General FAQs

QUESTION:

We have 19 skaters and 1 goalie. According to Rule 201: Composition of Teams, we will have to sit one of our players for each game.  Is this correct?

ANSWER:

Yes, the rule cited (Rule 201) is a USA Hockey rule. No team may have more than 18 skaters dressed for any given game. I wish we had some flexibility on this rule, but unfortunately we do not. If it is any consolation, all hockey teams – youth, junior, collegiate and international are governed by the same rule – a maximum of 18 skaters dressed on the bench, total of 20 players.


QUESTION:

Does AHAI/USA Hockey have any rules or guidelines in regards to advertising on a website or in regards to particular content that would be disallowed? Are there any rules or regulations in regards to having any type of sponsorship on game jerseys?


ANSWER:

Please reference AHAI Rules and Regulations – Article II, Section F: Amateur Play – General Principles.  Basically, funds cannot be “direct” to the player.  As an example, a “donor” cannot sponsor a player by paying his hockey fees.  Any donation must go to the club, and the club must then decide how to disperse funds based on its written policy.  Therefore, the club must have a written policy on criteria and the basis for that criteria.  Another example might be selling of raffle tickets – the monetary proceeds cannot go to the person selling the raffle tickets, but a predetermined cash prize for the person selling the most raffle tickets could be offered by the club.  The key is no funds directly to a person/player, and a predetermined written method in the club to distribute any funds raised.  All funds MUST initially go the hockey club, the 501.c.3.  I hope that helps sorting out sponsorships and fundraising.


QUESTION: 

“Where do hockey players come from…where do they go?”

ANSWER: 

This is a very good question…where do the 18,000 players in Illinois come from? Primarily they come from Chicago area families who want their children to be active and healthy through playing sports. Some have a family history rooted in ice hockey, some parents are inspired by the Olympic Games or the incredible success of the Blackhawks these past 5 years! In Illinois these are all factors drawing parents and their kids to the sport.

When do kids come to play? Ice hockey is unique in that the kids generally have to start young – 10 and under. In both court and turf sports the inherent ability to walk or run or stand upright will allow you access to those sports at most any age. Ice hockey is different. You must be skilled enough to skate – at some level of proficiency – that is generally why hockey players come from that 10 and under group. By the time kids are 13 entering high school and want to play the “greatest game on earth”, it can be very difficult to break in. The acquisition of new players is generally kids 5 through 10, our largest age group…some 7,000 players.

Where do they go? In Illinois the numbers of players are growing larger until they are 10 years old. 40% of ALL hockey players, 7,000 in Illinois, are under 10 years old. But as they get older the kids find other things to do: specialize in only one sport or other interests. When kids get to High School there is another precipitous change in players as about 35% have left the game, again, to do things that compete for their interest. After kids enter high school if they play hockey, they usually continue to play throughout their High School careers…about 5800 players.

The Challenge! How do we expose the game to new players – and how do we keep their interest?  Better known in some circles as Acquisition and Retention. USA Hockey has offered to each individual hockey club, the “2 and 2 Challenge”. Simply, this means get 2 more NEW players than you did last year – GROWTH – and keep 2 more players in your program that you did last year – RETENTION. Sounds simple enough. If every club could do that the players in Illinois would swell by more than 1,000 players! But this is not so easily accomplished.

This past year there were several clubs in Illinois that met the Challenge.  Please see 2 and 2 Challenge Article for complete list of clubs.  Kudos and thanks to these clubs for their efforts. This is USA Hockey and AHAI’s future.

Why 2 and 2 Challenge?

In Illinois in 2008-2009:

  • 71% of all 4 year olds did not return as 5 year olds
  • 51% of all 5 year olds did not return as 6 year olds
  • 34% of all 6 year olds did not return as 7 year olds
  • 24% of all 7 year olds did not return as 8 year olds

We were losing 45% of all players 4-8 years old! We needed to make our sport more kid friendly and FUN!

In short those clubs were able to find ways to make hockey more fun for the players and meet the “2 and 2 Challenge”. Basically, if the kids are having fun, the parents will sign the kids up for hockey programs and teams. One enormous key to making our game more fun has been the American Development Model, or ADM. But that is a subject for another day……