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What are the different age groups and what are they called?
U7 –  6 years old & under.  This is our Timbits program.
U9 –  7 & 8 year olds.  This is our Novice program.  There is a Novice A and a Novice B or House League program. 
U11 –  9 & 10 year olds.
U13 –  11 & 12 year olds. 
U15 – 13 & 14 year olds.
U18 –  15, 16, & 17 year olds.
How do I know what age level my child should be in? 
Whatever age your child will be at the end of the calendar year, is what age group he/she should be in.  (Example: at the end of 2020 my child will be 10 years old, therefore he/she should register in the U11 age group.)
Are there different skill levels and how do I know which one my child belongs in?
There are different levels of play depending on skill.  The U11 to U18 age groups usually have 3 levels,  A1, A2 and A3. 
A3 is where you should register if this is your child’s first time playing hockey or if your time is limited and you are unable to dedicate a lot of time to the sport and your team.   The level of competition is lower at A3 which allows more players to have an equal chance at handling the puck and learning the game.  There is still an expectation that you do your best to have your child at every practice and game.  At this level, most teams have at least 1 practice and 1 game every week. 
A2 is the ‘middle of the pack’.  There is a higher level of expectation with respect to attending all team activities (practices, games and team events).  You will have more practices at this level usually 2 a week plus 1 game. 
A1 is the highest level to play in ‘A’ hockey.  The expectation is that you will attend every practice and game without fail.  If you are unable to attend, it is expected that you will notify the team staff with as much notice as possible.   At this level, you normally have a minimum of 2 practices a week (possibly 3 a week if the coaching staff is able to acquire the ice time), and normally 1 game a week.  The level of competition is highest at this level. 
I heard there is a tryout process to determine what team my child will play for.  How does this process work? 
To play at the A1 and A2 levels, your child must attend a tryout process that is run by SOMHA.  Your child will be on the ice 2 – 4 times throughout the tryout process.  There will be skills drills and scrimmage games to determine where your child will fit in best.  Each child is scored based on their skill, effort, attitude, etc...  Once the tryout process is complete, your child will be placed on a team that is best suited to his/her skill level. 
If you choose to register your child at the A3 level, no tryout is necessary.  The A3 teams will be formed based on the number of players at that level and you will be contacted by your child’s coach with the information once teams are formed. 
What is the Respect in Sport Program and do I need to take it?
The Respect in Sport for Parents Program is effective and informative for parents and caregivers of active children. This program encourages positive sport behaviours and provides insight for parents into the roles of coaches and officials.
Certification for the Respect in Sport for Parents program must be obtained by at least one parent or legal guardian of any minor hockey player on a Hockey Manitoba roster by November 1st. Should certification not be obtained by November 1st, the minor hockey player will be ineligible to participate in any Hockey Manitoba sanctioned activity until one parent or legal guardian is certified.  There is a small charge for this course and will NOT be reimbursed by SOMHA.  Once you have taken the course, you do not need to retake it every year unless it is requested by one of the governing hockey bodies (ie: Hockey Manitoba or Hockey Winnipeg).
For more information and/or to register for the course, please use the following link:
What does my child need for equipment in order to play organized minor hockey? 
All hockey players are required to have a full set of equipment in order to play. For your convenience, here is a full list of every piece of equipment your child will need.

  1.   Helmet (must be CSA-certified) with a cage or full face shield         
  2.   Mouthguard    
  3.   Neck guard 
  4.   Shoulder pads
  5.   Elbow pads
  6.   Gloves
  7.   Groin guard (jock for boys or jill for girls)
  8.   Hockey pants
  9.   Shin pads
  10.   Hockey socks
  11.   Skates
  12.   Hockey stick
  13.   Practice jersey            
An Equipment bag is strongly recommended but not required.  You will need an equipment bag to carry all this equipment to and from the rinks.
Please make sure that all your child’s equipment fits properly.  Improper fitting equipment may cause injury.
What expenses can I expect to pay as a hockey parent?
The first expense is registration.  You are required to pay the registration cost set by the Association.  Included in the registration fees (but not limited to) are insurance cost, ice costs for all games played, the cost of referees & timekeepers, maintenance/cleaning/upkeep of game jerseys (which are provided at no extra cost), as well as some developmental training. 
As state above, your child will need the proper equipment in order to play hockey.  That expense is up to each parent.  You may get equipment from any retailer you like, and the equipment does not have to be new.  If this is your first year, you may want to try purchasing used equipment to help keep the costs down.  It is recommended that you visit a retailer to make sure you are getting the proper equipment for your child.
Once the season gets underway, each team is responsible to pay for all their own practice ice, tournament fees, travel costs (including, travel, lodging, food, etc..) and any team apparel that is decided on by the team.   The coaching staff will put together a budget at the start of the season.  This budget will include practice ice and tournament fee costs.  Depending on what level your child is playing will determine what these costs will be.  These fees can be anywhere from $200 to $1000 (these fees normally do not include the travel expenses).  
You may also be asked to contribute a small amount for customary coaches thank you gifts or towards a team windup function. 
Is there any financial assistance available to help with the expenses?
There is a subsidy program available through your local community centre.  Based on your family income, you may be eligible for a percentage of your child’s registration fee to be covered by your community centre.  Contact your local community centre for more details.
What days of the week will my child be on the ice?
Game schedules are set by Hockey Winnipeg.  You will have at least 1 game per week which can be on weekends or evenings during the week.  It is possible that some weeks may have more than one game.
Practice schedules are set by the team coaching staff.  As stated above, the level of play will determine how many practices a week a team will have. 
Plan for a minimum of 2 - 3 ice times per week but you could be on the ice up to 5 times.  (You normally will not ever see more than 5.  3 is the average at ever level.)
If game and practice schedules conflict with your work responsibilities, you should talk to the other parents on your child’s team about coordinating a carpool. Carpooling is a fun and easy way to ensure all minor hockey players can participate regardless of their parents’ work schedules.
Are there female-only teams?
Yes!  While many hockey teams are co-ed,  SOMHA, partnered with St. James Assiniboia Minor Hockey Association (SJAMHA), offers our Rockets and Titans all female programs.  The Titans program is strictly AA level hockey while the Rockets program is ‘A’ level hockey.  We offer all the same levels as the co-ed teams starting at Novice and going all the way up to U18.  You register for the female only program the same way you would register for any of our co-ed teams.

How do I register my child?

You can register your child in person or online.  You can access the online registration on our website,  
When does registration start?
SOMHA normally opens online registration at the beginning of July and closes it usually around September 1st
Evaluations or try-outs typically happen in September.

Are there professional coaches at the minor hockey level?

SOMHA does not have professional coaches.  All of our coaches are volunteers (usually parents).  However, there are many of our coaches that have been coaching for many years and have played the game for many years.  Most of them bring a lot of experience that they will pass on to all the young players they are coaching. 
What training do hockey coaches receive?
Even though they may not be ‘professional’ coaches, they are expected to always behave in a professional manner and conduct themselves accordingly.  They are also required to obtain the appropriate coaching level as defined by the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) regulations.  There are a number of online courses as well as in-person clinics that each coach must take.  All coaching staff (including managers, trainers, safety persons) must all take the Respect in Sport for Program Leaders course.  All coaches (as well as the other bench staff) must take all the necessary courses by December 1st in order to be able to coach a minor hockey team.  SOMHA as well as Hockey Winnipeg and Hockey Manitoba also offer a number of optional coaching clinics that focus on specific aspects of coaching hockey.  These are not mandatory but SOMHA highly encourages our coaches to take as many of these clinics as possible. 
I would like to help out on my child’s team, what can I do to help?
If you would like to coach or be an assistant coach, please fill in the coach application on the SOMHA website.  Potential coaches will be interviewed and selected by a selection committee.  We are always in need of new coaches! 
If you do not wish to coach but still want to help out, there are a number of other jobs that help the coaching staff, as well as the entire team, run smoother throughout the season. 
Some jobs include a team manager, a treasurer and the team Safety Person.  (Every team is required to have a team Safety Person.)   Some teams will also have a parent liaison who acts as a go between for parents and coaches.  Usually, any complaints from parents to coaches go through the liaison.
The team manager (with help from the treasurer if there is one) is normally responsible for tasks such as (but not limited to): 
  • opening and maintaining the team bank account
  • helping the coaches find extra ice times,
  • communicating team information with parents,
  • looking for and registering for tournaments,
  • paying team expenses (ice bills, tournament fees, etc...),
  • collecting all the team fees from parents
  • keeping a detailed spreadsheet of all team financial activity
The team manager job sounds daunting but it really is not that bad once you get going.  Some coaches prefer to look for their own ice and will help with tournament registration.  SOMHA board members are here to help you with any questions or problems you may have!  
The Safety Person has specific responsibilities.  Here are some FAQ’s about the Safety Person position:
Does every minor hockey team require a Safety Person?
Yes. Under Hockey Canada regulations, each team must have one designated Safety Person who has completed the Hockey Canada Safety Program.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the Safety Person?
As a Safety Person and team official, you play a leadership role in implementing effective risk management programs with your team, enhancing the safety of players and all involved in amateur hockey.

Does the Safety Person have to be a medical professional?
Not necessarily. But Hockey Canada does recommend that the Safety Person take a first aid/CPR course as well as the Hockey Canada Safety Program itself.

What type of training does the Safety Person have?
The Hockey Canada Safety Program teaches risk management practices, injury recognition and emergency action planning in the team environment.
Topics include:
  1. Roles and responsibilities of the Safety Person
  2. Risk management tips on the ice and off
  3. Hockey Canada Insurance Program
  4. Emergency action planning
  5. Recognition of serious and non-serious injuries in the game such as concussions, spinal injuries, and bumps & bruises
  6. On- and off-ice conditioning
  7. Responsible return to play
  8. Equipment fitting

 What training will I have to take?

A Safety Person must complete an 18-module online program available through Hockey Canada’s Hockey University.  It is also highly recommended that the Safety Person completes a standard first aid course and a CPR course.