The House League program is primarily intended to provide players aged from U7 (formerly Tykes) to U18 (formerly Midget Sr.) years old with the opportunity to play purely recreational hockey. Our goal is to provide a positive and enjoyable environment that encourages respect, discipline and good sportsmanship among coaches, players, parents and game officials while participating in the game of hockey. For the players, the primary goals are to have fun, to learn the principles of the game, and to learn the importance of team play, good sportsmanship and companionship.
The North York Knights Hockey Association promotes participation on a fair and equitable basis for all players. Equal ice time for all is a fundamental policy of the North York Knights Hockey Association. There are no try-outs and all players receive an equal amount of ice time, without regard to ability or experience. Each player is assigned a team in the appropriate age division and all games are then scheduled weekly on Sunday evenings against other North York Knights Hockey Association teams within the same age division. All House League teams, with the exception of Midgets, are also scheduled for a practice each week.
EXHIBITION GAMES AND START OF SEASON
The drafting of House League teams occurs in September. By the first week of October, parents will receive an email/phone call from the player’s House League coach to communicate information on practice times, arena location and the regular season schedule. The Knights cannot provide information on practice times and game schedules for any team in any of the divisions before the team draft in September.
There may be pre-season exhibition games for the U7, U8 and U9 division before the Thanksgiving weekend. Coaches will contact players in these divisions should exhibition games be scheduled. All other divisions will typically begin the season the weekend after Thanksgiving.
BUZZER DIVISIONS-EQUAL ICE TIME
The three-minute Buzzer Divisions are comprised of the U7, U8 and U9 Divisions. All games in these divisions will be played under the three minute buzzer format, wherein each shift is three consecutive minutes in length (while adhering to Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program). At the end of the three minute shift, the Timekeeper sounds the buzzer, and the next shift (as per a pre-determined continuing sequence) will resume play at the face-off circle indicated by the on-ice Official. Regular season games consist of thirteen shifts, with each shift lasting three minutes. Team game sheets in these divisions are monitored by the Timekeeper to ensure every player is rotated in sequence and receives the same amount of ice time. U8 and U9 Division teams are expected to rotate players through the goalie position.
U7 to U9 Divisions
The U7 to U9 age groups will follow the Hockey Canada mandated Initiation Program (IP) moving forward which recommends training and playing in a cross-ice or half-ice format. This Canada-wide initiative applies to all hockey associations and is intended to improve the development and progression of basic hockey skills and concepts.
It is the intention of the North York Knights to have practices for this age group on Saturday mornings and to schedule games on Sunday in the late-afternoon/early evening for the entire season. Games will have players as fully equipped goaltenders with a weekly rotation expected amongst the players; and there will be bumpers to divide the ice according to the modified ice guidelines.
A more detailed explanation of what is recommended in the Initiation Program for the various ages can be found at the following Hockey Canada address: http://www.gthlcanada.com/initiation-program-resources/.
For divisions from U10 to U18, there are no buzzers and all line changes are “on the fly”. We rely on coaches and, to a lesser degree, the Timekeeper to ensure adherence to the Knights policy of equal ice time for all players.
It is the intent of the North York Knights Hockey Association to form House League divisions comprised of teams capable of winning 50% of their games. As a general guideline in team formation, the following principle should prevail:
a) 50% of the players should be of average playing ability;
b) 25% of the players should be of weaker playing ability; and
c) 25% of the players should be of superior playing ability.
The House League forms age divisions and teams at the beginning of the season. The divisional Convenor attempts to balance the teams after two weekends of exhibition games at the start of the season in the younger age groups. This process is again repeated before the holiday break in December if there is a need to make some changes to alter the exceptionally weak or strong teams. Teams and divisional alignments are subject to early season review by the Review Committee. In the interest of providing fair balancing, divisional tiering may be enacted at the discretion of the Knights Executive, if permitted by the number of teams (i.e., eight or more teams registered within a division).
The balancing process is exceptionally challenging for many reasons including:
1. the uneven progression in skill level especially for younger players;
2. the beneficial effect of the additional skating and competitive games for players who are part of the Select program;
3. the wide range of abilities of various players in the goaltending position;
4. the participation in additional skill level programs by some house league players.
As a result of this review, teams may be required to reassign players within a division. It is also the Knights’ intent to distribute Select/Select caliber players among divisional teams as evenly as possible. Thus, any player may be traded in order to make all teams in the division balanced (regardless of friend or coach requests).Convenors are aware that it can be difficult for a player to move to another team, and thus do their best to keep trades to a minimum. Cooperation and support from players, parents and coaches are nevertheless both necessary and appreciated.
Any disputes concerning the movement of players will result in a player’s fee being refunded on a pro-rated basis. NO appeals can be made by a player and/or a player’s parents. The Convenor’s decision is final.
House league games are 39 minutes in length. The games are played on Sunday with the younger players on the ice late in the afternoon progressing to a late evening game for the older players in the Midget division. Games are played using a full ice surface in all age groups. All non-exhibition games will be played over two periods, with the first period being eighteen minutes in duration and the second period being twenty-one minutes in duration. In the U16-U18 division, there will be three periods of 10 minute stop time.