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RAHA Mite/8U Goalie Program – “Irish Jr. Goalie” Designation

Big Picture:

RAHA is placing a larger emphasis on goalie development for our association as a whole.  Part of this emphasis is giving increased development opportunities to Mite/8U (Mite) aged goalies with a strong interest in playing goalie full-time at the Squirt/10U level.  This pilot program “Irish Jr. Goalies” will be rolled out in the 2018-19 season and reevaluated for the 2019-20 season.  With any pilot program, there will be unforeseen issues and we ask for patience as we work through the finer details.   We hope the end result of this program will be giving our youngest goalies more experience and a stronger foundation to allow for greater personal and team success.

There are two specific areas we are targeting to increase Mite goalie development, 1) Goalie specific training and 2) quantity of ice for our goalies.  In past years, RAHA Mite goalies did not attend RAHA goalie clinics and being part of their regular team goalie rotation may allow for 3-6 ice sessions as a goalie.  Development of RAHA mite aged goalies came from outside sources.  With the Irish Jr. Goalie pilot program, Mite goalies will have access to 24 goalie only clinics plus potentially skate another 10-30 hours of practice time as a goalie. 

An additional emphasis will be placed on helping our coaches learn how to train goalies.  Coaches at all levels need to be advocates for our goalies and learn how to train them.  We don’t need every coach to be a goalie coaching expert but we do need coaches throughout our association to be comfortable training goalies.  The days of “I just tell my goalies to keep the puck out of the net” are behind us if we want to continue to have competitive teams throughout our association.


All RAHA Mite/8U players will be placed on teams based on their evaluations as skaters.  This team placement will be their first priority.  After skater evaluations are completed and teams have been formed, the RAHA goalie committee will place Irish Jr. Goalies at one of 5 levels.  Newer goalies will start with Level 1 but all goalies will be evaluated throughout the season and moved up when they’re ready:

Level 1 - Practice with Beginner Mite teams.  Beginner Mite Pool for games.

Level 2 - Practice with Beginner and Intermediate Mite teams.  Beginner Mite Pool for games.

Level 3 - Practice with the Intermediate Mite teams.  Intermediate Mite Pool for games.

Level 4 - Practice with the Intermediate and Advanced Mite teams. Intermediate Mite Pool for games.

Level 5 - Practice with the Advanced Mite teams.  Advanced Mite Pool for games.


  • Irish Jr. Goalies will be in the regular goalie rotation of their own team. 
  • In addition, Irish Jr Goalies may attend practices of any of the teams in their assigned pools.
  • Irish Jr. Goalies may also be used by the teams in their assigned pools during games/scrimmages. 

When RAHA teams play other RAHA teams, both teams should use the next goalie in the rotation from their own team unless both teams agree to use a pool goalie.

Jr. Irish Goalie Requirements:

  • Pay $75 registration fee to cover evaluations and RAHA goalie clinics.
  • Provide their own equipment. Goalies who are serious about potentially playing goalie full-time in the future should have their own gear. 
    • Irish Jr. Goalies must provide their own goalie equipment including goalie pads, goalie chest protector, blocker, glove, and goalie stick.  Goalie skates and helmet are recommended before they move to squirts but are not required for this program. 
    • While it would be great to provide goalie gear for all RAHA Irish Jr. Goalies, it is not an option with how large our association is.  RAHA provides team goalie equipment to each Mite/8U team. 
    • A Mite/8U goalie can be outfitted in quality used gear for $100-$250 and there is a partial $50 reimbursement available for purchased goalie equipment.  Please see the RAHA goalie webpage for details. 


Notes for Mite/8U Coaches

  • RAHA goalie development needs to be a focus for all coaches at all levels.  Please do your best to incorporate the goalies into stations by having stations that utilize nets and shooting. 
  • All coaches are welcome to attend the RAHA goalie clinic sessions on Saturday mornings. It is recommended that you attend at least a couple sessions every season to see what our goalies are working on so you can help reinforce this during your team practices.
  • If you don’t have an assistant coach who can run the goalies through goalie specific skating at the beginning of practice, goalies can do the line drills with all of the other players.  Goalies at this age need to skate and get comfortable in their pads, it is totally fine for them to do skating drills with the skaters.
  • When RAHA teams play other RAHA teams, both teams should use the next goalie in the rotation from their own team unless both teams agree to use a pool goalie.
  • Every skater on the team who wants to play goalie must be given at least one practice and one scrimmage/game to play goalie, preferably at least 2 of each.  If there are only a couple interested goalies on a team, they should each be given multiple practices and games to play goalie.
  • Use your best judgment when deciding to play a goalie from your rotation or a pool goalie.  If you’re playing a team you know to be tough then use a pool goalie unless your next goalie up in the rotation is experienced.  If you have a goalie who is very inexperienced try to line them up against a weaker team.  Just make sure the interested skaters on your team are given an equal quantity of goalie time in the net by the end of the season.
  • If you happen to have an Irish Jr. Goalie on your team, they should be given a regular spot in your goalie rotation just like any other skater.  If your Irish Jr. Goalie also happens to be assigned to the pool your team is in, they can be used if it is a game that you would have used a pool goalie.  Example, you coach an Advanced team and your goalie is an Advanced pool goalie. Sizing Guidelines

Link to sizing guidelines.

Equipment Sizing Guidelines

Link to USA Hockey's guidelines to fitting goalie equipment.