Wellesley Youth Hockey Association
Tryout Practices and Principles
These Practices and Principles were developed by the Board of Directors to:
(1) achieve the most accurate player placement;
(2) provide the players and parents of WYHA transparency in the process;
(3) provide guidance to tryout evaluators in order to create a more consistent process, and
(4) provide a known set of standards upon which players are measured to assure the highest possible degree of fairness and objectivity in the process.
Tryout coordinators, evaluators, and coaches at all levels put in a tremendous amount of time and personal commitment to adhere to a process created by the organization’s Board of Directors. The Board recognizes that tryouts often cause a great deal of anxiety among players and parents. It is the hope of the Board to allay some of this anxiety by improving transparency and clarifying how the process works.
Every year, during the tryout process and the resultant team placements, situations arise where the Director of Tryouts and, in certain circumstances, the Board, needs to make specific tryout process and placement decisions. The Board is ultimately responsible for the tryout process and resultant team placements. The Board, working with the Director of Tryouts, may in all cases act and make decisions that it deems, in its sole discretion, to be in the best interests of the Wellesley Youth Hockey Program and its players.
Any WYHA player or parent who has further questions should feel free to contact the Director of Tryouts. While tryouts are ongoing, parents should refrain from speaking about the tryouts to any other member of the evaluation process: coaches, evaluators or coordinators. This will help ensure that the process is run in the most objective manner possible.
Schedule of Evaluation and Placement
• Midget, Bantam, Pee Wee, Squirt, U-19 Girls, U-14 Girls, U-12 Girls and U-10 Girls players shall be evaluated and placed by the Tryout Coordinators and Evaluators in the spring preceding the players’ USA Hockey Year.
• Mite players shall be evaluated and placed by the Tryout Coordinator and Evaluators in the fall preceding the players’ USA Hockey Year.
• The spring tryout schedule is posted as early as possible based on the scheduler’s knowledge of available ice times and final approval of the Board of Directors.
• Every effort is taken to avoid conflicts with school vacations, tournaments, and game and playoff schedules.
• Conflicts are inevitable no matter the level of planning. The Evaluation Committee will use its best efforts, with the information and input available to them, to appropriately place players who have had conflicts with the tryout schedule. Except for players who elect not to participate in tryouts altogether (see next bullet point, below), it is the policy that a player must attend at least one session of the tryouts in order to be placed on a team for the subsequent year. It is strongly encouraged that players attend all, or as many, of their scheduled sessions as possible. Obviously players who are on the ice have the best chance to demonstrate their ability. Board approval, after discussion with the Director of Tryouts, is required for a player to be placed on a team without having attended a single tryout session. Notwithstanding the minimum attendance requirement, the Board will make every effort to ensure that a player will not be denied a roster spot simply because he or she was unable to attend the tryout.
• Should a player elect not to participate in the tryout sessions (as opposed to missing tryouts due to different circumstances) he or she will be “automatically” placed on the last team of their age group, provided that there are available roster spots on that team. This decision should be explicitly discussed by the player’s parent with the Director of Tryouts, before tryouts begin, so that the circumstances are understood and the possible placement ramifications are also clear.
• The Director of Tryouts selects a Tryout Coordinator for each level; all must be approved by the Board. Other than in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Board, no Tryout Coordinator may be the parent of a player trying out at the level for which he or she is the Coordinator.
• Tryout Coordinators are responsible for managing the tryout process at a specific age level as determined by the WYHA Board of Directors. Tryout Coordinators are responsible for ensuring every player’s thorough evaluation and proper team placement. Tryout Coordinators are responsible for assembling Evaluators and On-Ice Coordinators to run the Tryout in accordance with the approved procedure. All Evaluators and On-Ice Coordinators must be approved by the Director of Tryouts.
• Evaluators and On-Ice Coordinators shall be coaches in good-standing in the Wellesley Youth Hockey Association or persons designated by the Tryout Coordinators and approved by the Director of Coaching and the Board.
• Whenever practical, each tryout evaluation committee will consist of evaluators who coached (either at the head or assistant coach level) the players from the most recent season. The goal is to provide each player an advocate who has first hand coaching knowledge of the players from the most recent 7 month season. The Board recognizes that this policy will result in parent/coaches serving as members of committees evaluating their own children. The Board understands the conflict of interest this represents, but has determined that the benefits of including a coach/advocate for each child outweigh the potential harms of including parents. In order to minimize potential conflicts, all parent members of the evaluation committees will recluse themselves from all discussions involving their children and will leave the room when their children are being ranked.
Coordinator and Evaluation Committee Guidelines
• The Board of Directors has set forth guidelines for the Director of Tryouts, Tryout Coordinator, Evaluators, and On-Ice Coordinators to follow.
• There will generally be three separate skating sessions for player evaluation; however the actual number may vary based on the total projected number of players per age level, as well as the ice time available for the tryouts in a given year.
Ice useage and session splits
Numbered pinneys, rather than names on jerseys, are used to identify and keep track of players during the tryouts.
During the on-ice tryout sessions, players will be asked to exhibit the following in a series of drills, small area games, and full ice scrimmages:
•Skating - Stride, Edges, Speed, Crossovers, Forwards & Backward Skating
•Puck Carrier - Puck Handling, Shooting, Passing, Control
•Game awareness - Playing Position, Getting Open, Play Making
•Effort – Small Battles, Fore-check, Back-check, tenacity
1st Sessions – Total group will be split alphabetically. This session will consist of a predetermined mix of skill based drills and small area games.
After the first session, the Evaluation Committee will review their data and divide the players by ability into 2-3 levels. Player numbers at any level may vary based upon the need for the evaluators to better see each player.
2nd Sessions – Players will be split and participate in a variety of small area games, including but not limited to 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4, or full ice 5 vs. 5. Small area games allow evaluators to see many skills including: skating ability, edges, puck control, passing, shooting, speed, stops, starts, turns, tenacity, and effort.
Placement in any group during the 1st or second sessions 2nd session is NOT final. Each player can showcase their ability and all players have the continued chance to move up or down for the final sessions.
The Evaluation Committee will review their data and divide the players by ability into 3 levels. Player numbers at any level may vary based upon the need for the evaluators to better see each player. No final determinations will have been set and player movement is expected after the 3rd scrimmage sessions.
3rd Sessions - Players will be split into 3 groups and they will participate in full ice scrimmages (most likely either in 4 on 4s, or 5 on 5s).
Guidelines for player rankings, team creation and Coach Selection
After the completion of the on-ice tryout, the Evaluation Committee will meet to determine final player rankings. These final player rankings are based on a roughly equal weighting of a player’s most recent coaches evaluation and of the tryout performance.
The Evaluation Committee will review all coaching evaluation and tryout data and rank players all 1 through X. That ranking will be provided to the Director of Tryouts. The Director of Tryouts will check for any instances where the Committee’s ranking of a player, relative to other players from that player’s most recent team, deviates substantially from the coaches’ rankings of those same players. Although there will clearly be some changes in the relative positions of players from the current season, this step will serve as a “check” for any serious anomalies that may indicate the need for review. Where significant discrepancies appear, the Director of Tryouts will take the matter up with the Coordinator and Evaluators to make sure the ranking is appropriate.
• Rankings will be made with the unanimous consent of committee members voting on each player.
• The Director of Tryouts, with input from the Board, will determine the number of teams at each level and players will be placed on a team based upon their ranking. The goal is to ideally limit roster size to a maximum of 15 skaters and 1 goaltender. Overall numbers may impact the program’s ability to achieve this goal.
• Every player trying out will be evaluated and considered for placement on the highest team, regardless of prior season team placement or age.
• If 2 players are being considered for the last spot on the same team and both have been evaluated and determined to be of equal skill, the 2nd year player will be placed ahead of the younger player.
• We are hopeful that every player in WYHA will continue to skate year in and year out to develop long-lasting friendships with their teammates. Furthermore, we recognize that every player is unique and his or her development curve may jump ahead or lag behind his or her peers. With this in mind, the Tryout Committee will try to acknowledge the forward progress of each skater for the next season, but in some instances, that will not be possible and a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop back. Player placement is not lockstep from year-to-year. For example, Returning A2 players are not guaranteed A1 placements. This philosophy holds true for the goalie player position, as well. No goalie is presumed to have this “spot” for any team next season regardless of whether they are returning to the same level or moving up because of his or her age
• WYHA recognizes and believes that high quality coaching is the most important ingredient for a successful hockey experience. Every effort will be made to have the best possible Head Coach available to coach each team.
• The selection of a Head Coach will occur ONLY after teams have been formed. However, in the absence of an available qualified head coach, the Director of Coaching and the Director of Tryouts, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, may, in exceptional circumstances, add a player from a lower team to secure the commitment of a qualified Head Coach.
Evaluation and Placement Criteria
After the completion of the on-ice tryout, the Evaluation Committee will meet to determine final player rankings. These final player rankings are based on a roughly equal weighting of a player’s most recent coaches evaluations and of the tryout performance.
· Position: Players at the Midget level and older shall try out, and be ranked, by position (i.e. forward or defense). Younger age level players shall be placed based on overall ability and not specific position as all players at these ages benefit from playing multiple positions to gain an evolving understanding of the game.
· Player Placement: During the team selection process, each player’s skill rankings, as well as the current season’s coach’s evaluation described above, are discussed and given roughly equal weighting to determine player ranking. Each Evaluator will vote for each player’s ranking. The players will be placed into three categories: (i) unanimous votes from all Evaluators for a specific rank, (ii) 1 vote to anything less than unanimous, and (iii) no votes for a given rank. Each Evaluator will then work with this list to narrow down players to fill the remaining rankings. Each remaining player must be given a unanimous vote. This process holds true for the entire ranking process.
Special Provisions Re: Goalies
In addition to participating in the scrimmages attended by all WYHA skaters, goalies will be asked to participate in a special ice session for goalies only. There, they will be evaluated by one or more goalie evaluators, and ranked by the goalie evaluator 1-X for each level. After the general scrimmages, the goalies will be ranked 1-X by the Evaluation Committee based on their performances in the scrimmages. These two rankings, one by the goalie evaluator and one by the Committee, shall be given roughly equal weighting. Using this formula, the Evaluation Committee will make final team placements—consulting the goalie evaluator when the Tryout Coordinator deems appropriate. Because commitment is a particularly important factor at the goalie level, prior years coaches’ evaluations will also be considered in all instances. Where the number of goalies exceeds the number of teams, the Director of Tryouts will discuss the situation with goalies’ parents to discuss the best outcomes. In such situations, an effort will be made to allow similarly skilled goalies to choose between splitting time on a higher team, or going to a lower team where he or she would be the only goalie. Other than in very rare circumstances where there is a benefit to the Program, WYHA does not allow teams with more than one goalie from having the “off” goalie skate “out” with the team in games.
Post Tryout Policy
After tryouts have occurred, players wishing to join WYHA will be accommodated to the extent possible. The Director of Tryouts will consider roster additions to the team determined appropriate given a player’s skills and only if the existing roster size permits an addition. In some instances, this may mean that WYHA will be unable to accommodate a player after tryouts. It is possible that such a late registrant could be accommodated as an alternate (for a team designated by the Board), in which case he or she would be allowed to practice with his or her designated team and play games should the need arise for an additional player. All such post-tryout accommodations for late registrants will be done first with the best interests of the players and the coaches of the set teams and then with the individual late registrant in mind.
WYHA Tuition Policy
WYHA's policy is that, absent extraordinary circumstances, all tuition payments are non–refundable as the payment, when made, is a commitment to accept a roster spot on a team. As a not for profit organization, WYHA’s Board of Directors needs that commitment to finalize rosters for the 500 + players across the program that do play with WYHA. Without firm commitments from all of our players, it is impossible to finalize the number players and teams, budget and procure ice time, commit to league fees, plan for appropriate clinics, recruit the appropriate number of coaches, set the initial schedule for September and October and generally manage the Program for the benefit of the participating players.
Some number of years ago, the Board adopted this policy as too many players were withdrawing between May 1st and September 1st or later, causing the wholesale changing of rosters and coaching assignments – in the end, the WYHA players and volunteers were suffering as a result. This policy is integral to operating the Program for the benefit of the 500+ active WYHA players
A Note to Parents:: Parents
• Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard, and have fun, will do more to promote a long-lived “hockey career” than anything else.
• Understand that the Tryout Process is inherently imperfect and that there is a subjective element to the process. Evaluators must make difficult decisions. The Board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.
• Understand that the Board considered using outside or hired evaluators, but has decided not to do so at this time.
• If you have a question about where your child was placed, please contact the Director of Tryouts. As needed, the Director of Tryouts will consult with Tryout Coordinators, Evaluators and the Board. Please do not attempt to contact evaluators or coaches during the tryout process, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.
• As is the case in most youth sports, what particular team level a player plays at as a 7 to 13 year old rarely affects their later years. In fact, in most cases the relative ability ranking of players in a sport changes greatly over these years, so no single placement for a given season should be, nor is, creating a “destiny” for a kid. The high school and college rosters of all sports are filled with players who ranged from A to C players in their early ”careers”. The most critical factor for later years is – to still be playing! Kids will keep playing as long as the adults don’t mess it up and make it no longer fun.
• WYHA is proudly a “town” program. We value, care, and spend as much time on “C” teams as on “A” teams and believe these distinctions are necessary only to the extent they are needed to determine at what level a team plays at in a given league. They do not determine the “real players” nor very often who will be playing 5, 10, or 20 years from now.
Revised January 2014