General Questions and Answers
These answers are considered a general outline for information only. Some information is obtained through third-party and NASHA cannot be held responsible for total accuracy. If you have any questions, contact NASHA.
Q: Why should my child play Spring Hockey?
In addition to the character attributes mentioned below Spring Hockey adds many benefits.
- You can play on any team you want with no restrictions of address.
- If you want to play with more of an Elite Team to enhance your child’s performance, you can with no restrictions. Just find the team you want to play on and contact the operator to get a tryout. NASHA assists you with this as NASHA have a list of Canadian Spring Team operators on our website. https://nashasports.com
- Unlike Winter Hockey where you must commit to a 24 or more-week schedule you can play as much or as little as you want in Spring Hockey. You can get the perfect Game vs Development ratio that you are looking for. Every Spring Hockey program has a different ratio and you can find one that fits your wants.
- If you like to travel for Hockey over the Spring/Summer, you can find operators who have their teams travel to special tournaments.
- SPRING HOCKEY is the Ultimate in FREE CHOICE as everything should be in life.
- Hockey is a fun, family-friendly activity that offers people of all ages an opportunity to make new friends, get physically active, build important skills like hand-eye coordination and strategic thought and create memories that last a lifetime.
- Hockey is also a great sport for building character, and it gives those involved the opportunity to learn the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, and personal responsibility.
Q: What are the costs of hockey? How is the cost of minor hockey determined and how much of my fees go toward licensing and insurance?
- Minor hockey costs vary depending on the Company, age group and skill level in question. Costs typically include registration, tournament fees, equipment costs, insurance, arena rental time and travel expenses. A 2011-2012 survey by Hockey Canada found that the average cost of hockey enrollment is $1,200 for registration and ice time.
- Registration costs and tournament fees are set by the Spring Hockey individual program and these fees will be determined by the number of Tournaments and Development Sessions each team operates. Typical Spring Hockey programs run from $300 to $1,000 in fees but there a lot of options available at every price range.
- Equipment costs are set by manufacturers and retailers. Arena time costs are set by local arenas.
- Insurance costs are set by Individual Brokers and thus can vary by player/team. Unlike winter hockey, there is no single provider like Hockey Canada. NASHA Sports is supported by Jones Brown Canadian Brokerage. You can see the benefits of Jones Brown program on the NASHA website https://nashasports.com.
Q: How does NASHA ensure player safety?
- Safety is NASHA’s number one priority. That’s why NASHA has partnered with PLAYERS HEALTH and is initiating a Players Safety program by allowing players to get the Player’s Health App for FREE. Check out https://playershealth.com for more information on their extensive Players Health programs.
- NASHA endorses that its MEMBERS operating Tournaments assess penalties to any player who participates in a fight will receive both a Major penalty and a Game Misconduct penalty. All Major penalties for fighting carry an automatic one (1) game suspension and two (2) games if the fight occurs in the last 10 minutes of play.
- The instigator will also receive a Minor penalty and any player who retaliates after being struck, will be given a Minor penalty.
- Repeat offenders may face indefinite suspension, a formal disciplinary hearing, or expulsion from the league. NASHA Members have the authority to assess further penalties for fighting at their discretion.
- NASHA is going to develop the first Suspension Tracking System to track suspensions from Tournament to Tournament. NASHA cannot force Tournaments to use the system but this has been a long-standing issue for tournaments and we hope the reception to this new system will be used by most tournaments.
Q: What is the average weekly time commitment?
- The awesome part about Spring/Summer Hockey is that you can join a Spring Hockey program that matches the hours you want to spend playing weekly.
Q: How does the registration system work?
- You must register your child with NASHA through the online system to become a member and ensure your child is insured. In order to register your child, you will need to complete a form listing your child’s personal details like name, address, date of birth, provincial or territorial medical insurance number and your child’s date of birth and birth certificate #.
Q: What are the minor hockey age categories, and how are they determined?
- The minor hockey age categories are:
- Novice – for players seven and eight years of age
- Atom – for players nine and 10 years of age
- Peewee – for players 11 and 12 years of age
- Bantam – for players 13 and 14 years of age
- Midget – for players 15, 16, and 17 years of age
- Juvenile – for players 18 and 19 years of age
- Players are placed into age categories according to what age they will be by December 31 of the current calendar year.
Q: What levels of hockey are available? What are the differences between the levels, and what are the benefits of each one?
- Most Spring/Summer Tournament Operators offer three levels of play in any given age category: House/Local League, AE, A, AA, AAA, Elite but Operators can adjust levels to suit the tournament they are operating.
- House League hockey is a recreational level of play. House League players are almost always given equal ice time regardless of skill or talent.
- AE (Alternate/Additional Entry) hockey(not available in all programs) is a higher-caliber level of play for players who show strong skill and promise. AE teams are comprised of players who show enough skill to perform above House League players. Some AE players may receive more ice time than others depending on their skill, talent and willingness to work hard on the ice.
- Rep (Representative) hockey(A, AA, AA, Elite) is the highest caliber of minor hockey available in any given Company. Rep teams typically have 11 to 15 players who represent the more skilled and talented players in their age group.
Q: How do Spring/Summer Teams choose players for their teams.
- The way Spring/Summer teams are chosen is the teams/organizations choice. Some may choose to run Tryouts, other may choose their teams based on knowledge of players or referrals from trusted sources. Because of the Spring/Summer nature NASHA cannot direct teams on how to proceed. NASHA is not in position to dictate procedures to Spring/Summer programs. Head coaches on AE and Rep teams have the exclusive right to decide which players will be offered spots on their teams
- When evaluating potential players, AE and Rep coaches typically look for a certain set of attributes:
- Skating skills
- Passing skills
- Shooting ability
- Puck control
- Playmaking ability (offensive and defensive)
- Positive attitude
- Skating speed
- Fore-checking speed
- Back-checking speed
- Shows up on time
- Brings all necessary equipment to the rink
- Skates are sharp
- Wearing a jersey
- Attitude Toward Learning
- Ability to recover from mistakes without becoming frustrated
- Ability to pay attention to instructions and follow the drill
- Takes the initiative to help other players learn new skills
- Gives encouragement to other players
- Sets an example through hard work
- Skating Ability
- This is more than just the ability to turn, stop and skate quickly
- AE and Rep coaches want to see players skate hard during every minute of their shift
Q: Does NASHA condone pre-formed AE and Rep teams?
- Yes, we do as the Spring/Summer programs self-regulate in forming teams.
Q: When does registration start/end?
- Exact registration starts any time after January 1st of the current season and ends August 31.
Q: How do I register my child? / How do I access my child’s registration information?
- You can register your child online through your NASHA registration system.
Q: Does NASHA mandate cross-ice games for Initiation-age players and half-ice games for Novice players?
- NO, the optional style of Spring/Summer Hockey is that the operators of a Tournament or League can choose to play the younger player games on any size ice surface they choose. If this is a concern check with your Team or Program Operators before signing with that group.
Q: What should I know about unsanctioned hockey programs and/or leagues?
- Non-member programs or unsanctioned leagues are leagues that are not affiliated with Hockey Canada and operate outside of Hockey Canada’s existing minor hockey system. Unsanctioned leagues are wholly responsible for their own oversight. It is up to each individual unsanctioned league to determine how issues like injuries, harassment and rule infractions are handled.
- In some cases, unsanctioned leagues operate without a constitution, without bylaws, without insurance and with their own customized rulebook for game play.
- ALL Hockey played in the Spring/Summer is unsanctioned because Hockey Canada does not recognize any off-season Hockey.
- That is why NASHA is your choice when Hockey Canada is not involved. We have the policies in place that Hockey Canada is identifying. (In some cases, unsanctioned leagues operate without a constitution, without bylaws, without insurance and with their own customized rulebook for game play.)
Q: Are there female-only teams?
- Yes! There are many Female-only divisions in our members tournaments to encourage female-only play.
Q: How will I get my income tax receipt?
- The teams or organization that you signed with will provide you income tax receipt. NASHA does not collect any funds and thus cannot issue any receipts.
Q: What training do minor hockey coaches receive?
- In the short season that is Spring/Summer hockey and the fact NASHA is not only governing we cannot control the certification of Coaching and Team Staff. Most coaches in Spring/Summer Hockey have been certified through Hockey Canada. We do warn you of this so you can check the status of coaching before you sign with a team. You can play with any team in the Spring/Summer, so it lies with your best judgement on the team you choose to sign with.
Q: Are there professional coaches at the minor hockey level?
- The decision as to whether to pay a coach rests with the individual team or Company in question. There are many paid coaches in Spring/Summer Hockey.
- There are also coach mentors available to Minor Hockey Companies through Hockey Canada’s members. Coach mentors are experienced professionals who work with minor hockey coaches to develop their coaching skills.
Q: I want to become a coach for my child’s team. How do I register as a coach?
- Coaching your child’s team is a fun and engaging way to create quality family time and have a lasting impact on your child’s life. Spring/Summer is the best opportunity to coach.
- You can establish a team of your own and enter tournaments. However, we encourage you to become part of a Spring Hockey Company who run multiple teams. They can put you in a position of coach in one of their team, but also provide all their experience in running a team. They also handle getting ice, ordering jerseys, booking tournaments etc.
- This is where NASHA can assist you as we have a list of many Spring Hockey companies on our website https://nashasports.com.
Q: Do I need to be a former player in order to become a coach?
- Officially coaches are generally expected to have a knowledge of hockey technique and strategy that is best mastered by first playing the game. If you want to become a coach but have never played hockey before, you have many companies offering online courses to increase your knowledge but the best suggestion is to play with a Spring Hockey company who can help with the knowledge and strategy to coach.
Q: How can I learn the rules of organized hockey?
- NASHA is not about to rewrite the rules of hockey so we suggest you read Hockey Canada’s Rule Book mobile appfor Apple and Android devices is a convenient way to have the most up-to-date hockey rulebook at your fingertips. Tournaments will play by the generally accepted rules of Minor Hockey. (Just a reminder Minor Hockey and Professional Hockey can have a few rules that are different.
NASHA Sports Safety Program
Q: Does every minor hockey team require a Safety Person?
- Unlike Hockey Canada we cannot require this as we do not sanction all of Spring/Summer teams.
- However, we are partnered with Players Health and all our coaches and trainers will have access to the information they provide. Also, many trainers transition from Winter Hockey to Spring/Summer and have their training certificate through Hockey Canada. IMPORTANT verify any of your concerns are satisfied before you sign with a team.
Q: What are the roles and responsibilities of the Safety Person?
- If a Safety Person is in place and team official, you play a leadership role in implementing effective risk management programs with your team, enhancing the safety of players and all involved in amateur hockey.
Q: Does the Safety Person have to be a medical professional?
- Not necessarily. But NASHA does recommend that the Safety Person take a first aid/CPR course.
Q: How do I become a Safety Person on a team?
- If you are interested in becoming a Safety Person, contact NASHA and we will be happy to recommend how you can learn the information needed.
Q: What financial support is available to families?
- Hockey is for everyone. No child should be denied the opportunity to play hockey due to a difficult financial situation, however not every situation can be addressed.
- If you need financial assistance, there are programs available that can help subsidize the cost of your child’s minor hockey registration and equipment:
- The Big Play is a joint charity program lead by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. Eligible families can receiveup to $500 per child through the program. This money can be applied toward your child’s registration fee or toward a purchase of hockey equipment at any Canadian Tire retail location. Financial assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit The Big Play website to learn more or to apply for funding.
- KidSport Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing children across Canada with opportunities to play sports of all kinds. You can apply for financial assistance through your local KidSport chapter, which you can find on the KidSport Canada website.
- YMCA Canada also offers a financial assistance program, YRASP (YMCA Recreation, Arts, and Sports Program). The YRASP program provides funding of up to $500 per child per year to cover registration, equipment and transportation costs for organized arts, recreation and sports programs. YRASP is available to families with children aged 17 or under whose annual household income is under a certain threshold. You can apply for YRASP through your local YMCA chapter, which you can find on the YMCA website.
- TheNHLPA (National Hockey League Players Company) operates the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund, a charitable fund that supports grassroots hockey by donating money and equipment to volunteer-based grassroots hockey organizations. Eligible organizations can receive brand new skater and goalie equipment for up to 50 children.
Q: How are younger players prepared for the transition to hockey with body-checking?
- All games played at Peewee and below are non-body-checking games. HOWEVER, our tournament operators are independent and can announce other divisions as CONTACT. It is up to the team management to know this and not register for the tournament.
- All teams playing in a Contact Game must be insured for Contact Hockey.
- NASHA recommends that if your child is moving to contact that you contact one of NASHA’s sanctioned Hockey Schools to take proper Body Checking lessons. There are also non-contact Hockey Leagues in-season and off-season and you should look for these leagues if you are concerned about Contact Hockey. Also, all House League programs are non-contact.
- Although there is all kinds of online information NASHA believes getting live lessons through a Hockey School is vital to playing contact hockey.
Logistics, Communications & Scheduling
Q: What days of the week will my child be on the ice?
- Practice and game schedules are set by Tournament Operators and Practices set by the Spring Hockey program you have signed with. There no consistency on what tournaments teams might enter and what days they practice. Make sure you know the plans of the Team you are joining before signing.
Q: Do we have to travel out of town, and if so, how often?
- This is flexible based on the Teams plans for tournaments. As always make sure you ask the team what their plans are before you sign.
Q: What equipment does my child need? How much does it cost and where can I find it?
- All minor hockey players are required to have a full set of equipment in order to play. For your convenience, Hockey Canada has prepared a full and exhaustive list of every piece of equipment your child will need.
- An equipment fitting guide states that in order to ensure player safety, all minor hockey players must have the following equipment:
- Helmet (must be CSA-certified)
- Neck guard (must be BNQ-certified)
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Groin guard (jock/jill/cup)
- Hockey pants
- Shin pads
- Hockey socks
- Hockey stick
- Practice jersey
- Equipment bag
There are also several optional pieces of equipment that make your child’s hockey experience even better:
- Skate guards – Skate guards protect your child’s skates from accidental damage, keeping them sharper for longer.
- Water bottle – Hockey is a fast and demanding sport, and hydration is essential. It is recommended that players have their own dedicated personal water bottle.
- Pucks – While pucks will be provided at all official league games, you’ll also want to ensure your child’s team has a healthy supply of spare pucks on hand for practices, warm-ups prior to games and gaps between tournament games.
- Stick tape – Your child’s stick should be taped at the top and the blade. Taping the top will ensure that your child can keep a firm hold on the stick, while taping the blade will improve the stick’s grip and allow for better puck control.
- Sock tape/Shin pad straps – This clear tape holds your child’s socks and shin pads in place. Some shin pads come with Velcro straps, making sock tape unnecessary. Alternatively, you can purchase Velcro shin pad straps that you can affix to strapless shin pads.
- Spare stick – You never know when a stick is going to break. That’s why it’s always a good idea to carry a spare stick to games and tournaments. Your child should have his or her own spare stick to ensure the best possible hockey experience.
- Spare laces – Loose skates are uncomfortable and can make it difficult for your child to skate properly. If your child’s laces fray or break on the ice, you’ll want to ensure you have spare laces behind the bench so your child’s coach can quickly replace the damaged laces.
- Stick wax – Stick wax prevents the buildup of snow and ice on the blade of a hockey stick, allowing for better puck control and extending the life of the stick.
Q: Apart from registration and equipment, what other costs are involved in minor hockey? How will they be paid for?
While not mandatory, there are other additional costs that teams may incur during a season.
Team Clothing & Merchandise
Parents who wish to go one step further to support their local minor hockey Company may choose to purchase team clothing or team merchandise.
Travel & Tournament Fees
When travelling to away games, teams are responsible for their own travel costs like gasoline, food, parking and toll fees.
It is up to the parents and coaching staff on each individual team to determine how these expenses will be paid. Some teams choose to have each family pay their own way. Others will pool funds to ensure costs are distributed evenly across all families on the team.
Thank you for reviewing our manual.