Announcement [Pilot Program]: Format Change to Tyke Neal (2010) & Foote (2009) House League, News (Whitby Minor Hockey)

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Announcement [Pilot Program]: Format Change to Tyke Neal (2010) & Foote (2009) House League
Submitted By Jaclyn Morden on Wednesday, September 7, 2016
In an effort to continue to provide a positive hockey experience for all our players and focus on development and improvement, the WMHA House League Committee, in consultation with parents, coaches and the WMHA Board of Directors, has established a plan to test a new approach to placing players on teams for the Tyke Neal (2010) and Foote (2009) Divisions for the 2016 season.

What’s changing?


To allow players to learn the game and hone fundamental skills with like-skilled players in a positive learning environment, two ‘brackets’ (each with six teams) will be introduced in the Neal and Foote divisions.


Why the change?


Tyke Neal (6 year olds) is the first time games are played in a competitive format. Many of the players at this age are new to the game, while others have been playing for two or even three years, often resulting in a large disparity in skill and speed.  The same is true for the Tyke Foote division (7 year olds).  The purpose of this pilot initiative is to create the most fun and engaging program for all players, across all skill levels, while encouraging proper development for everyone.


How it will work:


Player Evaluation (September 17th - 18th)

To ensure players are practicing and playing with players of similar skill and ability, the first weekend of the season (September 17-18) will be treated as ‘Evaluation Skates.’


To those not familiar with the evaluation process, players will be assigned a date and time to skate on Saturday and Sunday (according to player last name. Details are available CLICK HERE). Upon arrival they will be provided with a numbered sticker to apply to their helmet. Over the course of two hours (one hour each day), the players will be run through standard CHIP development sessions and observed by a panel of volunteers.


After the evaluation skates are completed, players will be assigned to either the Blue or White bracket. They will then be assigned to a team and contacted by their coach with instructions for the following weekend (September 24-25), when they’ll be hitting the ice with their new teammates!


Through the Season

The two brackets will be called Blue (teams 1-6) and White (teams 7-12) and represent the placement of players according to overall skill.


Throughout the season, Blue bracket teams will play games against other Blue teams and White bracket teams will play only against other White bracket teams.

During the CHIP on-ice development sessions, bracketing will allow for a tighter focus on fundamental drills and exercises designed around development for the players. Similarly, coaches will be able to run skill-appropriate practice sessions without concern for leaving some players behind or losing the attention of others.

The season will be focused on development and fun for ALL and appropriate support will be provided to players and coaches to ensure practice and game situations best match their needs and ability.


Thank you to all who participated in the survey on this topic in August, it was the first step in a year-long process and commitment to transparency, consultation and open-mindedness related to this topic (and any other!). Two more surveys will be conducted to assist in the evaluation of this pilot initiative – one at the mid-way point and one at the conclusion of the season.


We look forward to this program and seeing all of you at the rink to kick-off another exciting year of hockey!





Andy Bruce

WMHA Tyke House League Director

[email protected]

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