why we love hockey

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Hockey develops skills on the ice that build a foundation for a lifetime. In addition to athletic prowess, hockey promotes other important qualities, like confidence, pride, focus and responsibility. With an emphasis on fun, hockey is a game that can be played and enjoyed for life.

three ways to get started

no experience. no problem.

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The Rochester Jr. Americans have a place for every kid to get started in hockey, regardless of age or skill level. We're the largest organization in the region, welcoming kids from all over the area. As players get older and their skills develop, we offer teams at every level of play, which means players can grow with us and compete at the level they're ready for. With an emphasis on fun, we offer every player the opportunity to reach their full potential on the ice.

ages 4 - 6

Doodle Bugs! Intro-To-Hockey

Our Doodle Bugs! Intro-to-Hockey program is designed for children ages four-to-six years old who want to learn to play hockey. No prior experience is required! The focus is on FUN, and players learn the basics of skating and small area game play while they progress through the program. Our Intro-to-Hockey graduates move on to play for Jr. Amerks 8U (mites) teams.

The program runs September through March, with kids skating two times per week at Rochester Ice Center.

ages 6 - 8

8 & Under Mite program 

Our 8U (mites) Jr. Amerks have a complete hockey experience, including practices, games, tournaments and team events. Designed for six-to-eight year olds, we create a fun and competitive environment where every player can develop their skills and a passion for the game. Our 8U program is focused on player development so that each player is equipped to excel at the next level. Our players start with cross-ice play and can advance to full-ice competition as their skills develop. The program runs September through March.

ages 9 - 16


This is a unique program in Rochester that offers kids a great opportunity to find out if hockey is for them!

Our Overage Beginners program is open to boys and girls, ages 9-16, who want to learn the fundamental skills needed to play on a team. Our entire season is focused on having fun and developing hockey skills. Players who graduate from our Overage Beginners program move on to participate in our Travel, House or Girls Program depending on their skills and desired level of commitment to the game.

Opportunities for everyone

Keeping Hockey Affordable

As a not-for-profit organization, we're committed to making hockey as affordable as possible for our families. We have wonderful partners in our community who help reduce the cost of hockey for our families, such as our Doodle Bugs! Intro-to-Hockey Program. As a USA Hockey organization, we also offer free equipment rentals to players in our Intro-to-Hockey Program.

As players get older and move onto competitive teams families can choose the level of play that best aligns with their desired commitment and budget, whether its our House or Travel Program.

In addition, the Jr. Amerks offer three needs-based scholarships to help cover the cost of a player's ice time during the season. Our Sean Shortsleeve Memorial Scholarship Fund covers 100% of season dues for players in our Intro-to-Hockey Program, and our partners at Hockey Buddies cover hockey dues for a Jr. Amerks player each year. We also offer the Tony Mazurkiewicz Memorial Scholarship for first responder families.

We want to give every boy or girl who plays hockey the chance to succeed, have fun and build a passion for hockey that lasts a lifetime.


why play hockey?

Playing ice hockey can be incredibly beneficial for kids. It fosters discipline, teamwork, decision-making skills, and physical fitness. Moreover, it teaches sportsmanship and resilience, nurturing well-rounded individuals capable of facing life's challenges with confidence and determination.

Player Development

Dedicated to development

We put player development first. Our on-ice skill development and off-ice training programs are designed to maximize the potential of every player regardless of their age, team, or beginning skill level.

which program is the right one?

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The Jr. Amerks offers a way for every kid to get started in hockey, regardless their age or skill level. Youth hockey is organized by birth year. See the chart below to determine the best place for your child to get started. Still don't know where to start? Contact us and we'll help you find the right program.

2019 4 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1
2018 5 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1 Intro-To-Hockey Level 2
2017 6 Intro-To-Hockey Level 1 Intro-To-Hockey Level 2 8U Mite Level Blue
2016 7 8U Mite Level Blue 8U Mite Level Blue or White 8U Mite Level White or Red
2015 8 8U Mite Level Blue 8U Mite Level White 8U Mite Level Red
2014 9 Overage Beginner Program House 10U (Squirts) 9U Travel AAA or AA
2013 10 Overage Beginner Program House 10U (Squirts) 10U Travel AAA or AA
2012 11 Overage Beginner Program House 12U (Peewee) 11U Travel AAA or AA
2011 12 Overage Beginner Program House 12U (Peewee) 12U Travel AAA or AA
2010 13 Overage Beginner Program House 14U (Bantam) 13U Travel AAA or AA
2009 14 Overage Beginner Program House 14U (Bantam) 14U Travel AAA or AA
2008 15 Overage Beginner Program House 18U (Midget) 15U Travel AAA or AA
2007 16 Overage Beginner Program House 18U (Midget) 16U Travel AAA or AA
2006 17 N/A House 18U (Midget) 18U Travel AAA or AA
2006 18 N/A House 18U (Midget) 18U Travel AAA or AA
Stay in the loop

News & Updates

Alumni Alert: Ethan Phillips Receives Tender from Rochester Jr. Americans (NAHL)
Alumni Alert: Brady Hill signs with PA Huntsman in the EHL
Three Jr. Amerks Players Selected to Attend USA Hockey Girls Multi-District Player Development Camps
Four Jr. Amerks Players to Attend USA Hockey Girls National Development Camp
Alumni Alert – Jake Lipani Commits to NC State Hockey

Frequently Asked Questions

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Most kids begin skating between the ages of 4 and 8 years old, however there are programs for older children to begin hockey and there are even programs for adults who've never played the game before.

Absolutely. We have many girls in our hockey programs playing with boys and/or all girls teams.

No. Many of our first year players have never even been on the ice. Our coaches are trained and certified to teach skating , stick handling, puck control, passing and shooting.

Our travel teams begin at 9 years old, however there opportunities for younger players to participate in competitive hockey.
• Players in our Intro to Hockey Doodle Bugs program can play with our 8U Prep team.
• Players in our 8U Mite program can play for our Elite 8U Team that follows a schedule much like our Tier I (AAA) travel program. Players on this team typically move on to AAA or AA travel teams as they get older.

Selection of hockey equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors: 1) make certain the player is adequately protected and 2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills. By carefully considering these two factors, your child will be more comfortable and will have more fun playing hockey.

A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost. Shop around for the best values and remember that you need not buy the most expensive equipment. Inquire about local equipment swaps and team discounts, but keep in mind the equipment must fit properly to provide the maximum protection.

Learn more at Hockey Equipment 101