Dorchester Youth Hockey
Tryout Practices and Principles
These Practices and Principles were developed by DYH to (1) achieve the most accurate player placement, (2) provide players and parents of DYH transparency in the process, (3) provide guidance to 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 DYH. 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. Any DYH player or parent who has further questions should feel free to contact the DYH. 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.
Schedule of evaluation and Placement
- Midget, Bantam, Pee Wee, Squirt and Mite players shall be evaluated and placed by the Tryout Coordinators and Evaluators in the spring preceding the players’ USA Hockey Year, with the exclusion of the National Bound Program.
- Mite players shall also be evaluated and placed by the Evaluators and Coaches in the fall preceding the players’ USA Hockey Year.
- The spring tryout schedule is posted as early as possible based on the scheduler’s knowledge of available ice times and final approval of DYH.
- 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 Evaluation Committee will use their best efforts, with the information and input available to them, to appropriately place players who have had conflicts with the tryout schedule. Except for players who elect not to participate in tryouts altogether (see next bullet point, below), it is the policy that a player must attend at least one session of the tryouts in order to be placed on a team for the subsequent year. It is strongly encouraged that players attend all, or as many, of their scheduled sessions as possible. Obviously players who are on the ice have the best chance to demonstrate their ability. Board approval is required for a player to be placed on a team without having attended a single try out session. Such situations will be discussed by the board and Board of Directors. Notwithstanding the minimum attendance requirement, the Board will make every effort to ensure that a player will not be denied a roster spot simply because he or she was unable to attend the tryout.
- Should a player elect not to participate in the tryout sessions (as opposed to missing tryouts due to different circumstances) he or she will be “automatically” placed on the last team of their age group, provided that there are available roster spots on that team. This decision should be explicitly discussed with the Board of Directors so that the circumstances are understood and the possible placement ramifications are also clear. This selection process does not include the National Bound Program.
- Note that based on total numbers of players at a given age level, some players may not be placed on a travel team, but instead directed to the DYH In-House league.
- The DYH utilizes the Level Coordinator for each level; all must be approved by the Board. Other than in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Board, no Level Coordinator may be the parent of a player trying out at the level for which he or she is the Coordinator.
- Level Coordinators are responsible for managing the tryout process at a specific age level as determined by DYH. Coordinators are responsible for ensuring every player’s thorough evaluation and proper team placement. Coordinators are responsible for assembling Evaluators and On-Ice Assistants to run the Tryout in accordance with the approved procedure. All Evaluators and On-Ice Assistants must be approved by the Board of Directors.
- Evaluators and On-Ice Assistants shall be coaches in good-standing in the Dorchester Youth Hockey Association or persons designated by the Coordinators and approved by the Board. To be considered for a coaching position, a prospective coach must complete and submit to the DYH a Dorchester Youth Hockey Association Coaching Application.
- Whenever practical, each tryout evaluation committee will consist of evaluators who coached (either at the head or assistant coach level) the players from the most recent season. The goal is to provide each player an advocate who has first hand coaching knowledge of the players from the most recent 7 month season. The Board recognizes that this policy will result in parent/coaches serving as members of committees evaluating their own children. The Board understands the conflict of interest this represents, but has determined that the benefits of including a coach/advocate for each child outweigh the potential harms of including parents. In order to minimize potential conflicts, all parent members of the evaluation committees will excuse themselves from all discussions involving their children and will leave the room when their children are being ranked.
Coordinator and Evaluation Committee Guidelines
- The DYH has set forth guidelines for the Coordinators, Evaluators, and On Ice Assistants to follow.
- There will generally be three separate skating sessions for player evaluation; however the actual number may vary based on the total projected number of players per age level, as well as the ice time available for the tryouts in a given year.
- The National Bound Program may track the development of players from other tryouts due to the conflict of ice scheduling.
Ice useage and session splits
As another measure to improve the process, the Board has made a decision to begin using numbered pinnies, rather than names on jerseys, to identify and keep track of players during the tryouts.
1st Sessions – Total group will be split into four to five separate stations. These stations will consist of a predetermined mix of skills based drills and small area games.
The Evaluation Committee will review their data and score players on a 1-5 basis. Player numbers at any level may vary based upon the need for the evaluators to better see each player. No determinations will have been set and player movement is expected after the 2nd scrimmage sessions.
2nd Sessions – Players will be split and participate in a variety of small area games, including but not limited to 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4, or full ice 5 vs. 5. Small area games allow evaluators to see many skills including: skating ability, edges, puck control, passing, shooting, speed, stops, starts, turns, tenacity, and effort.
Placement in any group during the 2nd session is NOT final. Each player can showcase their ability and all players have the continued chance to move up or down for the final sessions.
The Evaluation Committee will review their data and divide the players by ability into 3 levels. Player numbers at any level may vary based upon the need for the evaluators to better see each player. No final determinations will have been set and player movement is expected after the 3rd scrimmage sessions.
3rd Sessions - Players will be split into 3 groups and they will participate in full ice scrimmages (most likely either in 4 on 4s, or 5 on 5s).
The Evaluation Committee will review all data and rank players 1 through X. That ranking will be provided to the Board of Directors for the sole purpose of checking for any instances where the Committee’s ranking of a player, relative to other players from that player’s most recent team, deviates substantially from the coaches’ rankings of those same players. Although there will clearly be some changes in the relative positions of players from the previous season, this step will serve as a “check” for any serious anomalies that may indicate the need for review. Where significant discrepancies appear, the Board of Directors will take the matter up with the Coordinator and Evaluators to make sure the ranking is appropriate.
Teams will be formed with the unanimous consent of evaluation committee members voting on each player. The 1st team will be filled from 1 to 15 (or total player count for the team in question)and each subsequent team will be filled in the same manner, with each evaluator discussing and voting on each individual player. (This process is described in more detail below)
Guidelines for team creation and Coach Selection
- The goal is to limit roster size to a maximum of 15 skaters and 1 goaltender. Overall numbers may impact the program’s ability to achieve this goal.
- Every player trying out will be evaluated and considered for placement on the highest team, regardless of prior season team placement or age.
- We are hopeful that every player in DYH 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 A2 players are not guaranteed A1 placements. This philosophy holds true for the goalie player position, as well. No goalie is presumed to have this “spot” for any team next season regardless of whether they are returning to the same level or moving up because of his or her age
- DYH recognizes and believes that high quality coaching is the most important ingredient for a successful hockey experience. Every effort will be made to have the best possible Head Coach available to coach each team.
- The selection of a Head Coach will occur ONLY after teams have been formed. However, in the absence of an available qualified head coach, the DYH, may, in exceptional circumstances, add a player from a lower team to secure the commitment of a qualified Head Coach.
Evaluation and Placement Criteria
Players will be asked to exhibit the following in a series of drills, small area games, and full ice scrimmages:
- Skating - Stride, Edges, Speed, Crossovers, Forwards & Backward Skating
- Puck Carrier - Puck Handling, Shooting, Passing, Control
- Support Player - Playing Position, Getting Open, Play Making
- Effort – Small Battles, Fore-check, Back-check
- Tenacity –
- Previous Year Coach Evaluation - Team Rank, Effort, Attendance, & Coaches Comments
- Position – Players at the Bantam level and older shall try out, and be ranked, by position (i.e. forward or defense). Younger age level players shall be placed based on overall ability and not specific position as all players at these ages benefit from playing multiple positions to gain an evolving understanding of the game.
In general, coaches’ evaluations will be considered only when necessary to break ties between two otherwise equally ranked players (or to identify ranking anomalies, as discussed above). Nevertheless, it is important for the Tryout Committee to know which players are committed to DYH’s program and which ones only show up for games. Dedication to DYH has always been, and will continue to be, a priority. Commitment levels,as measured by attendance at practices as well as games, may influence team placement. In the same way, behavior, sportsmanship, and other relevant information from current coaches will be considered in the placement decision. The Board of Directors shall be informed should any non on-ice factors result directly in the placement decision of a player.
Player Placement: During the team selection process, each player’s skill rankings, as well as the coach’s evaluation described above, are discussed to determine team placement. Each Evaluator will vote for players for each team beginning with the A1 team. The players will be placed into three categories: (ie) unanimous votes from all Evaluators for a specific team, (ii) 1 vote to anything less than unanimous, and (iii) no votes for a given team. Any one receiving unanimous votes will be slotted for that team unless the numbers are greater than the specified team size permits. Any player receiving votes will be held aside to fill the remaining roster positions on the team. Each Evaluator will then work with this list to narrow down players to fill the remaining roster positions. Each remaining player must be given a unanimous vote. Any player not receiving a vote for the top level will be slated for voting at the next team level. Such a player, having received votes for one team is explicitly not “automatically” on the next team down. All players not yet assigned to a team shall be considered for each team. This process holds true for the entire team process.
After tryouts have occurred, players wishing to join DYH will be accommodated to the extent possible. The Board of Directors 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 some instances, this may mean that DYH will be unable to accommodate a player after tryouts. It is possible that such a late registrant could be accommodated as an alternate (for a team designated by the Board), in which case he or she would be allowed to practice with his or her designated team and play games should the need arise for an additional player. All such accommodations for late registrants will be done with the best interests of not only the individual late registrant in mind, but also of the players and the coaches of the set teams.
National Bound Program
The National Bound Program is a highly intensive and extremely competitive program. Mass Hockey allows for Midgets to play in any program in the state. The National Bound Program has two (2) Tier levels. The Tier 1 level is the highest level of competition and normally consists of select programs. The Tier 2 level is also very competitive and is usually the tier that town programs seeking to play on the national level are placed. The National Bound selection process is based upon talent and the ability to compete on that level safely, and is led by the head coach, assistant coaches and level coordinator. In lieu of injuries or conflicts, the coach may waive a player's tryout requirements. The national bound program is not a town level program, as midgets are allowed to play for any "town" or select program. All coaches must be certified Level 4 coaches with USA Hockey.
- Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard, and have fun, will do more to promote a long-lived “hockey career” than anything else.
- Understand that the Tryout Process is inherently imperfect and that there is a subjective element to the process. Evaluators must make difficult decisions. The Board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.
- Understand that the Board considered using outside or hired evaluators, but has decided not to do so at this time.
- If you have a question about where your child was placed, please contact the Board of Directors. As needed, the Board of Directors will consult with Tryout Coordinators, Evaluators and the Board. Please do not attempt to contact evaluators or coaches during the tryout process, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.
- As is the case in most youth sports, what particular team level a player plays at as a 7 to 13 year old rarely affects their later years. In fact, in most cases the relative ability ranking of players in a sport changes greatly over these years, so no single placement for a given season should be, nor is, creating a “destiny” for a kid. The high school and college rosters of all sports are filled with players who ranged from A to C players in their early” careers”. The most critical factor for later years is – to still be playing! Kids will keep playing as long as the adults don’t mess it up and make it no longer fun.
DYH is proudly a “town” program. We value, care, and spend as much time on “C” teams as on “A” teams and believe these distinctions are necessary only to the extent they are needed to determine at what level a team plays at in a given league. They do not determine the “real players” nor very often who will be playing 5, 10, or 20 years from now.