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Joining Westfield Youth Hockey


Introduction:

Hockey is more than just a sport.  Hockey teaches children life lessons such as teamwork, self-confidence, and determination.  The team nature of hockey also builds life-long friendships.  To learn more about all that hockey has to offer, we invite you to visit the "One Goal" web-site.  We also invite you to talk with the many families currently involved with our program.
 

Programs:

Our program provides both boys and girls, ages two to eighteen, from beginners to advanced players, the opportunity to learn how to skate, learn the fundamentals of hockey, and play the game at various levels of competition. WYHA's programs are regulated by the rules and policies of Mass Hockey and USA Hockey to ensure quality, but more importantly, to ensure a safe and supportive playing environment for all participants. Our program emphasizes fun as much as it does skill development and competition.

Learn-to-Skate
Westfield Youth Hockey Association's Learn to Skate is designed for beginners from age 3 and up.  The program provides the opportunity for all boys and girls to learn the basics of ice skating in a SAFE and FUN environment.  Skater's progress at their own rate and coaches make sessions active using teaching aids and a wide variety of games and activities that create a fun environment and promote learning.  Beginners can start out by pushing "walkers" across the ice in order to keep their balance.  And before you know it, they are skating on their own!

Learn-to-Play
Our Learn to Play program builds from our Learn to Skate program adding basic hockey skills along with a solid foundation of skating skills. When you sign up for Learn to Play, you will be in a program that focuses on fun, participation and basic skill development.


Our Learn to Skate & Learn to Play Programs are offered in (3) 8-week sessions.  Learn to Skate will be every Saturday at 3:00 pm and the Learn to Play will follow at 4:00 pm.  
  
        2016-2017 Learn to Skate / Learn to Play Details
          Session 1: September 17, 2016 - November 5, 2016
          Session 2: November 12, 2016 - January 21, 2017
          Session 3: January 28, 2017 - March 18, 2017

 

6U (Novice)
Our 6U program is an introductory program for children with birth years of 2011 & younger. All 6U teams play in cross-ice games that typically are 3 v. 3 with small nets and no goalies. Teams play a series of 6-7 games each session at the Olympia Ice Rink in West Springfield and conclude with a mini-jamboree on the last weekend of each session. 

          2016-2017 6U Game Details
          Session 1: October 9, 2016 - November 20, 2016 (Note: Practices Start September 8, 2016)
          Session 2: December 4, 2016 - January 22, 2017
          Session 3: January 29, 2017 - March 12, 2017

8U (Mite) - 14U (Bantams)
The majority of WYHA hockey players are members of one of these teams classified by the following USA Hockey age divisions:
          8U (Mite) - 8 years old and under; Cannot turn 9 during the season before 12/31.
          10U (Squirt)
- 9 and 10 years old; Cannot turn 11 before 12/31.
          12U (Peewee) - 11 and 12 years old; Cannot turn 13 before 12/31.
          14U (Bantams) - 13
 and 14 years old; Cannot turn 15 before 12/31.

The 8U through 14U teams play in the Greater Springfield League. These are all coed teams. For most teams, the season runs from early September until early April. Each team has about one game and two practices per week. The practices are shared with other WYHA teams for cost and efficient utilization of ice. Most of our practices are held at Amelia Park Ice Arena.

Like most youth hockey teams in Massachusetts, our teams within each age division are formed based on the skill and experience level of the players. For instance, the players of the 10U 1 team are more proficient at hockey than players of the 10U 3 team. This might be viewed as controversial to some, but is done to maximize the development and enjoyment of all participants. The experience of playing hockey is most satisfying when the players and teams are evenly matched in ability. This system also allows children to start playing hockey at ages older than four to six (when many start) because we have teams that can accommodate beginners at the older age levels.

18U (Midgets)
Westfield Youth Hockey also offers a Pre-High School 18U (Midget) program for children (age 15-18) with birth years of 2002 & older. All 18U teams play in the Greater Springfield League.  All teams playing in these divisions will be based on skating abilities and will practice once per week with games played through the end of November.



Click here to Register Online for Any WYHA Program

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about playing for Westfield Youth Hockey.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our Board Members who will be happy to speak with you.
 

What is the time commitment required for my child to participate in ice hockey?

When GSL games start in October, a typical hockey schedule consists of (2) one hour practices and (1) to (2) one hour games per week.  Westfield Youth Hockey does provide special skating and goaltender clinics on occasion (average 1 per month) that all players are strongly encouraged to attend.

 

For younger players looking for a little less intense hockey experience, we have a 6U program that is available to skaters between 4 and 8 years old (born in 2011 and sooner).  The time commitment for 6U players is roughly 50-60% of the player who plays on the GSL teams, about 2 hours per week.

 

For skates and players in our Learn-to-Skate (LTS) and Learn-to-Play (LTP) programs, the time commitment is about one hour per week.  Our LTS & LTP programs are offered for (3) 8-week sessions from late September to early March.  Please visit our LTS/LTP page for more information on this program.  Our LTS/LTP programs are designed for kids between the ages of 3 and 10.

 

 

What league is Westfield Youth Hockey part of?

Westfield Youth Hockey is part of the GSL - Greater Springfield League - a group of youth hockey associations that are primarily based out of Western Massachusetts.  Organizations that make up the GSL are:

 

Amherst Hockey Association

Pioneer Valley Lightning

Springfield Capitals

Holy Name Stars

Ludlow Hockey Association

Franklin County Hockey Association

Nonotuck Valley Knights

Northern Berkshire Black Bears

Wilbraham Twin Meadows

Brattleboro, VT Hawks

 

The average number of teams per division usually ranges from 5-8 depending on our sister organization's ability to field teams in your age group and ability.  Westfield has a strong history of being able to place teams in just about every division in the GSL.  

 

Do you let girls participate in your program?

This is 2017, not 1960.  Young girls are most certainly welcome in our association.  We are pleased that the number of young girls in our programs continues to rise year over year.  However, we want and need more to grow our organization.  We encourage all young girls interested in hockey to come and try out WYHA.

 

How are the age groups set-up for the teams that play in the GSL?

For players who want to play on our GSL teams there are 5 age groupings.  These age groups are based on long-time standards set by USA Hockey.  For the upcoming 2017-2018 season, these groupings are broken out as follows:

 

8U - includes players born in 2009 & more recent years

10U - includes players born in 2007 & 2008

12U - includes players born in 2005 & 2006

14U - includes players born in 2003 & 2004

18U - includes players born in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002.

 

Some age groupings may have an A, B and/or C division in them to differentiate between teams of different abilities.

 

How much does it cost to play ice hockey?
NOTE: The following is a general guideline for parents.  Actual costs may vary based on team placement and equipment needs.

 

The cost of equipment is the responsibility of each player.  Bertelli's Skate Shop and Gateway Hardware (at the Olympia Ice Arena) are excellent sources of reasonably priced hockey equipment in the area.

 

Westfield is proud that our ice fees are typically among the most reasonable of all of the youth hockey organizations in Western Massachusetts while playing at Amelia Park - the crown jewel of youth hockey rinks in the Bay State.

 

GSL Teams

For players on our GSL teams, our yearly player fees typically range from $1000 to $1500.  This includes ice fees for practices, games, and clinics as well as the cost of referees and timekeepers throughout the entire season.  Our coaches work on a volunteer basis.  Some teams may wish to participate in competitive tournaments throughout the season.  Each team is responsible for funding their own tournament entry fees and related travel expenses.


These cost ranges do NOT include travel costs back and forth to the rink or equipment cost.

 

6U Teams

Our 6U fees typically range from $500 to $600 per year.  This includes ice fees for practices, games, clinics,  and jamborees.  As with our GSL coaches, our 6U coaches work on a volunteer basis. 


These cost ranges do NOT include travel costs back and forth to the rink or equipment cost.

 

Learn-to-Play & Learn-to-Skate Programs

Learn to Skate/Learn to Play fees are $75 per each 8-week session.  There are (3) 8-week sessions that run during the hockey season between late September and early March.  Please visit our Learn to Skate/Learn to Play page for more information about these programs.

 

What equipment does my child need to play hockey?
Westfield Youth Hockey abides by the list of proper equipment mandated by USA Hockey and all players (including Learn to Play) must wear the following equipment: helmet with a face cage, hockey gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hockey pants, cup, shin guards and a neck guard.  Hockey sticks and skates must also be provided by the player.  Mouth guards are mandatory at the 12U, 14U and 18U levels and strongly recommended at the 8U and 10U levels.  Please note that the only required equipment for Learn to Skate participants is a hockey helmet with a face cage and a neck guard.

 

What team will my child be placed on?
Children are placed on teams based on age and skill level.  Westfield Youth hockey fields multiple teams at the 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U level.  This helps to ensure that your child will play on the most appropriate team based on age and skills.  Currently, try-outs are held in the Spring for the following Winter Season.  If your child has missed try-outs, the Board will make every effort to place your child on the most appropriate team.

 

My child wants to play ice hockey but I don't understand much about the sport, how do I learn more?
Westfield Youth Hockey is governed my USA Hockey and Mass Hockey.  USA Hockey provides a number of educational resources for parents and children.  If you would like to learn more, you may want to visit the Parent Education  section of the USA Hockey Web Site.  There you will find Additionally, USA Hockey has developed a comprehensive document called H.E.A.R. for "Hockey Education Adult Resource".   This document contains valuable information about USA Hockey Philosophy, Player Development, Spectator Behavior, Equipment, Simplified Hockey Rules, Injury Prevention and a whole lot more.

 

As a parent, what volunteer opportunities are available so I can help out the organization?

There are several ways in which volunteers can assist WYHA.  For those that work well with kids and are knowledgeable on teaching the game of hockey, head and assistant coaching positions are available.  Leadership positions are available on the association's board and executive board.  As we do fundraisers throughout the season, such as the Annual Social and Fire & Ice Tournament, there are numerous volunteering assignments available to ensure that everything runs smoothly at these events.  Lastly, each team needs a "team representative" who is the liaison between the organization and the parents and manages all the non-coaching aspects of the team during the season.

 

This "team representative" position seems like something I would be interested in.  What responsibilities are involved with being a team rep?

The "Team Rep" is the link between your child’s team and Westfield Youth Hockey Association (WYHA).  Tasks may include things like…
 
* paying your team’s half of the referee/timekeeper fees at GSL games
* preparing your half of the team’s game sheet before GSL games
* organizing holiday/end of year shindigs
* researching and coordinating team participation in special tournaments
* relaying information from the league, WYHA, and the coach to the team


Please take a minute to browse the attached document which identifies the various responsibilities required of the team rep and the processes that they need to follow through the hockey season.