Policy: Formation of Competitive Teams

NGHA Formation of Competitive Teams Policy


This policy establishes the criteria and process for the formation of competitive teams within the NGHA.

This policy does not apply to the U22 or Senior Teams.

The Competitive Program Committee will oversee the formation of teams.

The Competitive Program Committee consists of the VP Programs and both Competitive Directors. Other members of the NGHA Board of Directors may be added to the Committee as required.


Teams will be formed with a minimum of 15 skaters and 1-2 goalies by the beginning of regular season play. The Competitive Program Committee can approve rostering up to 17 skaters per team.

Players are expected to play within their age level unless otherwise approved by the Competitive Program Committee.

Formation of Divisions

Prior to the beginning of tryouts, the NGHA will announce the proposed number and category of teams for each Tier, which will be determined based on considerations such as sufficient ice, interest and talent among its players.

During the tryout process and prior to the beginning of the season, the NGHA Board of Directors may decide to add, remove or re-categorize teams when it is deemed in the best interests of the players and the Association.

Competitive Tryout Process

Players will be selected for competitive teams through a competitive tryout process.

Prior to the beginning of tryouts, the Competitive Program Committee will provide members with information on how the tryout process will be conducted.

The selection of players for teams shall be monitored by a representative from the NGHA, as designated by the Competitive Program Committee.

Independent evaluators will also be used during the tryout process. In instances where the coach and independent evaluator do not agree on a player selection, the final decision will rest with the Competitive Program Committee. Final team rosters are approved by the Competitive Program Committee.

In situations where a parent coach has been selected for a competitive team, the Competitive Program Committee has made an assessment in advance that the Coach’s daughter would be appropriately placed on that level of team.

It is recommended that players begin the tryout process at no more than one Tier higher than that for which they wish to be selected. For example, a player anticipating to be successful at Tier 1 (AA/A) would begin their tryout at Tier 1. A player anticipating to be successful at Tier 4 (C) would begin at Tier 3 (BB/B). This will provide the player with exposure to the expected pace of the tryout and provided an opportunity for the player to be observed by the next Tier coach, who will be present to begin the assessment for their team. However, when a player participates in tryouts for a particular level, it is expected that they will accept a position on a team if offered a position.

Communications During the Tryout Process

The NGHA endeavours to structure the competitive tryout process so that it minimizes the pressure and stress on its players and families.

Prior to the beginning of tryouts, the Competitive Program Committee will provide information to players and families on:

  • How and when player releases will be communicated.
  • The process that released players and their families can follow to receive feedback on the player’s tryout evaluation.
  • Conduct and discretion expected of players and families during the tryout process intended to minimize the negative impact on players, coaches and staff.

In accordance with NGHA Code of Conduct, players, families, coaches and staff are expected to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. Incivility, bullying or harassment will not be tolerated.

Tryout Fee

All players attending competitive tryouts will pay a fee, as determined each season by the NGHA Board of Directors.

Tryout Registration Process


The AA level is an open tryout at all divisions. Import and new players trying out for AA teams may register online in advance of the tryout with the proper paperwork (Permission to Skate/Release) and payment.

Import and new players selected to a AA team are expected to complete all required NGHA Registration no later than 24 hours after being informed that they have been selected to a team. Failure to do so may result in a player forfeiting their position on the team.

Below AA

To be eligible to attend tryouts for teams below AA, players have completed:

  • NGHA Tryout Registration: Players must register online in advance for tryouts and pay the tryout fee. This is in addition to their NGHA Registration.

Import Players

In 2019, the NGHA was pleased to join the Ottawa, Gloucester and Kanata Associations in agreeing to a common Import Policy.

An import player is defined as a player that was registered with any of the 4 identified Associations over the previous 2 seasons starting in 2017-2018 other than the one they are currently trying out for.

Exceptions may be granted for players that have moved from residences outside Ottawa prior to the start of the season in question. For example if a family has moved from Brockville to Ottawa then consideration may be given to not classifying the player as an import.

Players who have never played in the OWHA are not considered import players.

As per this Policy, a maximum of six (6) imports are permitted across all tiers of a level, outlined below:

  • Any U13 AA, U15 AA and U18 AA team in any Association can ONLY register up to three (3) import players in any given season;
  • Any U22, U18, U15, U13 A/BB/B/C teams as a group are permitted up to three (3) import players combined.
  • No Association will accept a player to play in their Association should they have received an OWHA enforced release.

There will be no imports admitted at the U11 and U9 levels.

Import restrictions do not apply to the House league, U22 AA or Senior hockey programs.

Notwithstanding the common Import Policy, the NGHA is not obligated to accept registration of imports.

Appeal Mechanism

If any disagreement arises between coaches, parents or players regarding this policy, the Competitive Program Committee has final authority.

Declining A Position Following a Tryout

A player who has been offered a spot on an NGHA competitive team and subsequently decides not to play on that team, or requests a release during the season, will not be eligible to play on any NGHA team for that season or the following season.

For example, if a player is offered a spot on a competitive team in 2014/2015 and then decides not to play for that team, she may not play on any other NGHA team for the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 season.

The requirements of the Common Import Policy will also apply, if applicable.

Injury or Illness in Tryouts

If a player is unable to, because of illness or injury, participate in tryouts according to the published schedule, or if they incur an injury or illness during the tryout period and are not able to complete the tryouts:

  • In all cases, a medical certificate must be provided to the Competitive Committee as evidence that a player cannot participate in team tryouts. In addition, the nature of the injury and the expected return date of the player are also required. Upon returning from injury, each player must provide a medical certificate stating that the player has been cleared to return to play. 
  • To determine the subsequent tryout status of the returning player, the Competitive Committee will consult with a variety of sources to obtain sufficient information about the player so that a reasoned decision can be made that considers both what is best for the player as well as the affected team or teams. The sources will include, but not be limited to, the current coach, previous coach, lower level coach, and any other appropriate source deemed relevant by the Competitive Committee.
  • If, at the start of the season, a coach feels that the skill level of a player that has been placed on their team through the above-stated process is not adequate for the level, they may approach the Competitive Committee to seek the re-evaluation, and potential release, of the player in question.


Questions on this policy can be directed to the Director of Policy, Risk and Safety (NGHAPolicy@gmail.com).

Updated: May 17, 2022


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