasn’t happy with 50mins of a house coach teaching my son bubbles and t starts… And the cookie cutter practices….Ive had my son in a few KBX mini camps and he loves it… Want your child to have fun and develop? Now is the time for change. The smile on your child’s face is priceless.. .

  7. KBX need to play more Games in Town // Practice’s are great but our kids want to play Kenny. What about playing Teams in Northern Michigan ? Our son is w. the Junior Greyhounds but we sure are not sold on the Program but right now we know how many Game’s we will be playing .. and where we will be playing them.

  8. Re:Jtm
    That’s a lie re: being told that we were not welcome back to KBX if we tried out for other programs.

  9. My boys are signed up and primed for the season. Thank you KBX for offering a stress free, drama free alternative.
    Looking forward to a great Year where the kids and development come first. No politics, half ice practices or forced tournaments. Just kids playing and having fun.

  10. Looks like a 30-40 game season and even a full tournament event coming to the Soo. Seems to me a great alternative and only one year old, impressive! This sounds like a program that Hockey Canada should be proud of and should sanction. It would be great if these teams could play the Jr. Greyhounds and save everyone some travel. All our teams are geographically challenged for games and that just makes too much sense !

    1. That’s the big problem, you have a non hockey guy running the NIHL putting pressure on Northern Michigan teams to avoid KBX teams at all costs. You can’t even set up exhibitions with them.

      1. actually it is the Hockey Canada Hockey Guys and Hockey USA hockey guys who state that. Why, because the NIHL is SANCTIONED by these 2 GOVERNING BODIES… KBX IS NOT SANCTIONED BY EITHER OF THESE. They are sanctioned by a non-sanctioned entity…but they won’t say that. If KBX wants games…then go get sanctioned by Hockey Canada…

        1. Geordie – As unintelligent as your arguments are they are also inaccurate. If you cannot be smart at least be accurate. KBX has never claimed to be sanctioned by these groups and they have said they are sanctioned by the North American Independent Hockey Federation. Do you know how this sanctioning compares to Hockey Canada sanctioning? What are the differences? Perhaps when you answer this you will be at the root of the problem opposed to making the ” I hate that because its different and I don’t understand it” argument. Sorry you don’t get it.

          By the way my kids had a blast this weekend playing in the non-sanctioned 3 on 3 tournament and will play another spring non-sanctioned tournament next month…can’t wait to let thme just go out and play without the bureaucracy!….lol

          1. then don’t complain that the NIHL is forcing them not to play vs KBX…plain and simple…the NIHL is Sanctioned by Hockey Canada and Hockey USA…KBX can have all the press releases in the world stating their spin on being “Sanctioned” . But unless you are sanctioned by Hockey Canada… teams are not allowed to play…plain and simple.. And the NAIHF is the same guy as the ORHL …and all the way down the pipe… look at the hierarchy…it’s the same guy.. That is all I am saying…Tell me how that is not accurate … Geoffs argument is ignorant of all the facts…as is your

  11. I am thinking about putting my Sponsorship Money with KBX as they seem to be more “above board” when it comes to picking teams none of this “Sons of the Coaches” “Friends of the Coach” making the team just because of that.

    1. I agree with you fully about the coaches picking friends kids and coaches kids only on the team because Dad is the coach. Things like that will never change in this city. I watched KBX this past weekend play in the 3 on 3 with their teams and they did pretty well. They beat a few of the teams with rep kids on them, made it to the finals, was some good hockey all weekend. I to am also considering sponsoring KBX as I will at least know where my dollars will be going.

  12. Hey john, here’s a newsflash. Those kids belong on that team and are as good or better then any AAA. Players in the Soo !! Maybe you should watch them play or you should of watched the 3 on 3 . 99 percent of the coaches kids on Soo minors teams definitely don’t belong there at all !! Big difference here !!

  13. I see the people in the Soo are just as fed up as us down here in Burlington. It seems no matter where you go it’s the same old BS. In the end what’s most important is the kids, NOT the adults. The more kids we can get to play competitive hockey the better. The more fun we make it the longer they will continue to play this great game of hockey. Congrats to Ken and the KBX team for giving kids an opportunity that otherwise would not be there.
    Looking forward to the November Tourney.

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