My my My my

West Hartford Youth Hockey Association
Tryout Practices and Principles

These Practices and Principles were developed by the WHYHA Board of Directors to:
(1) achieve the most accurate player placement;
(2) provide the players and parents of WHYHA transparency in the process;
(3) provide guidance to tryout evaluators in order to create a more consistent process, and
(4) provide a known set of standards upon which players are measured to assure the highest possible degree of fairness and objectivity in the process. 


Tryout coordinators, evaluators, and coaches at all levels put in a tremendous amount of time and personal commitment to adhere to a process created by the organization’s Board of Directors.  The Board recognizes that tryouts often cause a great deal of anxiety among players and parents.  It is the hope of the Board to allay some of this anxiety by improving transparency and clarifying how the process works.


The WHYHA Board of Directors has created a Tryout Committee to govern the tryout process.  The Tryout Committee’s primary goal is to create and implement a fair and objective tryout process.  The Tryout Committee will make player placement recommendations to the Board of Directors.  The Board is ultimately responsible for the tryout process and resultant team placements.  Every year, during the tryout process and the resultant team placements, situations arise where the Tryout Committee recommends, and the Board of Directors decides, difficult placement decisions.  The Board, working with the Tryout Committee, will have sole discretion to make decisions that it deems to be in the best interests of the West Hartford Youth Hockey program and its players. 

Our tryouts are designed to ensure that each player is placed on the team that will give him/her the greatest opportunity to develop their hockey skills and that will provide a positive learning experience. There is no process that is perfect.  WHYHA spends a lot of time evaluating and enhancing our process to ensure that it is fair and objective.  Any WHYHA player or parent who has further questions should feel free to contact the Tryout Committee.  You may email the Tryout Committee at: @westhartfordhockey.com         


Also, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions tab in the Tryouts section on the website.  These FAQ’s will often address the most common questions and issues that arise during this process.  We will continue to update the FAQ page in order to provide additional information.


While tryouts are ongoing, parents should refrain from speaking about the tryouts to any other member of the evaluation process: coaches, evaluators or coordinators.  This will help ensure that the process is run in the most objective manner possible.




·         Teams.  Bantam, Pee Wee, Squirt, and Mite players shall be evaluated by the Tryout Committee and placed on a team in the Spring preceding the players’ USA Hockey Year.  


·         Timing.  The Spring tryout schedule will be posted as early as possible, based on the scheduler’s knowledge of available ice times and final approval of the Board of Directors.  Tryouts will be slated to begin once the CHC tournaments are completed for each respective level.  Tryouts will be held at either Veteran’s Rink in West Hartford or Trinity College in Hartford.  Please check the website for the tryout schedule dates, times and locations.  These dates and times may be modified based on league scheduling needs.


·         Conflicts.  Every effort is taken to avoid conflicts with school vacations, tournaments, and game and playoff schedules.  Conflicts are inevitable no matter the level of planning.  The Tryout Committee will use its best efforts to schedule tryouts at the most appropriate time for every level of play.  Tryouts are not optional.  Any player that is not able to attend tryouts must notify the Tryout Committee prior to tryouts and is not guaranteed a spot on a travel team. 




There will be two or three tryout evaluation sessions for each Division Level of play, depending on the number of registered participants.  For each tryout session, numbered Pinneys, rather than names on jerseys, are used to identify and keep track of players during the tryouts.  You will be given instructions at check-in on the first day of tryouts regarding Pinneys and numbers. 
During the tryout sessions, players will be asked to exhibit the following in a series of drills and game play:

       •     Skating - Stride, Edges, Speed, Crossovers, Forward & Backward Skating
       •     Puck Carrier - Puck Handling, Receiving, Shooting, Passing, Control
       •     Effort- Forecheck, Backcheck, Tenacity   

·         Game Play Skills- ability, positional play and competitiveness


Full time goalies should attend the tryouts as goalies and will also be evaluated based on their skill in both drills and game play situations. 




As in the past, the Tryout Committee will have Independent Evaluators for tryout sessions.  These Independent Evaluators may be from outside the organization and/or current and/or former coaches, who do not have a son or daughter trying out at that Division Level.  The Tryout Committee will also engage dedicated Independent Evaluators for Goalies.  The Independent Evaluators will report to the Tryout Committee and will not share any of their evaluations with Coaches or Parents, in order to keep the process as objective as possible.




After the completion of the on-ice tryout, the Tryout Committee will meet to determine final player rankings.  These final player rankings are based on a weighting of a player’s most recent coaches evaluation and of his/her tryout performance.  The Tryout Committee will report their findings to the Board of Directors.  Teams will then be selected based on these rankings.


Please note that if two players are being considered for the last spot on the same team and both have been evaluated and determined to be of equal skill, the second year player at that Division Level will be placed ahead of the first year player.


Additionally, if two players – one of whom is new to WHYHA – are being considered for the last spot on the same team and both have been evaluated and determined to be of equal skill, the WHYHA player will be placed ahead of the player from another organization.


Note for Parents:  We are hopeful that every player in WHYHA will continue to skate year in and year out to develop long-lasting friendships with their teammates.  Furthermore, we recognize that every player is unique and his or her development curve may jump ahead or lag behind his or her peers.  With this in mind, the Tryout Committee will try to acknowledge the forward progress of each skater for the next season, but in some instances, that will not be possible and a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop back.  Player placement is not lockstep from year-to-year.   For example, Returning B players are not guaranteed A placements.  This philosophy holds true for the goalie position as well. 



Skaters - Position players shall be placed based on overall ability and not specific positions, as all players at these ages benefit from playing multiple positions to gain an evolving understanding of the game.


Goalies – Goalies will be evaluated by one or more Independent Goalie Evaluators.  These evaluators will rank the goalies at each Division level, and when combined with the prior year coaches’ evaluations, if available, the Tryout Committee will submit a final ranking to the Board of Directors. 


Where the number of goalies exceeds the number of teams, the Coaching Director will discuss the situation with goalie’s parents to discuss the best outcomes.  In such situations, an effort will be made to allow similarly skilled goalies to choose between splitting time on a higher team, or going to a lower team where he or she would be the only goalie.




The Board of Directors, with input from the Tryout Committee, will determine the number of teams at each Division Level.  This decision will be primarily based on the number of players attending tryouts.  The Board of Directors, with input from the Tryout Committee, will also determine the number of players on each team based on the final player rankings after tryouts.  The goal is to ideally limit roster size to a maximum of 15 skaters and 1 goaltender, with a minimum of 13 skaters and 1 goaltender.  However, overall numbers and player rankings may impact the program’s ability to achieve this goal. 




WHYHA recognizes and believes that high quality coaching is one of the most important ingredients for a successful hockey experience.  Every effort will be made to have the best possible Head Coach available to coach each team.  The selection and subsequent announcement of a Head Coach will occur ONLY after teams have been formed.  However, in the absence of an available qualified head coach, the Coaching Director, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, may, in exceptional circumstances, add a player from a lower team to secure the commitment of a qualified Head Coach.     




WHYHA will make every effort to notify players of their placement on a team within 48 hours of the completion of the final tryout at their Division Level.  Team selections will be posted on the website.  WHYHA will also make every effort to name the Head Coach of the team at that time.




After tryouts have occurred, players wishing to join a WHYHA travel team will be accommodated to the extent possible.  The Coaching Director will consider roster additions to the team determined appropriate given a player’s skills and only if the existing roster size permits an addition.  In all cases, the player will need to be evaluated on-ice in some form, most likely in the Fall.  All such post-tryout accommodations for late registrants will be done first with the best interests of the players and the coaches of the set teams and then with the individual late registrant in mind. 


"Play-Up" Policy

USA Hockey rules permit a player to ‘play up’, but players may not generally ‘play up’ more than one age classification.  For example, an 8 year old player may ‘play up’ one age group, so he/she could play for the “10 and under” team. In some cases, based on the skill, size of a player, or other considerations, it may be desirable to utilize this option; in other cases, it may be best for the player to remain in the lower age group. 

USA Hockey’s rules do not require an association to allow any player(s) to ‘play up.’ 

All such requests should be made in writing to the WHYHA board of directors, by the parents or guardian, to help document any such requests and the parents/guardian’s desire to have it granted.  The written document can become important if the player becomes injured, as a result of the ‘play up’ request.  An impartial evaluation of the player’s skills {compared to others at the level requested} will be considered by WHYHA conducted by the player's current coach (or an impartial panel of coaches) before a decision is made by the WHYHA board on a ‘play up’ request. Once a decision is made by the WHYHA board on the 'play-up' request, the player may be granted the ability to tryout at the age classification above the player's current age classification. Plau Up requests need to be submitted to the WHYHA board of directors no later than 2 weeks prior to the scheduled respective division tryout.