Note: You can download a Word document version of this guide at the bottom of the page.
How do travel team tryouts work?
Tryouts will consist of a mix of individual skill drills, small area games, and scrimmages. At all age levels, players are selected for the “AA” or “A” travel team based on skill level. This designation is dictated by the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI), with “AA” the higher skill level team. If there are not enough skaters to field an “A” team, only one team will be created (“AA”).
Why are the teams divided by skill level?
This is to allow each player the maximum development, which occurs when players compete in both practices and games against other players who are at their comparable skill level. With this approach, players get more time with the puck and have more opportunities for growth of individual and team skills.
How is the “AA” team selected?
The evaluator(s) which are comprised of the Coaching Director, Independent Evaluator(s), and/or age-level Coaching Staff, determines the “AA” roster. The Board of Directors oversees this process in order to ensure adherence to CUYHA Procedures and Policies. The “AA” team will be comprised of skaters that have been judged by the evaluating committee as having the highest overall skill level at tryouts. At each age level (8U- 18U), the “AA” team will typically play in NIHL (www.nihl.info) and/or CIHL (www.cihockey.org).
How is the “A” team selected?
If there are sufficient numbers of players at any age level to create more than one team, and when skaters’ skill level dictates such a division, one or more “A” teams will be formed. The overall skill level of the “A” team(s) will determine their placement in NIHL, CIHL, or an independent schedule.
What happens if my player is not placed on the “AA” team?
First and foremost, this is NOT an indication that your child has no future in youth hockey. All players develop at different rates. The focus of CUYHA is on the development of each player, no matter where his or her current skill level stands. Thus, players are placed on the team that is best suited for their own personal development. The most critical factor for the long-term success in hockey is to continue playing.
Will my player who was on a travel team last season be guaranteed to be on a travel team (AA or A) this season?
No – teams are reformed every year at tryouts. While there likely will be players who return to an AA or A travel team, players must tryout each year and will be placed according to their current skill level.
Can I tryout with an older age group?
Yes, but only with prior approval from Coaching Director, Nick Fabbrini (firstname.lastname@example.org) Note: trying out at an older age group does not guarantee placement in that age group or on the team in the skater’s actual age group. Also, USA Hockey and AHAI prohibit Mite-aged players from playing up to an older age group.
At the 18U age level, what is the Midget AA team and the Combined High School (HS) team?
Midget AA and Combined HS teams will share head coach and all practice ice times, but they will play separate game schedules. With some exceptions, Midget “AA” players are eligible and encouraged to also participate with the Combined HS team in games. The Midget “AA” team will be selected based on skill level determined in tryouts, and will play in NIHL. When they are eligible to be rostered, all players that tryout at the 18U level will be offered a spot on the Combined HS team. If there are enough eligible players to roster a Combined HS team, it will likely play in the Land of Lincoln Hockey League (www.llhh.org).