Waterloo Minor Hockey Association (WMHA) continues to work with its governing bodies and neighbouring associations in an effort to develop a return to hockey program that meets the needs of its players, coaches and parents.
While full details of WMHA’s return to hockey plan remain subject to approval and decisions of the Ontario Hockey Federation, ALLIANCE Hockey and the City of Waterloo, we are pleased to be able to give our members the following updates regarding the timing and structure of our 2020-21 season.
We are currently anticipating the 2020-21 season being split into two (2) Phases for both our representative and recreational hockey programs. Phase 1 will include team evaluations and selection and a return to on-ice activity with modified gameplay commencing mid-September for representative hockey and early October for recreational hockey, and will run until December. We anticipate a staged expansion to more regular 5v5 hockey in Phase 2 as public health guidelines permit.
Highlights of our return to hockey structure in Phase 1 include:
- On-ice skills assessment and development process to stream players into 3 tiers (AAA, AA, MD)
- Teams will roster 18 players (16 skaters + 2 goalies) (Midget AAA may roster up to 20 players)
- Evaluations tentatively scheduled to commence September 14
- House League team formation will be conducted via a paper selection process and/or on-ice skills assessment with the season tentatively scheduled to commence in early October
- Gameplay will be a modified 4v4 full ice format
- Players who are streamed into the AAA, AA and MD tiers will compete in a Tri-City Rep League against teams from our Public Health Unit (Cambridge and Kitchener) as currently permitted by Ontario public health regulations and OHF playing restrictions
- House League teams will compete in the Waterloo Hockey League against other Waterloo teams with a possibility of inter-city play against teams from Cambridge and Kitchener depending on registration numbers
Eligibility for Rep Hockey
Currently, all players who were on a AAA, AA, or MD roster in Waterloo in 2019-20 are eligible to be evaluated to play rep hockey in Waterloo for the 2020-21 season. This includes players on F-1 waivers or from our neighbouring zone centres (Centre Wellington, Drayton, Tavistock, Twin Centre, and Woolwich) who played AAA hockey in Waterloo last season, as well as players on an NRP Passport with our AA teams last season.
ALL City of Waterloo residents are eligible to be evaluated to play rep hockey in 2020-21 regardless of where they played in 2019-20.
WMHA, along with a number of our partner associations, are continuing to lobby our governing bodies to allow for ALL players in any of our AAA zone centres (Centre Wellington, Drayton, Tavistock, Twin Centre, and Woolwich) to be eligible for evaluations. Discussions are ongoing.
Under current rules, WMHA will not be able to accept new F1 waiver players for AAA evaluations. WMHA has submitted a request to the ALLIANCE to allow F1 waivers at the U16 AAA level given the significance of that year for OHL Draft eligibility.
Registration and Payment
WMHA player registration opened in the spring and we continue to accept registrants. WMHA will begin accepting payments for registration fees, evaluation fees and Rep fees starting in September.
The main focus as we return to the ice initially will be on individual skill development and team building, but on-ice activity can include traditional skill development as well as modified 4 on 4 gameplay.
We will continue to remain flexible in Phase 1 to allow for more traditional forms of hockey to resume as the public health situation develops.
We appreciate the continued patience and cooperation of our players, coaches and parents in these uncertain and difficult times.
We are excited and eager to welcome you all back to the ice this Fall!!