On behalf of the OMHA and the Board of Directors, welcome back to hockey!
We are just as excited as you are to be lacing up our skates again and dropping the puck on a new season. We are again looking forward to the sounds of the rink, family and friends in the stands cheering, teammates supporting each other, and the familiar smells of the arena snack bar.
This year, countless volunteers will be working to deliver players the most rewarding and enjoyable experience possible to ensure they are engaged, and foster a love for the game that will continue to grow each and every year. Our goal is to make sure the nearly 200,000 kids, coaches and volunteers in the OMHA have a fun experience in a safe and inclusive setting.
Implementation of the Canadian Player Pathways will continue, including seasonal structure elements that allow players to return to hockey while taking into account busy family schedules and the return to school.
As we continue to grow the game in our communities, the OMHA is here to support through such initiatives as the Goalie Assist and Player Assist programs to help make it easier for associations to welcome new families to our game.
This all comes back to why we do this – for the kids, coaches and volunteers who tell us year in and year out the benefits they get from hockey. It goes well beyond simply learning how to skate, pass and shoot, it is the life lessons and friendships that are formed. Each of our volunteers has their reasons to be involved – to give back to our communities, to help shape the leaders of tomorrow and to support a healthy outlet for our kids.
Hockey is a great game and an important part of our communities. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that, like many of you, the OMHA is concerned by the headlines we have all seen about the culture at the top levels of the game. We recognize we need to do better as a sport and are committed to doing our part for grassroots hockey.
Education continues to be the foundation that we rely on to ensure a safe, inclusive and welcoming place in which our participants can enjoy the game. The cornerstone of this is our partnership with the Respect Group, and our commitment to integrating Respect programming for the stakeholders in our organization - Coaches, Volunteers, Referees and Parents.
Even before the pandemic, the OMHA had begun planning important new initiatives to enhance our education efforts by consulting with leaders in diversity, inclusion, mental health and respect. You will be hearing more from us on this as the season progresses as our goal is to create an environment where everyone has fun and feels safe and welcome, no matter their background.
Like a true team, we are better together.
Good luck to all participants this season. But most importantly, have fun!
- Craig Lane, OMHA President
We are all excited to get another season of hockey underway! As we plan for the 2022-2023 schedule, the OMHA wants to remind everyone of some of the programming changes introduced last season. They make organized hockey an even better experience for players and their families.
Some of the changes that were made included:
This season we will continue to follow the Hockey Canada’s development model known as Player Pathways.* This takes players through five phases during the season, from their first steps onto the ice right to the last buzzer of the championships.
During the preparation phase players can participate in warm-up skates hosted by local associations and scheduled to begin just around the time school is starting up. This means kids will be able to meet their friends again, both on and off the ice, find their skating legs, and feel that exhilarating rush of wind on their face. With a concern for kids’ mental health top of mind, we want to give everyone a chance to get back onto the ice in a stress-free way, rather than in formal tryouts or an evaluation setting.
The earliest start date for OMHA-sanctioned programming is Tuesday, September 6.
For players at the U9 and below, this is the time when we assess each player’s skill level. By placing players in groups of similar skill level, we help make sure each child has the best possible development experience during the hockey season.
Players at U10 and above will have the opportunity to try out for representative (“rep”) programming.
U11 AND U13
Evaluations for most players U14 and Above were held in the Spring. For those associations that did not host tryouts in the spring, evaluations can begin once the association has determined their ice availability.
Once evaluations are completed, players and their teams move into the development phase. This includes working on skills and team-building exercises. These activities are designed to help players gain self-confidence before they begin regular season play.
For U11 and U13 AAA teams this phase runs until September 29th. For AA & Below teams this phase runs for at least seven days after evaluations - before the season starts - so players have a chance to practice on-ice skills, and settle in and feel comfortable with their teams and coaches.
For U14 and Above teams this phase runs until September 29th.
As players go through the development phase, they start to get excited about the regular season. Each league will determine season game schedule and how they identify teams for OMHA Championship weekends. Always working to make hockey even better for families, the OMHA has scheduled a seasonal break periods during the December holidays. There will be no league play during this time. Teams may choose to offer skill development, or participate in jamborees or tournaments, but these are optional. This will allow families to plan other activities.
Tournaments for U14 & Above, U11 & U13 AAA may begin as early as Friday September 30.
Tournaments for U11 and U13 AA & Below may begin Friday October 7.
The playoff format has been structured to ensure we keep players on the ice until March 1. This means extended meaningful competition, with like skilled teams playing together.
This format also replaces elimination-style series and reduces the need for families to travel for games.
As league playoffs progress, teams earn spots in the OMHA Championship Weekends. These exciting and action-packed weekends are scheduled for March 24-26, March 31-April 2 and April 7-9. Locations and divisions will be announced as soon as possible.
The OMHA is confident that by following the Canadian Player Pathway model this will make hockey an even better experience for our players and families. See you at the rink!
|All||Prep||September 7, 2022||6 days|
|Evaluation||September 12, 2022||7 days|
|Development||September 19, 2022||14 days|
|Cross-Ice||Half-Ice||Half-Ice to Full Ice|
|All||Preparation||September 6, 2022|
|AAA||Evaluation||September 10, 2022|
|Development||September 17, 2022|
|Tournaments||September 30, 2022|
|AA||Evaluation||September 17, 2022|
|Development||September 24, 2022|
|A and Below||Evaluation||September 24, 2022|
|Development||October 1, 2022|
|AA and Below||Tournaments||October 7, 2022|
|All||Development||September 6, 2022|
|Regular Season||September 30, 2022|
|Tournaments||September 30, 2022|
For registration and season start-up information, please contact your local hockey association.
*In the coming season, all elements of Player Pathways will be applied to U11 levels and below, while many of its key elements will apply to all age levels.
Share with your friends on Facebook and join the largest network of hockey parents.