QUESTION: I have an 8th grade son who is a goaltender; this coming fall the incoming freshman class will have 6 freshman goalies and 2 returning from last year. With only 2 teams being fielded, there will be cuts. Our son would like to play High School hockey instead of club. What is the process of allowing goaltenders to play for another High School while attending school in a different district?
ANSWER: Thank you for asking about this process. Most parents/players do not understand the goalie exception rule and the purpose of the rule. Many erroneously believe that this rule essentially allows a goalie to be a “free agent” and choose where they will play. That is inaccurate to say the least.
The purpose of the rule is twofold. First, there are programs that have too many goalies (i.e. 6 goalies in their program and, for example, only 2 teams) and it is impossible to provide playing time to all. At the same time, we have teams that do not have a goalie or a sufficient number of goalies in their program. The rule is designed to address these problems. This is a rule applicable to goalies only.
All players must tryout for their High School team (High School the student attends) to be eligible to play (and to be eligible to be placed for 1 year as a goalie exception). If a goalie is cut from their High School program (truly cut from their team based upon ability and number, not cut because they try to get cut to be able to play for another High School) then this player can be tendered to AHAI for placement on another High School team for 1 year. The player’s High School team must sign the form acknowledging that the player is eligible as a goalie exception (basically agree the goalie is available to another organization) and AHAI will attempt to place that goalie with a program in need of a goalie. AHAI decides if the exception should be granted, and, where the player will be placed. We try to place a goalie in proximity to his residence but that is not always possible.
Again, this is not a rule to allow goaltenders to shop around for the High School program they want. In addition, THIS PLACEMENT EXCEPTION IS FOR 1 YEAR ONLY and the goalie will return to his High School team at the end of the season. We understand that for some, this option is not what a player wants and we do not force anyone to be a part of this process.