Just a quick note on the games that have been scheduled via TeamSnap for all of our U18 teams starying on Oct 11 and on. These games are NOT part of the formal evaluation games that we will use for final placement of players into their teams for the remainder of the season. However, coach feedback will be solicited based upon all practices and games in this phase.
U18 TEAM MAKEUP
There will be six teams formed through the process described below in further detail. We will have three body checking teams that will be placed into Tiers 1, 2 and 3 and three non-checking teams that will be placed into Tiers 4, 5, and 6 in the EFHL (Edmonton Federation Hockey League).
NEXT STEPS FOR TEAM CREATION
A reminder that the decision to place players into Development Groups was primarily based on the concept that performing a standard evaluation process for the scale of SPMHA’s divisional size was simply not feasible. The standard process evaluation during a “normal year” involves a myriad of player movement, evaluation games, more player movement, and more evaluation games. The AHS Phase 2 guidelines required an isolation period when changing cohorts, which would add a delay to the process. The concept of physically distanced skates for evaluations would require fewer registrants per skate, which would add another delay. Add all these delays up and it seemed inefficient to try to administer the process, which led us to placement in development cohorts.
So, you have been placed into cohorts and are back on the ice. Now what?
Currently we are in the Development Phase. To move to the Modified Competition phase, which would include regular sized teams and games, we would first need approval from Hockey Alberta (which will be guided by Alberta Health). Following that determination the Association would determine in what form the Modified Competition phase will take place and regular sized teams will be formed. At this time we would anticipate evaluations for placement of players will take into account two factors, Evaluation Games and Coach Feedback.
All players within their mini-group will play in two evaluation games to be subjectively evaluated by a committee of evaluators. With the cohort rules we will only be able to evaluate players amongst the other teams in their current cohort however that will not limit the movement of players up or down based on the cumulative evaluation process. For U18, the Evaluation Games will be scheduled the weekend of Oct 23.
Prior to Evaluation Games, we expect to run a normal Goaltender Evaluation session. The date for this will be announced.
All Mini-Team Head Coaches will receive a feedback form. This will be an additional subjective component of evaluations this year. Coaches will be asked to provide subjective feedback on the players within their Development Group. The feedback will be relative to the specific group and should be based on many of the skates completed by the Development Group. This will be another source of information that we may take into consideration when forming teams.
We will be utilizing the resources at our disposal to form teams based on the results of the evaluation games and coach feedback. This could result in player movement both up and down throughout the Development Groups. Cohort groups will remain together, and teams will not be formed or communicated until we have a firm date for the start of the Modified Competition phase. We would be required to isolate the teams for a period of 2 weeks prior to that date, with potentially only physically distanced practices over this period before forming new team cohorts. The SPMHA Executive will continue to provide updates as they are received, and we look forward to seeing our players represent the Association in a safe manner. For U18, the EFHL team creation deadline is Oct 29, with games starting after Nov. 14.
CHECKING VS NON-CHECKING
Cohorts Alpha and Bravo contain all players who identified as wishing to participate in Checking hockey. Due to the fact that we may only have three checking teams, consisting of a maximum of 19 players (17 skaters + 2 goaltenders), only 51 skaters who wish to play checking hockey will end up on the tiers 1, 2, and 3 team. This means that some players will move into the non-checking section of the Division. The same evaluators will be utilized for evaluating Bravo and Charlie groups, so all players moved out of Bravo (Checking) and into Charlie (Non-Checking) will be placed according to where they rank cumulatively against the rest of the division. This means, for example, that a player may move from the Bravo checking group onto a Tier 4, 5 or 6 team, dependent upon where their skill lies overall. Because your player is in the Bravo Cohort, does not guarantee them a spot on either the Tier 3 or Tier 4 team.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE U18 DIVISION
One things that makes the U18 division of hockey so unique is the three year age grouping. This is a dynamic that has a large impact in the placement of players coming up from the U15 division. One thing that most parents, or players for that matter, may not realize is that coming from the U15 Division, players typically take a virtual “step back” in terms of the tier/level they are used to playing. This is part of the progression through the larger age category due to the age, skill, size and experience of many of the players.
So we’ll get a couple of quick-hitters out of the way:
- No, just because your athlete played U18/Midget Tier X last season, they are not guaranteed to play there or higher this season
- No, your 14/15 year old will likely NOT play on the Tier 1 team
- No, your player that played 15AA last year (known now as U16 AA) is not guaranteed a spot on the tier 1 team
- No, your late cut from the Kings or any other AA association does not guarantee your player a spot in tier 1
- No, your player who played checking hockey last year is not guaranteed to be one of the 51 who make a checking team this season
Long story short, my goal as division director is to ensure the fair placement of all players to play at the level which best fits their skill set – across the entire division. What I can assure you, is that my goal is to ensure that they play where they SHOULD be – based upon their skill set versus the participants across the entire division.
MY CHILD HAS BEEN “MISPLACED”
This is by far the most difficult time of year for a parent during their child’s hockey season. We set expectations for ourselves and our children and not all those expectations are met. Team creation decisions are based on subjective results/feedback. Are all of you going to agree with those decisions? No. For those of you who feel that your child has been misplaced in a Development Group, it should be apparent to not only yourself, but the coaches, the other players, and the spectators. This should be reflected in the coach feedback or during the evaluation games.
If you feel that your child has been misplaced in the team creation phase, the first thing that you should do is take a deep breath. Your child’s hockey experience will be a direct reflection of the attitude and opinions communicated to him/her. You are more than welcome to contact myself or David Kozicki, VP Senior Division, to discuss their placement.
Thank you to all for your patience and understanding as we work to make sure your child has a great modified hockey season!