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Welcome Back! Key Dates for the 2022-23 Season

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/06/22, 9:45AM EDT

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A Message From OMHA President Craig Lane

A Message from OMHA President Craig Lane

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:  

  • increasing focus on the mental well-being of our players. By allowing more prep time before tryouts, the season start-up will be less stressful for everyone.
  • scheduling a seasonal break in December. This makes it easier for families to spend time relaxing together over the holidays. League play is permitted during March Break.
  • ensuring a longer, more meaningful season for all players. Our playoff structure and Championships format keep everyone playing right up to March!

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.

Re-Connecting with Our Love of the Game

PREPARATION PHASE
 

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. 

Assessing Players’ Skill Levels to Provide an Optimal Experience

Evaluation Phase


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

  • AAA tryouts: Saturday, September 10
  • AA tryouts: Saturday, September 17
  • A & below tryouts: Saturday, September 24

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.

Sharpening Skills and Skates

Development Phase
 

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. 

The Puck Drops, and an Exciting New Season Begins

Regular Season Phase
 

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.

An Exciting Finish

Playoff Phase
 

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! 


Key Dates

U9 and Below

CATEGORY PHASE START DATE DURATION
All Prep September 7, 2022 6 days
  Evaluation September 12, 2022 7 days
  Development September 19, 2022 14 days

 

U7 U8 U9
HL/LL HL/LL HL/LL/MD
Cross-Ice Half-Ice Half-Ice to Full Ice

 

U11 and U13

CATEGORY PHASE START DATE
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

 

U14 and Above

CATEGORY PHASE START DATE
All Development September 6, 2022
  Regular Season September 30, 2022
  Tournaments September 30, 2022

 

  • Mandatory 24-day Development Phase: September 6–29
  • Maximum 4 Exhibition Games during Development Phase
  • Sanctioned Tournaments start September 30
  • No Regular Season games during Christmas Break: December 24 – January 1
  • All teams must be engaged in meaningful hockey until March 1, 2023

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.

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