Hockey Alberta has determined that the U11 AA Pilot Project in the Northern Alberta Interlock (NAI) league will be expanded to a provincial U11 Hockey Alberta Development Pilot (U11 HADP) for the 2022-2023 season. Results and feedback from the pilot were very positive, and interest in a predetermined top level of U11 hockey continues to increase.The U11 HADP will operate as the top level of U11 hockey, followed by Tiers 1-5.
In the 2021-22 Hockey Season, a U11 AA Pilot Project was established in the NAI league. This pilot offered unique scheduling opportunities considerate of league geographics, as well as a formal tryout process similar to that used in the AA Hockey Model. Unlike the regular tiering process, members of the U11 AA pilot were determined prior to the season, allowing players to be certain of the level of competition at which they would participate, and ensuring that players could access the level of hockey suitable for their abilities, regardless of their location.
- Scope of the Project/Objectives
- Principles of the U11 HADP
- League Structure
- Current Team Listing
- Player Movement
Hockey Alberta will conduct a pilot project that implements an amended hosting structure, player movement rules and coach and player development standards. Working in collaboration with the Minor Leagues, a series of actionable recommendations will be identified in time for implementation of a new U11 model in the 2023-2024 season.
The outcome of this pilot is to identify the best overall structure for the top level of U11 and to ensure alignment and progression from the levels beneath it as well as up to the levels above it. Principles of “Long Term Athlete Development” must be adhered to within all recommendations.
- Develop a structure where teams are located (i.e. – Host MHA’s) within the pilot and identify those locations.
- Develop player movement rules for the pilot.
- Identify standards for host MHA’s to operate by.
- Develop and implement coach and player development initiatives that will improve the player experience.
- Analyze and review all aspects of the pilot, including consulting with member MHA’s to identify the strengths of the pilot as well as areas for improvement.
- Identify, complete with supporting rationale, the ideal number of teams at the top level of U11.
- Determine how the new top level of U11 best fits within the AA Model or the Tiered Minor Hockey (Alberta One) system in the future.
- Align the proposed new model with the Alberta ONE Tiered Minor Hockey system as well as the AA Hockey Model to ensure a proper development pyramid and "feeder system."
- The U11 HADP will follow the U11 Player Pathway Phases as outlined by Hockey Canada.
- The best philosophy for developing players is to create an environment where similarly skilled players can compete together and against each other. This pilot provides a structure where players are provided the opportunity to access the appropriate level of hockey.
- A standardized system of hockey that creates a competitive balance at U11. It provides players with a "developmental" system that focuses on skill development and acts as a "feeder" system for U13 hockey.
- A Regionalized Hockey System that provides opportunities for players to access the top level of hockey within a reasonable distance of travel from their residence. Designed to balance the needs of the player with that of the MHA and family.
- Uses established criteria to determine the conditions under which the teams operate. Teams provide opportunities for all the players within their identified region.
The Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL), Hockey Calgary and Edmonton Federation Hockey League (EFHL) will host the U11 HADP for their member associations, while the All Peace Hockey League (APHL), NAI and North Eastern Alberta Hockey League (NEAHL) will work collaboratively together to host the U11 HADP for their member associations.
Based on the parameters set out within the U11 HADP, the following associations will host at minimum one U11 HADP, unless otherwise indicated:
- Hockey Calgary (12)
- Hockey Edmonton (8)
- Fort McMurray
- Fort Saskatchewan
- Grande Prairie
- Lakeland (Cold Lake/Bonnyville)
- Medicine Hat
- Peace River*
- Red Deer (2)
- Sherwood Park (2)
- Spruce Grove
- St. Albert (2)
- Stony Plain
- Sturgeon Hockey Club
- Sylvan Lake
* U11 HADP expansion requests approved by Hockey Alberta.
Once teams have been determined, U11 HADP Host MHAs may begin the tryout registration process. Player Movement regulations have been developed to address the parameters of the pilot and are as follows:
- Players who do not have access to U11 HADP hockey within their resident MHA will be permitted to pursue U11 HADP tryouts with a HADP-hosting MHA that is accepting HADP tryout players.
- Should a player be released from a HADP tryout, they must return to their resident MHA. No second tryouts will be permitted.
- Players within an MHA hosting U11 HADP hockey must pursue U11 HADP with their resident MHA.
- Players are responsible for arranging their own U11 HADP tryouts and cannot be prohibited from pursuing a U11 HADP tryout by their resident MHA
- Players must provide a signed Notification of Tryout Form if a non-resident of a U11 HADP host MHA.
- U11 HADP Host MHAs are permitted to refuse to accept players from outside their Minor Hockey Association.
- U11 HADP Host MHA’s are encouraged to provide all players trying out for their team(s) four (4) prep skates as required by the Hockey Canada U11 Pathway prior to evaluations and team selection.