Proudly Serving the Communities of: Agawam, Chicopee, Granby, Holyoke, South Hadley, Southwick and West Springfield.

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Welcome To Lightning Country

We proudly serve the communities of Chicopee, Holyoke, Agawam, South Hadley, Granby, West Springfield & Southwick. 

We hope you find this site useful to help you throughout the hockey season.

We will update as new information becomes available so make sure that you check us out periodically.

The Board of Directors of PVYHA

HEADLINES  Subscribe to Pioneer Valley Youth Hockey Association RSS news feed.
Calendar Raffles
Its that time of year again. Our annual calendar raffles will be...
3rd annual Wine Tasting
Our 3rd annual wine tasting will be held at the Crestview CC in Agawam...
Candy Bar Fundraiser
The Lightning PeeWee team will be holding a Candy Bar Fundraiser...
Learn To Skate/Session 2
CELEBRATING OUR 38th YEAR! Second session starting in January           Pioneer...
A Word from Mass Hockey
12U: Let Them Fail 10/29/2013, 9:00am MDT By Aaron Paitich   The...
Calendar Raffles

Its that time of year again. Our annual calendar raffles will be going out to families during the week of December 5th.

This fundraiser is important as it helps us make hockey fees affordable so that our kids can continue to play the game they love.

Tickets are $10.00 each and there is a winner each day for the month of February. You are eligible to win more than once as it has happened in the past.

They make great stocking stuffers for the holidays.


Happy Selling and Happy Holidays!!!!

by mfarrell posted 11/29/2016
3rd annual Wine Tasting

Our 3rd annual wine tasting will be held at the Crestview CC in Agawam on Friday February 10, 2017. Tickets will be $30 and will include buffet dinner, music, cash bar and raffles.

Tickets will go on sale in a couple of weeks and will be available from your team reps and any board member.

We are always looking for sponsors or anybody who may own a business within the organization that may be interested in donating a raffle prize. It would be greatly appreciated as it would help our event.

Please contact Mark Farrell @ if interested.

Thank You

by mfarrell posted 11/29/2016
Candy Bar Fundraiser

The Lightning PeeWee team will be holding a Candy Bar Fundraiser to help with the costs of our hockey tournaments. It will be held Saturday, December 31st from 11-2 in the Ocean State Plaza on Memorial Drive in Chicopee. Take a ride and help support our hockey players!! 

by mfarrell posted 11/29/2016
Learn To Skate/Session 2


Second session starting in January          

Pioneer Valley Youth Hockey has an outstanding "Learn-to-Skate" program.  We hold two sessions per year.  The first session starts in September and ends right before Christmas, and the second session starts in January and ends in March.  The cost for the first session is $55.00. The general "Learn-to-Skate" sessions run each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.  held at the Fitzpatrick Rink in Holyoke.  "Instructional Hockey" portion of the session, also runs from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. The rink will be seperated in half by "half boards" that were purchased over the summer. All skaters will need to register with USA Hockey and Mass Hockey. Please note that in order for your child to participate in the "Instructional Hockey" session, they will need full hockey equipment:

  • USA Hockey approved helmet with cage or full shield
  • Shoulder pads
  • Hockey pants
  • Hockey gloves
  • Elbow pads
  • Shin guards
  • Neck guard
  • Hockey stick
  • Supporter and Cup  

If you need more information about "Learn-to-Skate", or are willing to volunteer to coach the kids, please send us an e-mail.

Many of our "Learn-to-Skate" kids come back at the end of the year to sign up for our Novice program.  From there, they progress through the ranks as Pioneer Valley Youth Hockey players; most of them all the way through high-school age.

There are some helpful pointers and rules we have established for "Learn-to-Skate".  Please keep in mind that the rules are there for the safety of the children.

  • Your child must have a USA Hockey approved helmet with a mask.
  • We also recommend elbow pads and kneepads. Put these items on under their clothing. It will be more comfortable for them and not so slippery.
  • We recommend your child have some kind of gloves for their hands. The ice is cold!!
  • Please stay off the players' benches. This is where the children rest and our staff tries to keep them focused on skating. They may be upset and want to see Mom or Dad. We try to keep them focused and get them skating again. We understand you may want to videotape or take pictures. Please stay in the stands.
  • If you are going to purchase skates, keep in mind brand new skates may make your child's feet sore for the first few times on the ice. There are lots of used skates out there up for sale.
  • Sharpen your child's skates, especially if they are brand new. Tell the pro shop your child is using them for learn to skate. They won't make them as sharp.

If you need equipment, Bertelli's in West Springfield is a good place to start.

Sign-ups for any of the sessions are usually held a couple of weeks in advance, through the first few Saturdays of each session.  Announcements about upcoming sign-ups will be posted on

We look forward to helping your child learn the basic skills in ice-skating!
To download the Learn to Skate application, click LTS RegistrationForm.pdf

P.O. BOX 1366
HOLYOKE, MA  01041


by mfarrell posted 11/21/2016
A Word from Mass Hockey

12U: Let Them Fail

10/29/2013, 9:00am MDT
By Aaron Paitich

The word “failure” isn’t a word most parents want to associate with their child. But when it comes to growth and development, sometimes that’s exactly what kids need to experience.

“Everything that you read about psychology is how important failure is to growth and development and adaptability and future success,” says Jamie Rice, head men’s hockey coach at NCAA Division III Babson College. “Maybe sometimes we’re depriving them because of our own apprehension to let them fail.”

How does this apply to youth hockey? Let children play in an unstructured environment. Let them learn the game through their own mistakes. Most of all, let them have fun and enjoy the game without added pressure to win.

Rice gets it. He’s a proud parent of hockey-playing children and he knows the culture needs to change.

“Give the game back to the kids,” says Rice, who earned his master’s degree in education from Boston University. “Allow them to grow at their own rate, to develop at their own rate, to mature at their own rate, to succeed and fail at their own rate.”

Let them play

Part of giving the game back to the kids is letting them play in an unstructured environment.

“We long for the days of pond hockey,” says Rice. “As coaches, we go ahead and say that. But then what do we do? We bring kids to the rink and we drill them to death. We don’t let them express themselves. As soon as they make a mistake, we yell at them or we try and correct them. No one’s coaching on the pond. No one’s coaching during street hockey in the backyard.”

But unstructured hockey isn’t limited to the pond or neighborhood park. Indoor team practices can – and should – create an unstructured environment for kids. That can sometimes be difficult for parents to grasp when they observe practice.

“If you walk into a rink and you see two coaches standing to the side and the kids just playing, you’ll say, ‘What’s the coach doing?’” says Rice. “And if you walk into the rink and see the kids standing in seven lines and doing one specific drill like a robot, then a parent will say ‘Oh, OK, they’re working on something.’”

Playing small-area games and gaining quality repetitions through station-based practices will allow for maximum development at the 12U level. Don’t waste this precious window of opportunity – where skill development is most critical – focusing on larger team concepts.

More money doesn’t equal more goals

More money, more instruction and more camps are not necessarily going to make your child a better player in the long run.

“People assume now that if it costs more, it’s better,” says Rice. “I have to pay more for it to be better. That’s not true.”

Spending more money won’t guarantee your child a spot on the high school team or beyond. It can actually just put more pressure on the child and suck the fun out of the sport.

“Whatever we invest in it financially – emotionally and time wise – there are still no guarantees out there,” adds Rice. “There’s no guarantee your kid will play high school or college or professional hockey. Let’s just let them play and have fun and see what happens.”

Don’t be afraid

Rice became a better coach when he became a parent. He became an even better coach when his kids started playing sports, because he began seeing things in a different way. Winning cannot be the end all, be all – especially at the 12U age.

While it may sound daunting as a parent, don’t be afraid of letting your child make mistakes. Every player experiences tough losses and most players struggle developing certain skills at one time or another.

“All of us want our children to do well. All of us want our children to have a better life than we have,” says Rice. “But sometimes you maybe want it too much and that’s where you’re afraid to let go. Maybe we as coaches want them to succeed so much that we’re afraid to let them fail and make mistakes.”

by mfarrell posted 10/06/2016
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