Moving from Community Hockey (House League) to COMPETITIVE Hockey – Frequently Asked Questions
1. What League does the OGHA compete in?
The OGHA competes in a league run by the OWHA. Comprises teams from Kingston to Windsor and as far north as Sudbury (although Sudbury has to play out of GTA – we do not travel to them).
2. When do Tryouts for COMPETITIVE occur?
Prep for Rep & Tryouts begin in April for U13 and older and in September for U11. Schedules will be posted on the website by the end of March and August.
3. What are the different levels in Girls COMPETITIVE Hockey?
Girl’s hockey is quite different from boys in how the levels are set up. Girl’s COMMUNITY (formerly House League) typically has only 1 level of play. COMPETITIVE teams have several levels of play:
- AA – top level in girls
- C (typically small, rural communities.)
4. How do COMPETITIVE Coaches identify players they want on their team?
Competitive coaches are announced in January, and most begin scouting current teams to see players in action. The coaches want to see how girls perform in a game situation as well as at practices. This happens long before the tryouts begin. Every coach will have a different approach. They may look for the best possible skill set in each player; they may look for potential and sometimes team dynamics/ chemistry will be a factor.
5. I heard that COMPETITIVE teams are already picked before tryouts and that it is a waste of money to go. Is that true?
Absolutely not! “Every game is a tryout” (Toronto Marlies) A good COMPETITIVE coach will do extensive scouting before the tryouts – s/he may have seen some players 5-10 times in games, practices & development sessions – tryouts are the final view before picking the team. They may have spoken with the player’s current coach to understand their strengths and opportunities and how it fits with the team s/he is trying to put together. At tryouts, a player who hasn’t been seen by a coach will have a harder time to ‘break through’ and make an impression, which is why it is important that you contact the rep coaches in advance (see next section) if you are interested in trying out. While at the highest levels, coaches come to tryouts with a ‘ghost roster’ and may be looking for only a couple of players to fill in holes, most teams are quite open when tryouts come around. This is due to several reasons.
Until tryouts, coaches do not know for sure what girls will return to the OGHA from other girl’s associations, what girls will come to the OGHA from boy’s hockey, what OGHA girls leave to go to another association – the coach wants to make sure s/he has flexibility to select the best players for their team. Most coaches will go into the tryouts with a “wish-list” of players they would like based on what they have seen during scouting but some may have been chosen already. A good coach is always on the lookout for talent. Coaches will balance the team based on the criteria they are looking for – “head, heart, hands and feet”.
6. Should I let the COMPETITIVE coach know my daughter wants to move up from Community Hockey (HL)?
Absolutely! You should be proactive and contact the COMPETITIVE coach(s) and let them know that your daughter wants to
move to COMPETITIVE so that they are aware of her. A list of coaches can be found on the website under “COMPETITIVE
League”. Let the coach know your schedule of games - s/he may want to watch your daughter in action. Give the coach your HL coach’s contact information so they can get an assessment of her before tryouts begin. Attend the “pre-tryout skate”. If you haven’t been able to connect with the coach beforehand, introduce yourself and tell him what pinnie your daughter is wearing. This will let the coach know you are seriously interested.
7. What level should my daughter tryout for?
It is generally a good idea to have your daughter start at a higher level than where she wants to play so that all the coaches will see her on the ice with the other players. If you know for certain that you do not want to play for the higher team, but are just “there for the skate”, it is common courtesy to advise the coach of this when you register so that they can focus on girls who want to make the team.
8. My daughter looked better than other girls on the ice: why was she not picked?
By the time tryouts start, coaches will likely have seen all the players numerous times – they base their decisions on the overall quality of player, not just what they see at the tryout. Your daughter’s skills may not be what the coach is looking for. As noted above, coaches look for different things in players and may be looking for a player to fill a specific need on their team. Like Team Canada, coaches try to pick “the right players” for their team – they may be looking for speed, hands, size, offence and/or defence – or the optimal balance of these skills.
9. How much time is involved in playing COMPETITIVE?
COMPETITIVE hockey is about double the commitment of HL, a little more than HL + DS. Rep teams are on the ice 3-4 times per week: 1- 2 practices and 1 or 2 games. Rep teams participate in 4-6 tournaments – generally 1 ‘away’ and the rest within easy driving distance. The schedule is known well in advance: practices for the year are scheduled by Sept 1st; regular season games are scheduled by the first of October. Most OGHA teams play games within a division where the furthest drive is 2.0 hour. Occasionally the loop may include teams from further away, but the team would manage the schedule so that the games are efficient on travel time. Parents are happy to car-pool. Sleepovers on tournament weekends are a common way to help out other parents (and because the girls love them).
As noted by one parent whose daughter who has gone to university: “When we first started in rep, I couldn’t imagine all the travel we’d have to do. I quickly learned that it was one of the most rewarding experiences – drive time is when information flows more freely than at home. As we drove to Ottawa for Provincials, I wondered who else was lucky enough to spend so much time with their teenaged daughter and her friends? We know her friends and their parents. SO LUCKY to have had this experience. Very sad to see it end.”
10. Why not just play COMMUNITY & DS?
There are several advantages to playing COMPETITIVE vs. COMMUNITY & DS, depending on what your objectives are:
- One coach, consistent direction and development
- More ice time, balanced throughout the week
- Schedule known well in advance
- Never a practice and game in the same day (as could happen with HL & DS)
- Easier to schedule “the rest of your life”
- TEAM – rep teams spend more time together and socialize at tournaments, after games and at season parties. Lifelong friendships are made by both players and parents.
11. How much will it cost to play COMPETITIVE Hockey?
Costs vary from team to team depending on the level and the program the coach has put together. Costs can range from $2,000 - $3,000 per player per year (“AA” will be more). Coaches will have a handout outlining their annual program and budget – it is available directly from the coaches. You should review this well in advance of tryouts.
[email protected] Paul Mammoliti
Director of COMPETITIVE Hockey
Orangeville Girls Hockey Association