DATE: October 5, 2018
TO: Minor Hockey Associations; Sports Schools
FROM: Kevin Macrae – Director, Hockey Operations
SUBJECT: Non-Sanctioned Hockey Programs – Minor Hockey
In recent years competing hockey organizations have emerged in Alberta, operating outside of the Hockey Canada structure.
Hockey Alberta wants to ensure our membership has the correct information about the impact these non-sanctioned programs and leagues have on the eligibility of a player and/or team official. Hockey Alberta also wants to ensure that participants are aware of the facts, the options, and that they do not take for granted some of the privileges of membership within the Hockey Alberta structure that includes over 100,000 participants and dedicated, highly trained volunteers.
Hockey Alberta does not support or sanction minor hockey programs that choose to operate teams outside the parameters of our member Minor Hockey Association (MHA) and Sports School structure. The PX3 AMP program and the Hockey Super League (and its participating programs) are currently non-sanctioned organizations that are operating amateur hockey outside the structure of Hockey Alberta.
Hockey Alberta respects the right of each family to make a choice when registering in youth sports. Whether it is another sport or another hockey program, Hockey Alberta understands that a family may make a choice to leave our sanctioned minor hockey system. As we strive towards providing positive opportunities and experiences for all players, Hockey Alberta fully supports the philosophy and principles outlined within Hockey Canada’s Long-Term Player Development plan and Seasonal Structure Guidelines. We believe that:
- Each player should choose to be part of only one full-time hockey program each season.
- Participating in multiple sports will help develop an individual as an athlete.
- Participating in multiple hockey programs at the same time is not in the best interest of the development of any player.
- When a player registers for a program, s/he makes a commitment to a team and playing on another hockey team at the same time could make it hard to honour that commitment. Therefore, it is not recommended that any player attempt to participate in two full-time programs.
- Hockey Alberta, and our Members, provide opportunities to registered players within our system that are not available to those not registered in our system.
Hockey Alberta will continue to work with you, our Members, to live and adhere to the philosophies noted above. In doing so, we want to be clear that Hockey Alberta will not restrict players from being able to make their choice.
Now that September 30 has passed, it is important for all member MHA and Sports School programs
to apply the proper registration processes if a player contacts you about registration.
- Any player who registered and participated with a non-sanctioned program after September 30 of the current year may apply for re-instatement. The deadline to apply to Hockey Alberta for reinstatement is October 31. The Player submits their application to the respective MHA or Sports School and, if they choose to support the application, they will work with Hockey Alberta to review it and determine if the player can be accommodated. As roster sizes, tiering and registration deadlines can all be factors, there is no requirement or guarantee that a player will be able to return within the season.
- Any player who attempts to register and play with both a sanctioned MHA or Sports School and an unsanctioned program will be required to remove themselves from the unsanctioned program to be considered eligible to participate with the MHA or Sports School. All known situations are to be handled by the MHA or Sports School, as outlined above.
Additionally, Hockey Alberta will only accept players who are registered with a member MHA or Sports School into our Peewee Prospects, Alberta Challenge, Alberta Winter Games, Alberta Cup, and/or our High-Performance Development Camps. Access to these programs is a privilege that is offered to and reserved for the proud participants of Hockey Alberta. We also reserve the right to make choices regarding the coaches and officials that we deem to be the best fit within our high- performance and grassroots development programs. Those participating in and/or supporting non- sanctioned programs could be perceived to pose a conflict and therefore may not be considered for Hockey Alberta programs or committees.
Over the past year, Hockey Alberta has gathered information from MHAs and families attempting to find out why players have made the choice to access another hockey option. Some prevalent themes are the perception that a non-sanctioned program provides a better development experience for the player, that it is a ‘higher’ level of hockey, and/or that some families did not want to register where MHA boundaries dictate.
This feedback is important, as it helps Hockey Alberta identify potential adjustments to the minor hockey system to address these concerns and to confirm our sanctioned minor hockey system as the program of choice for Alberta residents.
Hockey Alberta will continue to work with our neighboring branches, Hockey Canada, the WHL, the AJHL, and our member MHAs and Sports Schools to promote the system which we believe to be the best model for preparing players for the next level of hockey.