Newton Youth Hockey Tryout and Placement Policy
Tryouts for all travel teams (Mite-Midgets) will begin in late February and conclude mid-March. The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing the rules and formats associated with the tryout sessions. Note that to be eligible for tryouts, a player must be registered in advance online at www.newtonyouthhockey.com.
The purpose of tryouts is to evaluate a player's skating ability and hockey skills in order to place him or her within a team that will provide the best environment for improving their self-confidence and enjoyment of the sport of ice hockey.
Players or families that have past due tuition balances from prior seasons will not be allowed to try out until outstanding balances have been paid in full or satisfactory payment arrangements have been made with the association's Treasurer and President.
A Board-approved evaluation group using a scoring system approved by the VP of Travel will evaluate skating ability, hockey skills, and game awareness at each level during scheduled tryout sessions. All levels will include a scrimmage component as part of the evaluation process.
Additional input to a player's respective hockey abilities and understanding of team concepts will be provided by the previous year's coach(es). That input will be solicited through a standardized player evaluation form that is provided to coaches prior to Spring tryout. The evaluations are confidential. At no time will the evaluations be shared or witnessed with any non-approved Board member including parents or players.
NYH Board recommends all players attend all tryout sessions. A player is mandated to attend 2 out of 3 to be placed on the appropriate team. Regardless of the player’s ability, the failure to attend the minimum 2 tryouts requires that the player to start at a lower level in September. In the fall of the new season, depending on team compositions, players may be considered for promotion through the call-up process.
When a player's inability to attend the tryouts as a result of a family-related conflict and/or illness or injury, a player may request in writing that they be evaluated by the a three-member committee consisting of the President, VP of Travel, and Coaching Director. This is only in extreme cases, and no evaluation will be conducted unless the request is provided in writing to the President and Registrar prior to the commencement of the tryout process. Any decision on whether such an evaluation will be conducted will be made by the Executive Committee within 10 business days of the written request.
In accordance with Massachusetts hockey’s rules and by-laws, non-Newton residents are allowed to tryout providing they are not fiscally delinquent with tuition payments from another town or program. All non-Newton residents are held to the same rules as a standing NYH member. No NYH team may have more than 3 players from any outside program unless it is approved by the Executive Committee and the Massachusetts Hockey District 9 Registrar. All requests for roster exemptions outside this three player limit are required in writing by the head coach prior to the completion of the roster. An Executive Committee ruling will be issued within 5 business days of the hearing and final approval is subject to approval by the Massachusetts Hockey District 9 Registrar
Player Tryout Specifics
Tryouts provide evaluation teams the opportunity to observe players in 2-3 structured sessions focusing on skills and scrimmaging. The Vice President of Travel with the group lead will develop the overall tryout format for their particular level, subject to the review and final approval from the VP of Travel. All levels will have skill sessions, and one or more scrimmage session.
Player tryout, like player development, is a process. Effective management of the process will make a young player’s experience in hockey a more positive one.
Having a solid player evaluation process in place can help make the process much easier. Not only will it give NYH a reference point it will also give a starting point to determine where the players are skill wise, thus beginning the process of utilizing the Hockey program, and coaches on importance of developing specific skills.
Each evaluator, working individually, will score every player at that level on their performance during the skills and scrimmage sessions. A player’s total score will be based upon the summation of their respective skill and scrimmage scores. An evaluator will score with a respective number from the scoring chart below in respect to either the skill or scrimmage session.
5= shows mastery of all criteria.
4= various levels of proficiency.
3= ability to execute skills adequately.
2= needs work on skills at various stages.
1= inability to execute skills
Objective of Player Tryouts
To provide a fair and impartial assessment of a players total hockey skills during skating and scrimmage sessions.
To ensure that players have a reasonable opportunity of being selected to a team appropriate to their skill levels as determined during on-ice evaluations of the current year.
To provide coaches with knowledge of player’s abilities for the team for which they are selected. Giving them the opportunity and flexibility to build their team with the right philosophy and skill sessions to create the best players possible for that level of play.
To provide uniformity and consistency in the evaluation process such that a player and parent expectations are consistent from year to year as players move through the various levels of NYH’s hockey program.
To form teams to maintain balanced and competitive play where the athletes can develop their skills, participate in the team experience and have fun playing the game of hockey.
To provide feedback in order to develop players on a continuing basis throughout their youth hockey career.
There are 3 key groups involved in the tryout process:
On-ice coaches to take players through the sessions
On-ice evaluators who will be responsible to evaluate every player on the ice during the time allotted.
On/Off–ice administrators who will be responsible for tracking evaluations, contacting parents and players and scheduling sessions.
Skills overview for tryouts
Skating: Acceleration, speed, mobility, agility, balance, stride, crossovers, pivots, acceleration out of turns, quick feet, controlled skating, and change of pace.
Passing: Passing, receiving, passing choices, control, touch passing, accuracy.
Puck control: Head is up, good hands, protection, creativity in small spaces, adjustments in traffic.
Shooting: Power, accuracy, quick release, can shoot in motion, goal scorer, rebound control, variety of shots.
Positional Play: Ability to see the play developing both offensively and defensively, support, judgement, anticipation, understands systems, disciplined.
Upon the completion of tryouts the evaluations are collected and organized to match the pinney number of the participant to his/her name. The NYH Board of Directors determines the number of teams that will compete in the following season. Once the number of teams is decided, the players are placed according to score on the appropriate team. After the teams have been finalized, the rosters are posted to each team on the NYH web site.
The Newton Youth Hockey (NYH) Board recognizes that roster placement can cause anxiety and uncertainty among players and parents. The following is intended to minimize anxiety by providing transparency and clarifying the process.
The Roster Placement Process
The roster placement process consists of five steps.
- 2+ coaches’ season ratings
- On-ice evaluations at tryouts
- Current season team level in the Valley Hockey League (VHL)
- Board initial team placement
- Coaches’ roster review
The first three items provide numerical rating data used for initial stacked ranking. The last two are qualitative adjustments to make sure the math makes sense.
2+ Coaches’ Season Ratings
The coaches’ rating carries the most weight. With five or six months of experience behind them by the time of their evaluations, coaches have the most comprehensive sense of the players’ abilities and teammate qualities. We have mandated that at least two coaches participate in the ratings to prevent one extreme relationship from being unfairly influential.
On-Ice Evaluations at Tryouts
Next involves the tryout ratings. There are four independent evaluators from third party organizations plus the age group level head. Tryouts and coaches’ ratings account for the bulk of the input to roster placements.
Current Season Team Level in the VHL
We also consider the Valley Hockey League competitive level as a factor to differentiate between players moving up in age group. For example, a Peewee playing on the top NYH team in the Elite division will gain preference in this category over a returning Bantam third team player that was on the 113th out of 151 VHL Bantam teams. Compared to the previous two factors, this receives a modest weighting.
Board Initial Team Placement
The VP – Travel is responsible for roster placements. They make the first pass based on the numerical rating data as described above. Various Board members may review the initial rosters with input likely from at least the Coaching Director and the President but may include others with knowledge about specific players.
Coaches Roster Review
The sending and receiving (where applicable) coaches get a chance to review the team placement and comment. Obviously there is no individual within the organization that knows over 300 players individually so getting qualitative input at the end is essential. Major changes are rare at this stage, but players on the bubble are occasionally moved up or down.
At the end of the process, the following input has been received:
- 2 coaches (scores averaged)
- 5 tryouts evaluators (scores averaged)
- 1 VP – Travel (stack ranked scores)
- 2+ Board members (qualitative input)
- 2 coaches’ review (qualitative input)
While some of the evaluators above are involved more than once, there are up to 12 different input opportunities factoring into the roster placement. No individual can significantly affect roster placement.
Roster Placement Principles
- Every player trying out will be evaluated and considered for placement on the highest team, regardless of prior season team placement or age.
- If two 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 second year player will be placed ahead of the younger player.
- Due to shifting numbers of players in a given age group and the talent level of the incoming, younger age group, a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop down
Specific team assignment requests are generally not permitted and should only be made in cases of extreme hardship. All such requests must be submitted in writing to the Board of Directors detailing the need for the placement and will be considered only if the request is for participation on a lower level team within the player's age bracket. Placements will not be made if it would significantly impact the makeup and skill level of a lower level team.
A Note to 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 success in hockey and beyond than moving up one team level.
- Understand that the Roster Placement Process is subjective. Each evaluator values hockey attributes differently. Those involved in the placement process must make difficult decisions at times. The Board has made every effort to create a fair process that relies on volunteers doing their best.
- Rosters are structured such that there is some room for upward mobility at the beginning of each season. Each team most often needs to add one or two skaters, and there is a process for calling up the best players from the team below. Encourage your player to commit to being the best they can be when that opportunity presents.
- Newton Youth Hockey is a town hockey program comprised of volunteers. We prioritize players having fun, wanting to return next season, and improving hockey skills in that order, and that is independent of team placement level.
- If you have a question about where your child was placed, please contact the
The goal of the NYH Tryout process is to fairly evaluate players, and place them on the best team that matches their skill level, and ability in the fairest way possible, using many ‘checks and balances’. NYH recognizes that there is no perfect process, and that there will always be players and parents who will disagree with the decisions. This will always exist in the case of a selective tiered (1, 2, 3…) system. We believe that our process is reasonable and fair, providing a player the opportunity to play on a team that is matched to that player’s overall ability.