We have put together some frequently asked questions to help clear up any confusion regarding this up coming season.
Do I apply for the Competitive or Recreational Program thru the Hockey Canada Registration website?
All players must register thru the Hockey Canada Registration website in order to be registered with the WSMHA. Those interested in the Competitive Program can apply for the Competative program using the form located on the WSMHA website after they have completed their registration.
Can a player apply for the competitive program regardless of whether he/she has played Rep previously?
Players can apply for the competitive program regardless of their previous hockey experience or skill level. However, while one of our key objectives is to accommodate as many players as we possibly can, there are limitations on our capacity which may come into play. A second objective is to offer programs which enable our members to play with and against players of similar ability. Therefore, the WSMHA reserves the right to consider factors such as relative skill levels in accepting applications for specific programs.
If games with other centres resume and a player who has been playing in the competitive program fails to make a AA or AE rep team, what are his or her options?
Such players would be assigned to the recreational program for the remainder of the hockey season. They would be eligible to try out for a position on a Select team if a Select program is available.
If a player applied for and was accepted into the competitive program would he/she be eligible to try out for a Select team?
If games with other centres resume our intent is to hold try-outs for AA, AE and Select for each cohort. Any player registered with the WSMHA would be able to try out for any of these teams regardless of whether they have been participating in the recreational or the competitive program up to that point.
Are players who are not residents of Stouffville eligible for both the recreational and competitive programs?
Technically, non residents are eligible for both the recreational and competitive programs this season. However, the OHF is limiting the movement of players from one organization to another. Also, the WSMHA reserves the right to give preference to Stouffville residents if we cannot accommodate all registrants/applicants for a specific program. Finally, we must also point out that should games with other centres resume, under Hockey Canada regulations non-residents are generally ineligible for Rep and Select teams (with the exception of players who were registered as NRP’s with Stouffville AA teams in 2019-20).
My child is 11 years old. Will he be playing against older players?
Our objective for both the recreational and competitive programs is to have players play with and against players of similar age and ability. The number of registrants/ applicants permitting, this will mean that players will in most cases be assigned to programs with other players of the same age (cohort).
My child played in the GTHL last season. We have since moved to Stouffville. Will he be able to register to play in Stouffville?
While the Ontario Hockey Federation has placed some temporary limitations on player movement this season, these limitations will not apply to players whose families have actually re-located from one centre to another. The Hockey Office will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork to transfer to our Association.
My child played on a Clippers AA team last season. Just to clarify, will there not be any Rep teams this season?
Due to Covid- 19 travel concerns, Hockey Canada has temporarily cancelled all competitive (Rep) leagues, i.e. leagues involving teams travelling from one centre to another for games. We anticipate that the travel restrictions will eventually be removed and traditional Rep programs will resume. We have been advised that this is unlikely to happen before January, 2021. In the interim we will offer kids who would otherwise be playing Rep hockey a program which combines skill development and competition within the Stouffville community.
We are Stouffville residents. My child played AAA last season. What are his options for this season?
The Ontario Hockey Federation has determined that players such as your child who played for teams not located in their residential community last season will have the option to either return to their residential centre or remain with the organization they played with last season. They will not, however, be allowed to move to a another (third) organization for the 2020-21 season.
We are Stouffville residents. My child played on a Clippers team last season, but was hoping to try out for a AAA team this year. What are his options?
The Ontario Hockey Federation has determined that all Rep leagues have been temporarily suspended and that no try outs for Rep teams will take place until this suspension has been lifted. Players who did not play AAA hockey during the 2019-20 season will therefor not be permitted to join a AAA program outside their residential centre until such time as AAA leagues resume and try outs are held. Your child is eligible to apply for the competitive or recreational programs offered by the WSMHA and if/when Rep hockey resumes he will be free to attend any Rep try outs for which he would normally be eligible.
My child was rostered as an NRP (non-resident player) on a Clipper AA team last season. Will he be able to play in Stouffville this year?
Since your child was rostered to a WSMHA Rep team for the 2019-20 season he is eligible under OHF regulations to register with the WSMHA for the 2020-21 season. (A non-resident who was not rostered to a Clipper AA team last season may not be granted permission to transfer to our organization by the OHF under new regulations related to Covid-19.) While your child is eligible to register with the WSMHA, we must caution you that should the number of registrants/ applicants exceed our capacity we reserve the right to give preference to Stouffville residents.
We understand that the GTHL as well as some OMHA centres will be offering programs this season which are very similar to the traditional Rep leagues we’ve become accustomed to. Is this true and, if so , why is the WSMHA’s plan so different?
Minor Hockey is known for its rumour mills and that has not changed during the current pandemic. Hockey Canada through its provincial branches is determining the regulations and protocols which govern all amateur hockey during the Covid-19 era. This means that the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) as the Ontario branch of Hockey Canada is setting the ground rules for minor hockey in this province. The GTHL along with the Alliance, and the OMHA are subject to the authority of the OHF. As such their members are obliged to follow the same regulations and protocols as the WSMHA. Hockey Canada and the OHF have determined among other things that there will be no competitive leagues involving games between other centres or clubs, and effectively no 5 on 5 hockey in any form to start the 2020-21 hockey season. To this point in time Hockey Canada/ OHF have not set a date for the targeted resumption of competitive leagues or 5 on 5 games, and informed sources are suggesting that this will not occur until January at the earliest. The WSMHA is closely monitoring all official sources of regulations and protocols related to Covid-19 as well as the programs offered by other centres. We will be very quick to loosen current restrictions when health and safety considerations allow and permission is granted by government and governing bodies.
You’ve indicated that you plan to collect information regarding participants at games and practices as well as responses to a health questionnaire. What are you going to do with this information and to whom will it be made available.?
The collection of information as to who attended specific games and practices as well as individual responses to a brief health screening questionnaire are both mandated by government and local health authorities and required by Hockey Canada as a prerequisite for participation. The same documentation is required by restaurants and certain other facilities as part of a contact tracing strategy. The WSMHA will ensure that this information is collected from all participants at each game or practice in electronic or hard copy form. The information will be stored centrally in a secure location and will be accessed by our Risk Management Director if required. Should we become aware of a suspected or confirmed case of virus, all members of the bubble who participated in recent events will be contacted and advised in accordance with local health authority recommendations. Barring a reported incident all information will otherwise be destroyed 14 days after the event at which it was collected.
Will there be body checking in the competative program?
The recreational and competative programs are both house league programs so there will be no body checking in either program.
What kind of scheduling can we anticipate?
Traditional the house leagueprogram was run on Saturdays and Sundays. Until we have our final ice allocation and registration numbers for both programs, there may be the possiblity that there could be some recreational hockey during the week.
I recently received an email promoting a 3 on 3 league starting in September. How would this compare with what the WSMHA is offering?
The key difference is that these leagues are not sanctioned by Hockey Canada, the Ontario Hockey Federation or any of their partners including the OMHA, the GTHL or Alliance. More importantly, any player who participates in a game or practice with one of these unsanctioned leagues after September 30 is ineligible to participate in any Hockey Canada sanctioned league or program for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
I’m a little confused by what I read in the WSMHA’s Return-to-Play Plan. Are you planning to combine 3-4 age groups in a league or bubble for games and/ or skill development?
Sorry for any confusion. The answer is “definitely not”. One of our key objectives is to have players of similar skills and abilities playing and practicing together in both the recreational and competitive programs. This means that with very few exceptions players will be grouped with other players from the same age cohort for games and skill development.