High School FAQs


I would like clarification on a recently published “Ask AHAI” regarding a player attending a private school and playing for the public high school in their district. I was under the impression that both private and home schooled students could play for the high school in their district. You stated that a private school player could not; is this accurate?


You are correct on the home schooled students. Home schooled students are still under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the school and district in which they reside. That is exactly right for home schooled students, and the way we at AHAI High School committee react and treat those students. They may play sports for the High School in the district in which they live.

But the private schools are different. They are not governed by the High School or district in which they live. Those students choosing to attend a private school are governed and administered to by the school they have chosen to attend. They are under the auspices of the private school they attend. Those choosing to attend a private school have chosen that school over the school in their district. It is their decision to do so, of course.

That is why the AHAI High School Committee always decides High School hockey participation by the school that the student is attending full time. You can find this in our Rules and Regulations under Article 4, exactly 4.3. Let me give you an example: If a student living in High School district 203, chooses to attend Fenwick, or Benet, or Loyola, he cannot then choose to play football, baseball, soccer or any other sport, for the district 203 school, Naperville Central. The same is upheld for the sport of ice hockey.

The behavior of AHAI is the same as the behavior of IHSA when it comes to the school a student is attending, and the home schooled student. We do not differ.  So you are correct about the home schooled student, but the student who chooses private school is not correct.  I hope this sheds some additional light on the subject for you.


My son is a sophomore this year. He attends a private high school that doesn’t have a hockey team. What do we need to do so he can join a high school team? Is it possible for him to join the closest High School team and continue playing hockey? Please let me know what options he has for playing high school hockey.


Thanks very much for your inquiry. I can see you are a parent concerned about your son and his hockey experiences. It can be most unfortunate, but not all hockey players can play HS hockey. HS hockey like any other sport in HS is very much dependent on the school your son attends. If the HS he attends does not have a hockey program, or is not party to a HS combined program, then he cannot play HS hockey. It is always dependent on what school the student attends.  Much like any other sport, football, baseball, soccer, basketball…he can only play HS sports for the HS he attends.

I am sure you chose the HS he attends for very good reason and that is of course, as it should be. There are other options for your son to continue to play hockey. They are all in the club hockey area. He would have to find a midget club team to play with for the coming season. If you need some assistance in finding a midget program please let AHAI know and we will be happy to help you.


I have a high school player and I heard in 2015 there is going to be a new rule implemented on the number of players you can have rostered. Is that true? And if so, what is that number going to be and the details of the rule?


Thanks for your question and I am glad you contacted us. The rostering rule for High School teams has been a maximum of 30 players for many, many years. It is not up for any change by USA Hockey or AHAI for next year or in the near future. It will stay at 30 players maximum per High School roster.


I am a new manager of a High School team and I heard there is a consequence for playing too many games either up or down.  I don’t want to make a mistake. Can you explain this to me and point me to the rule in the AHAI Guide?


 I am glad you asked that question.  It is a question many have but few seem to ask.  It is really pretty simple.  There are basically 5 steps.

Rules & Regulations: Article I, Section C, Items 11 and 12

1. Split or “Cut” the players into Varsity OR JV (mark all Varsity players with a “V”) on their rosters.

2. Double roster the JV players you want to Varsity; freeze half of that Varsity roster.

3. Double roster the unfrozen Varsity to the JV team.

4. The JV doubled players can play 6 Varsity league games each.

a. If a JV player plays a 7th Varsity game – he is penalized – by not being able to play ANY more JV games (league, Exhibition or tournament) for the rest of the season.

b. He is eligible for Varsity state tournament.

c. He is NOT eligible for the JV state tournament.

5. The Varsity double rostered players can play 6 JV league games each.

a. If a Varsity player plays a 7th JV game – he is penalized by not being able to play ANY more Varsity games (league, Exhibition or tournament) for the rest of the season.

b. He is NOT eligible for the Varsity state tournament

c. Also he is NOT eligible for the JV state tournament.

This is why it is SO important that the coach and the team manager track each players double rostered games played. If they make a mistake or don’t inform the player (and parents) of the consequence, it could disqualify the player and his team for the State Tournament.  No one wants to see a mistake made.  That is why AHAI’s Registrar and the HS Committee Chairman continue to inform the Club Registrars and Presidents of this rule. There is an explanation of the “intent” of the rule in the policies section on the www.AHAI.org policies. I hope this is clear for you now and wish you and your players well this season.


In the latest issue of SNAPSHOT’s Ask AHAI the following Home Schooled player question is incomplete and it makes it appear that a home school player can play for a High School hockey team without attending the High School in the district he/she resides in (please see question directly below).  What the question fails to explain that is that the player must comply with IHSA By-Law 3.011 (which states he/she must attend the High School he/she is districted in and must be taking a minimum of 20 credit hours at the High School in order to participate in athletics).  So unless I am reading AHAI rules which state AHAI will follow IHSA rules regarding home schooled players, then by omitting the fact that he has to be taking a minimum of 20 hours at the High School this could lead to a home schooled player being ineligible.


You are absolutely correct, that if a home schooled student, wanted to play, say, football at the HS, in the HS program, of the district in which they resided, the IHSA, in conjunction with the HS would be able to enforce that the student is taking 20 hours at that school.

AHAI does attempt to follow all the IHSA eligibility rules as closely as it can.  The 20 hour rule is one of those that we cannot track, or have access to, so we do not reference 20 hours.  We do go by the rule that they have to live in the HS district to play club hockey for the HS club.  They cannot play for any other HS club, other than the district in which they live.  That is what AHAI holds our players to and that is what we can enforce.

The 20 hour rule is one IHSA CAN impose and can enforce because they can have access to the students school records.  AHAI cannot have access to those records.  And if we ask for those records we can be refused by the parent of that student – without prejudice.  There is not any means by which we can or should be permitted to demand access to a student’s records. The only thing we are entitled to do is to verify that a home address is within the school district boundaries….and we have to do that without access to HS records.  So that is what we can enforce and what we use as our rule for home schooled students and their eligibility to play on an AHAI High School Club team (not run by the high school; run as a club).  If the hockey team were run by the school, AND it were a HS sport governed by the HS and IHSA, then the exact rule you cited would apply.

…but that is not what HS hockey is.  It is not IHSA.

Any home schooled student living in the HS district is permitted to play for the AHAI/USA Hockey High School hockey team of the HS District.


I know of a High School player who lived in one school district, but attended a private school and played for another team. He is now being home-schooled; what team can he play for and what are the rules regarding players that are home-schooled?


Actually, if I understand your question, there are two issues here:

1. A player lived in one school district, but attended a private school. This is really about what school the player attends. If the player is a full time student at a given school then he is eligible to play hockey for that school, or the combination of schools to which the attended school is assigned (combinations are approved according to AHAI High School rules). For example, if a player lives in Northbrook (Glenbrook North High School District), but attends Loyola High School full time, he is only eligible to play for Loyola High School.

2. If a player is home-schooled, then he may play for a High School in the District in which he resides. For example, if a home-schooled player resides in a Bolingbrook High School District, he is eligible to play in the Lockport-Romeoville-Bolingbrook-Lemont combination. If the home-schooled player resides in the Naperville North School District (D203) then he may play for the Naperville North High School Club. A home-schooled player is never a “free agent”.



A High School Hockey Club President asks:  How can we go about obtaining sponsors for our club and players without violating player eligibility rules?


I think this can be simply answered; keeping in mind your club is a 501.c.3 and has a tax exemption from the federal government (you should have…), please reference the AHAI Rules and Regulations – Article II, Section F: Amateur Play – General Principles.  This applies to all hockey clubs, not just high school. 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.


If a player is on a junior hockey team, can they play on a High School team? Also, what is an “Affiliate Agreement”?


A player cannot be on both a junior team and a High School team at the same time. However, let me explain the “Affiliate Agreement” and the AHAI policy. The Affiliate Agreement allows a youth (High School) player to play as many as 7 games with a specific junior team without becoming ineligible to play youth hockey (inclusive of High School). If they play an 8th game they are stricken from the youth roster and are part of the junior team. However, the agreement must be completely executed between a Tier I or Tier II junior team, the player, parents, the youth coach and the junior coach. If all have not agreed and signed the Affiliate Agreement form then the Affiliate Agreement is not valid. This agreement is not valid for Tier III junior teams, only Tier I and Tier II. Tier III follows the AHAI Policy Below.


Editor’s Note: Readers may email any questions to Ask AHAI  to be answered in future issues.


This week we did not have a question to answer as much as a remembrance we received from a High School player’s parent, Ed Enyart of Naperville North.


“North Hockey was an awesome experience for my entire family, let alone my two boys that played. I sure wish I could have enjoyed it a little more and not been wrapped up so much on the wins and losses. In the end both my guys told me that is was an amazing experience to play for North. They remember their teammates and coaches and how much fun they had. Neither remembers what their record was. I wish we could all remember that it is about the kids and to cheer them on whatever the outcome. By the way, they still use their bags from North…Peter graduated in 2004 and Pat in 2006…at least we bought them good stuff!” 

Remember…High School hockey is about the experience! ~ Ask AHAI


What the heck is going on with High School Hockey? District Teams?


Another good question from a concerned parent.  Twenty years ago AHAI created the rules for its combined teams with the anticipation of them growing into “pure high school teams” after a couple of years. Well 25 years later few of those schools ever became pure HS teams.

Two years ago AHAI’s High School Committee reviewed the structure of is “Combined Teams”. While some were successful, others more resembled Club teams with kids from many different and unrelated schools playing on a “team”. That was not HS hockey.

The HS committee rewrote the rules last year for continuously combined HS teams. The 2 basic tenets are “the essence of high school” and the continuing “viability of the team”. The essence of HS means they must all be from the same district or community (i.e. all Wheaton schools or all District U-46 schools). No longer would we have Montini from Lombard combined with Andrew of Tinley Park, some 25 miles apart. Also a viable team was to be a team with enough participants so they would be more viable year to year, that you could count on them playing every year; that is not how competitive they might be because team skill fluctuates, but viable in numbers of players available each year.

So the HS committee embarked on “reforming” its combined HS teams into HS clubs that met the above 2 premises, “essence of high school” and “viability”. That is what you are seeing today with the District 210 schools of Lincolnway, the Wheaton Schools, the District 204 Warriors (Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley, and Oswego), AWFM (Addison Trail, Willowbrook, Fenton, Montini – all in proximity), and the Glenbard District 87 (North, South, East, West) club.  These are the types of changes made thus far – with a few of the more difficult ones yet to reconstruct.


Recently our JV team entered at tournament in Michigan, only to find out at the last minute it was not USA Hockey sanctioned and we should not play in the tournament. Now the tournament will not refund our entry fee of over $1,000. How can this be avoided in the future?


First we have to say that we are really sorry your team was abused in this way; it is a lot of money, and it never should have happened. We have learned that this event was not USA Hockey sanctioned and was run by the folks behind the AAU in Michigan. They knowingly deceived your team, as well as 3 other Illinois JV teams. AHAI is making all efforts, along with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA), to have your fees refunded. We believe the AAU operators knew Illinois HS teams could not play in the event. We are relying on the operators of the tournament to do the right thing. AHAI has no authority over AAU.

If this were a USA Hockey, AHAI or MAHA event then most assuredly you would not have this problem. That is why it is absolutely imperative that your team MANAGER get certification that any event you enter is a USA Hockey sanctioned event.  Look for the USA Hockey symbol on any tournament brochures or websites, and ask event coordinators to confirm that it is a USA Hockey certified tournament. That certification entitles you to know who you are playing against, that the opponents have legitimate certified rosters (no ringers in play), coaches and officials are screened and certified, and that you can play safely under the rules and governance of USA Hockey and AHAI.

If ever you have a question about an event you can always call the AHAI State Registrar, Laura Johnson at 224-636-3233 for absolute clarification.