This message will be of
particular interest to anyone who has a player registered for our 2017-2018
upcoming hockey season.
Our association has recently learned of some major changes to the age divisions in minor hockey. These changes are mandated by Hockey Canada which oversees all associations and governed by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Our centre is an OMHA centre and must comply with OMHA rules, regulations, policies and procedures.
At the time of registration, our centre correctly consulted OMHA’s 2017 age chart which was posted on their website – as per usual. We established our respective rosters with the information available to us at that time. We have since learned the chart (which is still posted on their website) is invalid and being replaced by an “up to date” chart from Hockey Canada. The revised age chart (yet to be posted) will govern the ages of each respective division. We are told it will no longer include the words “and younger or subsequent years”
It is our understanding, the changes will have some impact our Novice and Instructional aged players, but most affected will be, our rostered Tyke players.
Hockey Canada is now stipulating:
4 year old by December 31 registrants will be called “Preschool” – all practices and game play will be cross ice/blue puck and must be separated from 5-6 year old Initiation players during drills and game play
5-6 year olds by December 31 will be classified as “Initiation” – all practices and game play will be cross-ice/blue puck
7 year olds – by December 31 will be Tyke – Tyke games will be full ice/blue puck
8 year olds by December 31 will be Novice – **exception being granted for upcoming season to mix 7-8 year olds but will mean some players will spend an additional year in our Novice program
To complicate the issue further, our Lambton Middlesex Local League is unsure whether or not they will continue to have a “Tyke” division. LMLL has not yet held a vote to finalize their decision. We were contacted late last week asking us to attend a meeting in Strathroy on August 3rd to cast our vote for or against continuing with Tyke. It is our centre’s intention to vote to continue to have a Tyke division. However, there is the possibility we could be outvoted. Tyke games would not begin until Dec 1 (as per usual).
This leaves us in a predicament. OMHA has made it clear, 6 year olds will not be approved on a Tyke roster. If your player is 6 years old, they are required to be moved to the Initiation Division roster. All practices and any type of game they may have will be CROSS ICE (which means half ice).
We completely understand and expect parents to be upset, disappointed and frustrated by this news. The lack of planning, communication and organization in implementing such a major shift from the top down, is concerning. It is not only disruptive but confusing as well. An incredible amount of time and effort has already gone into registration (including the lottery etc.) which will need to be shuffled and reconfigured.
We anticipate some growing pains and challenges however, we are very confident in our Coaching staff, volunteers and Board of Directors. We will work tirelessly to ensure your player has a positive, progressive, fun season. Our goals remain skill development, sportsmanship and having fun in a supportive, respectful environment. Our Initiation Coaching staff will be creative around challenging their players who have already completed Instructional and incorporating mini games, scrimmages and ideally, exhibition games as well.
We promise to update the website as soon as we have more information. At this time, we have as many questions as we do answers. We have been working closely with our Regional Representative at OMHA to gather information and ensure we are in compliance.
It is important to note: the decisions made by Hockey Canada will not be reversed for the upcoming season and we have no recourse but to comply with the rules and regulations or our rosters will not be approved, our teams will not be insured and we will not be allowed to participate in league play, tournament play etc.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we navigate this time of change. Our Program thrives on leadership and positive role modelling, we expect this shift to be no exception. Should you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to email the website and address your question to any one of the three convenors listed. Feel free to spend time on the OMHA and Hockey Canada website as well. Be aware however, the age chart listed on the OMHA website is currently out of date and will not be employed during roster approval for the 2017-2018 season.