Is your family new to Hockey? If you are, you probably have a lot of questions. Please refer to the MYHA Parent Handbook for detailed information, but the following are some answers to basic questions about the sport as it pertains to the Millbrook Youth Hockey Association (MYHA).
1. What are the different levels of players?
MYHA conforms to USA Hockey guidelines with respect to age groups. These age divisions are Mites (8 and younger), Squirts (9 and 10 years old), Peewees (11 and 12 years old), Bantams (13 and 14 years old), and Midgets (15 to 18). Within those divisions, MYHA generally rosters 1 'travel' team. Players are assigned to a team after a thorough tryout process which is generally conducted in the spring for the following season that begins in September.
Travel teams are intended for more accomplished players and generally play two games each weekend during the season and participate in three in-season tournaments. House teams have a more developmental emphasis. Both travel and house teams practice once or twice a week, depending on the age group.
2. What equipment is required?
Hockey players wear a helmet with full face protection (facemask or cage), a mouth guard, a neck guard, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pants, shin pads, hockey gloves, and, of course, skates and a hockey stick (if your skater is new to hockey, and you're unsure whether they are a righty or a lefty, it's best to purchase a low-cost flat-bladed stick until they commit to one side). MYHA provides skaters with game socks and game jerseys, but all players should provide their own practice jersey. Wesco Hockey in Brookfield, CT is a great place to start for correct sizing of all of your equipment needs. You may also wish to check the many on-line vendors such as www.hockeymonkey.com, www.hockeygiant.com, and www.totalhockey.net. It is critically important, however, that equipment fit properly. Though you may be tempted to 'buy big' so your skater can have room to grow, it's best to buy properly fitting equipment, and a trained vendor can help fit your skater. Again, it is particularly important for the helmet to fit properly and be certified.
3. Does my skater need to tryout?
All travel skaters are required to participate in the tryout evaluations for their age division. This allows the coaches and evaluators to give every skater a full and careful look to ensure that your skater is properly placed on the right team. If you are participating in the house program, tryouts are not required.
4. What is the in-season time commitment?
House team players practice one weeknight per week, and play or practice 1-2 times per weekend from November through February. For travel team players, families can expect two games per weekend from November to the end of February. In addition, travel teams participate in three tournaments. Because MYHA competes in the Hudson Valley Hockey League, travel time typically is less than 1 hour to games. MYHA travel teams begin practicing once a week in September and twice a week in October at the Mid Hudson Civic Center and twice a week from November to February at the Millbrook Prep School. The travel season may also extend into mid-March. Typically practices for each team are on a half-sheet of ice: two teams share a single sheet. MYHA believes this is the most efficient use of ice time. Overall, then, most travel skaters are on the ice four times each week.
5. How much does MYHA youth hockey cost?
MYHA remains one of the most cost-effective hockey programs in the area. MYHA works hard to keep costs down, and it is important to recognize that fees are all-inclusive: families are not asked to buy initial issue jerseys or pay tournament fees in addition to the standard fee. The bulk of the fee goes to pay for ice-time costs. Please refer to the "Registration & Fees" tab on the left for specific amounts.
6. Who are the coaches, and what are their qualifications?
MYHA coaches are all USA Hockey-certified, meaning they have all completed USA Hockey coaching seminars. USA Hockey is the national governing body of amateur hockey in the United States, from the smallest Mite House team right up to the US National and Olympic teams. MYHA is confident that across-the-board, our coaches are as qualified and successful as those in other organizations. The success of our teams is proof of the quality of our coaching staff.
7. Who can I contact with questions?
You are encouraged to contact any member of the MYHA board with questions or concerns. Board members are listed by title and area of responsibility on the website under the "Board of Directors" tab to the left.
8. How can I get involved?
MYHA is a volunteer parent-run organization. There are many opportunities to get involved with MYHA, from coaching, to managing a team (a manager works with the coach on scheduling and other off-ice issues), volunteering, to serving on the MYHA Board in one of many different positions. Like any large volunteer youth sports organization, MYHA is always in need of enthusiastic and energetic support on and off the ice.
9. Is hockey dangerous?
Hockey is a contact sport, and injuries, though rare, do occur. Parents should be aware that the risk of injury is real. However, with proper equipment, proper coaching - including USA Hockey's extensive emphasis on injury prevention, and ample practice time devoted to hitting and being hit (checking does not begin until the Bantam Division, so Mites, Squirts & Pee Wees are non-checking divisions, though collisions do happen), MYHA believes that players are prepared and protected and the risk of injury is minimized as much as it possibly can be.