QUESTION: There is an AHAI rule (16.3.9) that states, “All youth team players shall play at the age appropriate USA Hockey Age Classification with the exceptions for Midget Major which may roster no more than three 16U age youth players.” However, there is a Tier I club that definitely has more than three 16U players on their current roster. Isn’t this in violation of the current rule?
ANSWER: You are right – that Tier I club is in violation of the rule we have in Illinois (not a USA Hockey rule). AHAI inquired of all 4 Tier I clubs and not one of them cares about enforcement this rule. Though none of the other clubs are in violation, none wants to enforce this rule against the other Tier I club. All felt it was an old rule that had outlived its time or usefulness. In this particular case, the Tier I club had not reviewed the rules as you had and put the best 20 players they have on the ice to make their current 18U team. All the other Tier I clubs agreed that this was the best course of action – thus the rule you sited 16.3.9 will be eliminated.
The rule was originally put in place to prevent a club without the means to field an 18U team – that is they did not have enough 18U aged players to make an 18U team – from fielding essentially 2 16U teams in its place. This was done many years ago when the Chicago Chill was formed to prevent dilution of the level of play at 18U. Given today’s environment and abundance of 18U aged players at Tier I, the rule is no longer appropriate and will be stricken from the AHAI book. Thanks for pointing out this rule as we would not have addressed it without your notation.