LAHA House League - Flyer Download
The purpose of the Los Alamos Hockey Association’s House League is three fold: To refocus LAHA’s player development efforts to strengthen core skills, to satisfy the needs of all LAHA players who have different abilities and to better utilize the ice time in Los Alamos due to an increase in the number of players to accommodate.
LAHA had a sudden increase in the number of players in the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 seasons. This sudden increase can be attributed to increased advertising of the program to the youth in Los Alamos and the successful addition of an initiation program for all new players under 12 years old. The past several seasons have seen initiation program participants move to recreational teams and while our goal is to continue to grow our programs this sudden increase in numbers at various age divisions also means a more sudden and profound spread in skills and hockey knowledge.
LAHA recreational teams participated in the New Mexico Recreational Hockey League which is considered to be at the house/recreational playing level. With LAHA’s growth, we are forced to form two teams in some age divisions. Where applicable the coaching staff has tried to form two teams of nearly equal ability. Forming teams in this manner can be viewed as a fair method of forming teams, however from the player development perspective, this is not the best way to divide players and form teams.
LAHA teams have historically enjoyed abundant ice in Los Alamos even if it is during a shorter season. Very often, small teams are afforded the entire sheet of ice to themselves; as LAHA grows, coaches and teams will need to be more accommodating and more creative with the use of the sheet so that we can maximize its use while maximizing player development.
House League Structure:
A house league is made up of multiple teams that are nearly matched providing the best possible competition while eliminating the requirement to travel away from the local facility. “Travel Hockey” is a subjective term in New Mexico since even local teams must travel in order to play games; it is more appropriate to call it “recreational travel” or just “recreational” hockey here in New Mexico. No matter the name applied - the skill level is still considered to be at the house/recreational level.
In Los Alamos we have enough players to run an in-house league, however, we don’t have enough players to run a specifically separate “house league” and a separate “travel” program with exclusive players. In addition to a local house league, LAHA will continue to compete in the New Mexico Recreational Hockey League with a “Select” team from each age division made up of players drawn out of the house league.
Assumption 1: The Initiation Program (ATOMS) will be limited to players who are new to hockey under the age of 7 years old. Players that are 7 and who are brand new to hockey will be absorbed into the house league, however requests to participate in the ATOMS program will be considered.
Assumption 2: The anticipated number of teams for the LAHA House League in the 2007/2008 season is based on the player registration numbers in specific birthdates from the 2006/2007 season.
House league teams will be small with roughly two lines and a goalie provisioned for each team when possible*. Some teams may have more or less depending on the actual registration numbers. All house teams’ players will practice together. The team concept is not for the purpose of player development separation but rather game time separation. All female players will be included in the house league according to their birth date. All girls participating in the house league regardless of team affiliation will practice within their league level according to that level’s schedule.
We anticipate the following number of teams
Mites – 4
Squirts – 4
PeeWees – 3 or 4
Bantams/Midgets – 3 or 4**
Each division will practice twice per week and each house team will play a house game once per week. Games will be held on weeknights and weekends: weekend schedules will be coordinated so that conflicts are minimized between house games and the select teams’ NMRHL schedules.
House league games will not begin until the first week of December. November ice will be used for practice and player development activities.
House League Draft:
The House League Co-ed Teams will be formed from a House Draft where all players are ranked and placed into a single player pool. Teams will be formed from the draft so that teams are nearly equal in skill. This is a development league and emphasis to all players will be to improve their skills. Goalie gear will be provided to each team so that players may get the opportunity to try the position. Teams will be kept as small as possible to maximize ice time, players will not be allowed to cross-roster teams unless very special circumstances arrise through the season. House Teams will be announced at the end of November.
House League Cup:
Competition drives progression. The House League Cup Playoffs (to be named later) is a year end tournament played within the House League teams to arrive at a House Championship Team. All teams will be invited to play - their seeding in the tournament will be dependant on their House League standings leading up to the tournamnet. This is a brand new concept for LAHA, we hope it will spark friendly competition which will increase player development. This is not a "coaches cup" as teams will not be picked by individual coaches.
Select Team Structure:
The “select” teams from each age division will be the designated teams to enter the New Mexico Recreational Hockey League (NMRHL). Criteria for the selection of players will ultimately be at the discretion of each teams’ head coach. However, the LAHA coaching staff will make every effort to remain as consistent as possible between age divisions for team selection methods and criteria. There may be exceptions required and selections may be evaluated throughout the season. The following criteria should be taken into consideration: commitment to travel, commitment to the house league, coachability and playing skills.
Select team players will be chosen based on performance throughout the month of November. There will not be a single practice day designated for tryouts. Select team rosters will be announced on November 30th.
All players chosen to play on the select team will be required to participate in house league practices and games. There will be an additional fee associated with the select team. The goal is to provide additional ice time opportunities with more emphasis on team skills and individual skills at game-speed and intensity for the select team. Each select team will have one separate practice a week and associated NMRHL games. The Girls U14 and U19 teams will be considered LAHA Girls Select teams, the difference is that they will play in the LAHA house league together as teams. Those games involving the GIRLS teams will follow the girls rules – specifically those games will be non-checking. All games between co-ed teams will follow the specified rules for the appropriate age division.
House league players will be required to register online and pay the USA Hockey and New Mexico Hockey combined fee of $50. In addition, all players will pay the LAHA House League fee of $65 for the season. Players chosen and willing to commit to the appropriate select team will be required to pay an additional select team fee of $50. House Team Jerseys will be provided to each player and will remain the property of LAHA. Select team Jerseys will be a set of Home and Away jerseys and each player will be responsible for purchasing those jerseys after selections are announced.
Each house team will have a designated Head Coach and assistant coaches for the purposes of bench management during games. All coaches will be cross-rostered on all house teams. When practical, house league games should be coached on a rotating coaching schedule so that players can benefit from many bench management styles. The collective group of coaches in a particular division will be responsible for player development during practices. Select team coaches and possible assistants will be identified before the start of the season so that those coaches may collaborate and decide on team selections. Those coaches are expected to at least assist with house league practices and games. This puts a lot of coaches on the ice and will require diligent planning but more importantly there will be a lot of players on the ice. A high coach to player ratio especially with small area games and development stations will certainly maximize player development while using the ice sheet in the most efficient manner.
Special tournaments outside the NMRHL are supplemental activities. If players want to form teams for inclusion in these outside activities they are free to do so provided that the team meets all USA Hockey team requirements. Our intention is not to exclude players from participating in fun tournaments such as those held in Gunnison or Taos. All LAHA players will be invited to participate in the New Mexico Year End Fesitvals.
Some families aren’t able to handle the cost, schedule or travel requirements of playing other associations in order to play games. That’s one reason why this house league is being introduced. Players will get practices and games at a cheaper rate and there won’t be any travel requirements to participate.
There are some players who will fall into the category of being willing to commit to a select team and having a desire to play other associations but don’t have the skill to effectively compete within their age division. Those players and families should be reminded and encouraged that the teams aren’t formed before practices begin. They are formed with emphasis on coachability and performance throughout the first few weeks of November. That gives them time to improve and of course every player is encouraged to improve their skills in the off season.
LAHA has grown to a point where ice time is precious and needs to be used with maximum efficiency. Our players have diverse playing abilities and family situations; each player deserves the ice time, coaching and attention that are most appropriate for their situation and this house league will be able to address those needs in the best possible way.
One significant point of feedback from ATOMS participants was that they wanted to play more games and also wanted to practice and play with their friends. The LAHA house league allows that while still affording opportunities to players with other needs.