Youth (Squirt-Midget) Hockey Manager Checklist
If you are a Team Manager, the below checklist will help you prepare for and execute the season. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our Team Managers Coordinator, Sarah Halack, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USA Hockey registration: Team Managers are required to register with USA Hockey as a Manager/Volunteer. There is no registration fee for team managers.
- SafeSport program training: The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent, non-profit organization focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport. SafeSport Training is required for all team managers and needs to be completed yearly. Completion certificates must be emailed to email@example.com.
- AHAI website: Team Managers are required to input their team's roster into the AHAI website after teams are established. You can do this at the website below.
- For NIHL teams, prepare to schedule seeding round: Obtain blackout dates for goalies and coaches, as well as if any girls are double rostered. You will need to work with their other team manager to avoid any overlap.
- There is a MANDATORY scheduling meeting that is typically held in mid-September in the Northwest suburbs. Prior to the meeting, you will be given six (6) home ice slots from your ice scheduler. A NIHL representative will give you an envelope indicating which teams you have to play and whether you will play them at home or away. You must talk to the other team managers present and, using a combination of their and your ice times, schedule the games NIHL is requiring. You can't leave the meeting until you've scheduled every game and turn in a form for each home game scheduled to the NIHL representative.
- Prior to the scheduling meeting, we recommend that you:
- Know your coaches/goalies black out dates.
- Bring a calendar noting tournaments or other conflicts.
- Schedule distant locations FIRST and on weekends.
- Familiarize yourself with the location of potential opponent's rinks (e.g., rinks that are close should be scheduled last and may be scheduled on a weeknight, if necessary)
- Set up team operations: Solicit volunteers from the team to fill the roles of Treasurer, Social Chair, Tournament/Trip Coordinator, and Communications Liaison.
- Treasurer: Manages team finances from slush fund: paying the team bills (tournaments, dinners, gifts) and any other accounting that needs attention.
- Social Chair: Arranges social events for the team: planning team parties and bonding activities throughout the season, as well as an end of season party.
- Tournament/Trip Coordinator: Arranges events/activities for down time at tournaments and plans goody bags, door signs, etc.
- Communications Liaison: Responsible for providing updates, photos, videos, etc. to the Club communications team for sharing on website and social media channels. This person sends information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Establish slush fund: Ask each family to donate for the slush fund. Approximately $350-$550 is a good starting point. These funds pay for the tournament registrations, coaches hotel rooms and gas fees during tournaments, social events at tournaments, coaches' gifts, etc.
- Ensure all parents have downloaded the CrossBar app: This will allow families to see the current calendar, team roster, contact information of other parents, and access the chat feature. The chat feature cannot be accessed through the computer, so ensure all parents download the app so they can communicate with other parents on the team.
- Schedule tournaments: Tournaments fill up quickly, so book early in September and get the deposit paid by the team's Treasurer ASAP. A total of three (3) tournaments per season is standard: one (1) tournament in October/November, one (1) local tournament over Thanksgiving weekend, and one (1) tournament over MLK, Jr. weekend in January. The Travel Director or Hockey Director may have already booked some tournaments. Check with your coach to see which tournaments your team is registered and where there may be additional work needed. For all away tournaments you will need to obtain a Travel Permit. Please send all Travel Permit requests to the WHA Registrar. Finally, you are responsible for disseminating the information about the tournament and coordinating the hotel block to your team. *Note, tournaments are typically "stay to play," meaning you must stay "as a team" at one of the hotels that they choose in order to play at the tournament.
- AHAI player declaration: A player may play for a maximum of two (2) AHAI organizations during his or her AHAI career (this applies only to the winter season; spring and summer seasons don’t count toward this). This form is used to document a player’s understanding of this rule and record their choice of organization. Once they leave the first organization, that organization is not obligated to accept that player back if they subsequently wish to return. Make sure all your players NEW TO THE CLUB (or any first year Squirt) has made their declaration.
- Weekly emails: We highly recommend sending a “Week Ahead” email on Sunday nights to communicate any upcoming events or changes. This is a good time to coordinate who will be running the clock and scoresheet for any upcoming home games. It can be easiest to link to a Google doc or Signup Genius for sign-ups. This is also a good time to reiterate arrival time for players on game days. Players must arrive 45-60* minutes before the puck drop to allow ample time for dryland warm-ups, changing, and a coach chat with the team. *Note, check with your coach on the exact time they want players to arrive.
- GameSheet and roster stickers: Scoring will be done on an iPad via as program called GameSheet. Parents volunteering to help with scoring should watch this brief GameSheet tutorial. As the manager, you are also responsible for providing roster stickers. Roster stickers will only be needed for tournaments. These go on the scoresheets and are given to both teams and the tournament coordinators after each game. Please be sure to bring at least 15 stickers per tournament. You should plan to create these on Avery label template #5163, which seems to work best.
- Season kick-off party: Arrange for a start of the season team bonding event or team dinner. For teams without a tournament, this may be easiest to do the first weekend of the season.
- Referees: NIHL and CSDHL will schedule referees for the initial schedule (i.e., seeding round and regular season play for NIHL and regular season play for CSDHL). If a game is rescheduled, referees will need to be requested on the AHAI website.
- Locker room assignments: Home games are self-explanatory, as they are posted upon entry. Away games are similar but they sometimes require a driver’s license or set of car keys in exchange for the locker room key at a front desk. The players are expected to treat the locker room with respect and clean up after themselves. It is the manger’s responsibility to ensure that it is clean and locked up.
- Home team responsibilities:
- Referees: Managers should receive an email from AHAI the week prior to any home games. Double check the game times, rink locations and assigned referees to confirm. Make sure referees are present (i.e., check the referee's locker room 20 mins before game time).
- Time Keeper: You must provide a parent volunteer for all home games. There are scoreboard instructions in each scoring booth. The North Shore Ice Arena clock can be a little confusing at first. Rink managers or Zamboni drivers are the point of contact for major scoreboard issues.
- Score Keeper: A parent volunteer keeps score during the game on GameSheet using an iPad. Parents volunteering to help with scoring should watch this brief GameSheet tutorial.
- Posting Final Score: The final score must be posted to your NIHL webpage within 24 hours of the game, otherwise the club will be assessed a fine. CSDHL uses Gamesheet. It will upload/sync automatically when it is online. If the app was used offline, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi within 24 hours to ensure the score is uploaded to the CSDHL website.
- Confirm fall tournament (including hotel block): Make sure fees have been paid, print the team roster from the AHAI site, print tournament permits from WHA Registrar, make sure hotel rooms have been booked, including coaches rooms. If possible, reserve a conference/party room for the team to gather on an off-time.
- For NIHL team managers: At the end of the seeding round, you will need to schedule the regular NIHL season games. It has been done remotely, which makes it a bit easier. It works similarly to the seeding round scheduling in that you will get a list of who you will be playing and if the games will be home or away. Many have found that a Sign-up Genius works well for scheduling these games. You will list your home ice on the Sign-up Genius and send it out to the managers in your bracket. The other managers will do the same, sending you their home ice, giving you the opportunity to take what works best.
- Prior to scheduling:
- Know your coaches and goalie(s) black out dates.
- Schedule distant locations FIRST and on weekends. Consider travel route, time of year and time of event when scheduling (e.g., you don’t want to battle traffic to make a 6PM game in Joliet on a snowy Tuesday in January).
- Familiarize yourself with the location of potential opponents rinks (i.e., rinks that are close should be scheduled last and may be scheduled on a weeknight if necessary).
- The Thanksgiving tournament is typically booked directly through the WHA club. Verify that is the case with the Youth Travel Director.
- Schedule regular season games in late October (typically done remotely).
- Plan a holiday party prior to the winter break.
- Confirm tournament for MLK, Jr. weekend: Make sure fees have been paid, print the team roster from the AHAI site, print tournament permits from WHA Registrar, make sure hotel rooms have been booked, including coaches rooms. If possible, reserve a conference or party room for the team to gather in off-times. Be sure to send out a detailed outline of the weekend's activities and schedules so families know where they need to be and when.
- NIHL and CSDHL tournament: For NIHL teams, this tournament will either be a round robin or a single elimination tournament for the top teams in NIHL. The format varies from year-to-year, within each age division, and level based on the number of teams involved and how they were arranged in tiers. A separate tournament is held for each age group/level. Each tournament is hosted by a different NIHL club at its home rink. Finals for each level are held in one location. For CSDHL teams, there is typically a round robin tournament for the top eight (8) teams.
- State tournament: Around the end of the NIHL season, various teams (one for AA, one for A) are invited to play in a tournament sponsored by AHAI. The WHA will pay the initial entry fee for each travel team. If the team reaches the final group of eight teams, the Team must pay that tournament fee.
- Seeding Process: To apply, in late December or early January, your coach will fill out a form rating other teams you’ve played. This determines ranking for the State (AHAI) Tournament.
- Invitation: Sometime during January, you should receive an invitation to play in the State Tournament (all teams registered are invited). If you do not receive the invitation by the middle of January, contact the AHAI Representative.
- Elimination & Play-Down: In late January or early February, you will be given your seeding position for the State Tournament. Typically, the first phase is played in a single game elimination. Depending on how many teams enter, the top teams may get a “bye” for the first round. Eight (8) survivors go on to play in the “round robin” phase. The elimination phase will take approximately 1-2 weeks and games are played on the home rink of the higher seeded team. The cost of ice time and referees is split between the two teams. The “round robin” is played over a single weekend at a neutral location. There is an initial fee for the elimination phase, and a second (higher) fee if your team makes it to the final 8 team round robin phase. The top TWO teams (determined by points earned in the round robin) play for the state championship.
- Check the slush fund: Confirm with your Treasurer that the slush fund balance is up to date and ask them to “true up” the fund with parents.
- Plan a final party: Start to plan an end of season party (e.g., outdoor skate, pizza party) knowing how much you have to spend from the slush fund.
- Get a coaches gifts: Lavish team gifts are unnecessary and discouraged. Approximately $100 per coach at the winter break and at the end of the season should be sufficient to convey a proper sense of appreciation.