SYHA Tryout Policy


Revision approved September 1, 2017 (amends Policy Paper Sections 4.1 through 4.2.3)

To download a copy of this policy, please click HERE

Each year in the early Fall, Simsbury Youth Hockey Association (SYHA) conducts a tryout process for those players wishing to participate on a Travel team. SYHA reserves the right to conduct Spring tryouts for the Girls division only. At SYHA Tryouts, every player is evaluated and assigned to a team based on his or her skill level at a particular position. The emphasis is to appropriately place all players, skaters and goalies, with like-skilled players. 

Tryouts are open to all fully registered players of appropriate age, as defined by USA Hockey and the Connecticut Hockey Conference (CHC). The goal of the process is to fairly evaluate the abilities of each player to ensure that each player is selected for the appropriate level team.

SYHA will select teams for each division after a weeklong evaluation process during which each player will be evaluated at least twice and in the vast majority of cases three times. Dates and times for the tryouts are posted on the SYHA website ( and announced via email to the parents/guardians of all registered players.

SYHA fields two or three travel teams in each division (Mite U8, Squirt U10, PeeWee U12, Bantam U14, Midget U18, Girls U10/U12/U14). The number of teams fielded depends entirely on registration for the given season. Travel teams are registered with the Connecticut Hockey Conference (CHC) and are designated as A, A1 and B. Girls travel teams may be registered with the Connecticut Girls Hockey League (CGHL) and are designated as U10, U12, and U14.


Those wishing to try out for a travel team will skate from the beginning of the process. Those not wanting to play travel, or those who are not assigned to a travel team after evaluations, will be assigned to a House team. A post-tryout evaluation session may be scheduled by the Division Director.

Selections will be made based on skill and ability to play at a particular level (travel or house), and not with an objective of building for the future. If all other things are equal, placement preference will be given to the older player. 

Only players in the Squirt U10, PeeWee U12, Bantam U14, Girls U12/U14, Midget U18 Divisions may tryout as a Goalie. SYHA requires a player trying out for a goalie position to declare prior to tryouts if they intend to tryout as a goalie. Declaration can be made through Program Registration, or by contacting your Division Director prior to the first evaluation session.

A player’s status on past year’s teams in no way guarantees placement on that team for the current season. Example: A player assigned to the A team in 2018/19 is not automatically assigned to the A team for the 2019/20 season. However, a player not selected by the evaluation team for at least the same team as the prior year will be discussed and final decision on the roster placement will be finalized by a committee that includes President, VP's of Operations and Policy, Director of Coaching and the Division Director.

MITES U8, GIRLS U10/U12/U14, and MIDGET U16/U18:

Session 1:

All registered players will skate for evaluation by the Evaluation Team.

Session 2 :

All registered players will skate for evaluation by the Evaluation Team.


Sessions 1 and 2:

Players will skate by birth year as listed on the Tryout Schedule

Sessions 3 and 4:

Players will be assigned by the Evaluation Team based on their performance in Sessions 1 and 2. Assignments will be posted on the SYHA website.

Sessions 5 and 6:

Players will be assigned by the Evaluation Team based on their performance in Sessions 3 and 4. Assignments will be posted on the SYHA website.

  • Players assigned to Session 5 will make up the A team and a portion of the A1 team.
  • Players assigned to Session 6 will make up the remainder of the A1 team, a portion of the B team, or will participate in the House program.

On the first night of tryouts, Goalies will participate in both tryout sessions (Sessions 1 and 2) to initiate evaluation for their respective level of play. Goalies may also be asked to attend all sessions on nights 2 and 3, or may be assigned to attend sessions in a different pattern as outlined above at the discretion of the Evaluation Team.

The exact number, order and nature of the sessions may be subject to minor revisions if a Division Director determines, pursuant to SYHA policy, to use a format other than A, A1, B and House format.

After the final tryout session, the Evaluation Team will review player performance at all sessions in addition to any information deemed relevant by the Evaluation Team (e.g., prior season coach feedback) to assign players to the appropriate level within the division. The decisions of the Evaluation Team, in conjunction with the Division Director, are final and no appeals will be considered.  

Team assignments will be posted to the SYHA website at a date and time announced by the Division Director. Each player will also receive a phone call or email from the coach of the team to which they have been assigned as soon as practical after assignments are complete.


A player must attend the sessions they are assigned to; there will be no exceptions. If a player is unable to attend one assigned session from among sessions 1-4 (or session 1 for Midget/Mite/Girls) due to illness, injury or other good cause, the excused player will be assigned to a subsequent session as determined by the A Team Coach and Division Director.

If a player is unable to attend their assigned session from among sessions 5-6 (or session 2 for Midget/Mite/Girls) the player will be placed on a team determined by the Evaluation Team and approved by the Vice-President of On-Ice Operations.

If a player misses two or more assigned sessions, the player will be placed on a team determined by the Vice President of On-Ice Operations, the Division Director and the Director of Coaching after consultation with that team’s coach.


In general, parents and others are welcome to observe tryouts and support the players. Players should remain focused and attentive to the instructors at all times. As such, SYHA suggests that all spectators sit in the bleachers during each session and not stand along the glass.

It is the responsibility of the Director of Coaching to conduct tryouts in a positive and healthy atmosphere. If the presence of parents or others at the tryout is determined to be a distraction or disruption, the Director of Coaching may, in consultation with the President, close tryouts to parents or others.


Evaluations and team assignments for each division will be the responsibility of an Evaluation Team made up of the A team Coach and 2-4 evaluators. Evaluators will be chosen from within and outside SYHA by the A team Coach and the Division Director and are approved by the Director of Coaching. Outside evaluators will be used to the best extent possible. Inside evaluators will not have any children in the division being evaluated. The Director of Coaching may participate as a member of the evaluation team.

The following information summarizes the roles & responsibilities for the key people involved in the tryout process including the President, Division Director, Director of Coaching, the A team Coach and Evaluators:

PRESIDENT:  The President provides leadership and oversight to the tryout process for the Evaluation team as well as the entire SYHA community.

  • Sends an email to entire community at the start of the season to communicate tryout information and review SYHA tryout philosophy.
  • Conducts a meeting with Director of Coaching, each Division Director and A team Coaches (can be one group meeting) to review and plan for the upcoming tryout season, ensuring consistency among all divisions.
  • Is available for parent questions during and after tryouts

DIVISION DIRECTOR:  The Division Director will organize the off-ice components of the tryout, provide additional information requested by the Evaluation Team and makes sure that all SYHA tryout policies and procedures are followed.

  • Communicates tryout logistics (dates, times) to parents prior to tryouts. 
  • Holds a parent meeting on the first night of tryouts, or at minimum, is available to answer questions and educate parents on tryout procedures, including information on the session evaluators.
  • Assists the A team Coach with lining up evaluators (2-4 required at each session) and on-ice support. Coordinates tryout logistics – i.e., pinney assignment and distribution, creates identical evaluation pages for evaluators, etc.
  • Collects and records evaluation results from evaluators
  • Acts as a liaison between the A team Coach and evaluators if the evaluators are requesting certain drills during a session
  • Provides website administrator with postings for player tryout assignments after each session and final team assignments

DIRECTOR OF COACHING: The Director of Coaching provides leadership and oversight for the Evaluation team, ensuring that SYHA tryout policies and procedures for player ratings and team selection are consistently followed across all divisions.

  • Meets with the Division Directors, President, the A team Coach and Evaluators to review and plan for the upcoming tryout season, ensuring consistency among all divisions.
  • Attends as many tryout sessions as possible in his/her capacity to assist coaches and Evaluators, but does not participate as an Evaluator.
  • Assists the A team Coach with lining up on-ice support and evaluators (2-4 required at each session)
  • Is available for parent questions during and after tryouts

A TEAM COACH:  The A Team Coach will organize all on-ice components of the tryout, provide additional information requested by the Evaluation Team and makes sure that all SYHA tryout policies and procedures are followed.

  • Attends meeting with the above prior to tryouts to make sure he/she is fully aware of responsibilities during tryouts
  • Selects qualified evaluators who will preferably be available all 3 nights
  • Researches players by obtaining feedback from prior year’s coaches
  • Makes sure he/she is prepared with an on-ice plan for tryouts
  • Makes sure he/she has adequate on-ice help so he/she can spend maximum time watching players instead of only running drills
  • May add observations to assist in the final roster selections
  • Contact team members via phone or email to congratulate them and welcome to the team after the team is posted on the website

EVALUATORS:  Evaluators will attend all division sessions to the extent possible. The A Team Coach will run the on-ice sessions and can enlist whatever on-ice assistance the coach desires.

Evaluators will be given specific instructions for conducting their evaluations and what they are looking for with each player. Evaluators will be instructed to:

  • Review, in advance, all of the drills and skills to be observed so that they are clear on the on-ice process
  • Review the evaluation criteria prior to the process to ensure that all evaluators are evaluating the same skill with the same intent
  • Stay separate from the other evaluators and the spectators during the entire on-ice process
  • Review their evaluations at the end of each session for accuracy and provide additional input as necessary to qualify their ratings

GOALIE EVALUATORS:  Goalies will be evaluated by the Evaluation Team at each session. The Evaluation Team reserves the right to add an additional or dedicated evaluator(s) to the Evaluation Team, at any point in the process, to focus on goalies. Evaluators will rank goalies at each division level, submitting a final ranking to the Evaluation Team at the conclusion of tryouts for final placement.

OTHER COACHES: If coaches for the A1 and/or B team are named during the tryout process, those coaches will join the Evaluation Team and may participate in subsequent on-ice sessions. To allow for A1 and/or B team coaches (who are not named until after the tryout sessions are complete) to have input as to the final composition of the team they will be coaching, final decisions on those rosters will be made in the day or two following the final session so that those coaches can be included in the discussions.


The following are the general areas of skill that the evaluators are looking at during the tryout process:


 Forward and Backward

♦ Turn both directions

♦ Stop both directions

♦ Is the player in a good position for stability and strength?


 Forehand and Backhand

♦ To both moving and stationary targets

♦ Vision – does the player take a look and select best option

♦ Advanced – board passes, chips, saucer passes


 Open carry with speed

♦ Execute dekes and fakes on the 1 on 1

♦ Can the player handle the puck in traffic and tight space

♦ Ability to maintain control while being poke-checked or body checked (age appropriate)


 Forehand and backhand

♦ Wrist shot, snap shot, slap shot

♦ Velocity

♦ Accuracy

♦ Shot Selection – does the player select the best shot for the opportunity?


 Player understands positional play

 Player supports the puck on the defensive and offensive side of puck

♦ Player communicates with teammates

♦ Player has the ability to read and react

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