Connecticut Northern Lights Girls Hockey Tryout Policy and Procedures
NLGH Tryout Policy and Procedures are overseen by the Director Of Hockey Operations, under the supervision of the NLGH Board of Directors. The goal of our tryout process is to:
(1) achieve the most accurate player placement;
(2) provide the players and parents of NLGH transparency in the process;
(3) provide guidance to tryout evaluators in order to create a more consistent process, and
(4) provide a known set of standards upon which players are measured to assure the highest possible degree of fairness and objectivity in the process.
Tryout coordinators, evaluators, and coaches at all levels put in a tremendous amount of time and personal commitment to adhere to the tryout policy & procedures. At the Northern Lights we recognize that tryouts often cause a great deal of anxiety among players and parents. This document is intended to allay some of this anxiety by improving transparency and clarifying how the process works.
The Director of Tryouts, under supervision of the Director of Hockey Operations and the NLGH Board of Directors, is ultimately responsible for the tryout process and resultant team placements. Any NLGH player or parent who has further questions should feel free to contact the Director of Tryouts. While tryouts are ongoing, parents should refrain from speaking about the tryouts to any other member of the evaluation process: coaches, evaluators or coordinators. This will help ensure that the process is run in the most objective manner possible.
- Tryouts for the Northern Lights are open to all girls based upon age eligibility. For returning players all past due balances must be paid in order to participate in the tryout process. All players new to the Northern Lights must be able to obtain a release from their prior organization.
- The Director of Tryouts selects an Evaluation Committee for each age group. Other than in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Director of Tryouts, no Evaluation Committee member may be the parent of a player trying out at the level for which he or she is evaluating.
- Evaluators and On-Ice Coordinators shall be coaches in good-standing in the Northern Lights Girls Hockey Organization or persons designated by the Director of Tryouts.
Schedule of Evaluation and Placement
The Evaluation Committee will use its best efforts, with the information and input available to them, to appropriately place players who have had conflicts with the tryout schedule. It is strongly encouraged that players attend all, or as many, of their scheduled sessions as possible. If exceptions are required then the parents of the player who cannot attend tryouts must coordinate with the Director of Tryouts who will address this on a case-by-case basis.
Ice usage and session splits
Color jerseys are used to identify and keep track of players during the tryouts. Note that evaluation techniques will require the use of different jersey colors to effectively evaluate the talent. These jersey assignments do not represent a ‘pre-determination’ of team assignments.
During the on-ice tryout sessions, players will be asked to exhibit the following in a series of drills, small area games, and full ice scrimmages:
- Skating - Stride, Edges, Speed, Crossovers, Forwards & Backward Skating
- Puck Carrier - Puck Handling, Shooting, Passing, Control
- Game awareness - Playing Position, Getting Open, Play Making and Anticipation
- Effort – Small Battles, Fore-check, Back-check, Tenacity, Competitiveness and Coachability
Guidelines for player rankings, team assignments, and coach selection
After the completion of the on-ice tryout, the Evaluation Committee will meet to determine final player rankings and team assignments. Input into the rankings includes the on-ice evaluations as well as input from past season coaches (for returning players). The Evaluation Committee is responsible for ranking players based upon on-ice performance in the tryout. That ranking will be provided to the Director of Tryouts. The Director of Tryouts will check for any instances where the Committee’s ranking of a player, relative to other players from that player’s most recent team, deviates substantially from the prior coaches’ rankings of those same players. Although there will clearly be some changes in the relative positions of players from the current season, this step will serve as a “check” for any serious anomalies that may indicate the need for review. Where significant discrepancies appear, the Director of Tryouts will take the matter up with the prior coach and the Evaluation Committee to ensure the ranking is appropriate.
- The Director of Tryouts, with input from the Board, will determine the number of teams at each level and players will be placed on a team based upon their ranking. The goal is to fill a roster to a maximum of 15 skaters and 2 goaltenders (or more for older age groups). The final number of players invited to join each team will be driven by the overall capabilities of players to ensure a consistent team level of performance.
- Every player trying out will be evaluated and considered for placement on the highest team, regardless of prior season team placement or age.
- Positions: Players at the U14 level and older shall try out, and be ranked, by position (i.e. forward or defense). Younger age level players shall be placed based on overall ability and not specific position as all players at these ages benefit from playing multiple positions to gain an evolving understanding of the game.
- If 2 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 player with the longest tenure with NLGH will be placed ahead of the other player.
- We are hopeful that every player in NLGH will continue to skate year in and year out to develop long-lasting friendships with their teammates. Furthermore, we recognize that every player is unique and her development curve may jump ahead or lag behind her peers. With this in mind, the Tryout Committee will try to acknowledge the forward progress of each skater for the next season, but in some instances, that will not be possible and a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop back. Player placement is not lockstep from year-to-year. For example, returning Maroon players are not guaranteed Silver placements nor are Silver players guaranteed a Silver placement. This philosophy holds true for the goalie player position, as well. No goalie is presumed to have this “spot” for any team next season regardless of whether they are returning to the same level or moving up because of her age.
- NLGH recognizes and believes that high quality coaching is the most important ingredient for a successful hockey experience. Every effort will be made to have the best possible Head Coach available to coach each team.
- The selection of Head Coaches are announced before tryouts if non-parent coaches are used. In cases where a parent coach is required, coaches are announced after tryouts.
Team Placement Communication
Team rosters will be posted to the NLGH website within 72 hours of tryout completion. Commitment night will be held in early May, during which time players will choose a number, order uniforms and make their deposit to ensure their spot on the team.
Post Tryout Policy
After tryouts have occurred, players wishing to join NLGH will be accommodated to the extent possible. The Director of Tryouts will consider roster additions to the team determined appropriate given a player’s skills and only if the existing roster size permits an addition. In some instances, this may mean that NLGH will be unable to accommodate a player after tryouts. It is possible that such a late registrant could be accommodated as an alternate (for a team designated by the Board), in which case she would be allowed to practice with her designated team and play games should the need arise for an additional player. All such post-tryout accommodations for late registrants will be done first with the best interests of the players and the coaches of the set teams and then with the individual late registrant in mind.
A Note to Parents: 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 a long-lived “hockey career” than anything else.
- Understand that the Tryout Process is inherently imperfect and that there is a subjective element to the process. Evaluators must make difficult decisions. The Board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.
- If you have a question about where your child was placed, please contact the Director of Tryouts. As needed, the Director of Tryouts will consult with Tryout Coordinators, Evaluators and the Board. Please do not attempt to contact evaluators or coaches during the tryout process, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.
- As is the case in most youth sports, what particular team level a player plays at as a 7 to 13 year old rarely affects their later years. In fact, in most cases the relative ability ranking of players in a sport changes greatly over these years, so no single placement for a given season should be, nor is, creating a “destiny” for a child. The high school and college rosters of all sports are filled with players who ranged from A to C players in their early ”careers”. The most critical factor for later years is – to still be playing! Children will keep playing as long as the adults don’t mess it up and make it no longer fun.
- NLGH is proud of our organization. We value, care, and spend as much time on “Maroon” teams as on “Silver” teams and believe these distinctions are necessary only to the extent they are needed to determine at what level a team plays at in a given league. They do not determine the “real players” nor very often who will be playing 5, 10, or 20 years from now.