By Mike Mullally, AHAI Director
QUESTION: Our daughter is a 2004 birth year playing Tier II, and we are considering moving to another club. Our concern is if an additional change would still be possible. – A thoughtful parent
ANSWER: Dear thoughtful parent – thanks for your question. First, Tier II hockey is “community-based hockey”, which means you should play in the town where you live (or closest rink). Illinois, in the early 90’s, was Districted around arena locations. But the changing landscape of closing and new opening arenas, and the resultant changing of district boundaries, caused huge consternation among our members. The 2 Choice Rule replaces the Districting rules but allows Illinois teams to continue the classification of “community-based” Tier II travel hockey within USA Hockey and among other states (affiliates). So, you are allowed a first choice, and a second, because young parents, new to the sport, may not make the best or closest choice of program for their player’s first choice.
Thus, you need to be careful when making those choices as they may be the only choices allowed.
When it comes to girls’ teams (not girls on youth teams), there is such a limited number of female players (less than 2,000 total in Illinois) that several of our AHAI rules are not appropriate for girls-only teams. The 2 Choice Rule is not applicable for girls’ teams, but it is applicable for a girl playing on youth team. So, if your daughter is playing on a youth team, she must abide by the 2 Choice Rule. If she is playing on a girls-only team then the rule is not applicable to her. She may move freely among the available girls-only teams.