At the age of 14, two things happen for hockey players interested in competing beyond high school. The first step is to start ramping up the length and intensity of their training. Secondly, players should compete and showcase their skills against other top players in an effort to get noticed by scouts.
The Reebok Minnesota Hockey High Performance programs fulfill both of those needs by gathering the top Minnesota players at each age level. Knowing how important of a role the programs play in the development and identification of the top players in Minnesota, many players and parents are quick to ask, ‘How can I make the HP Programs?’.
The first step in making it to the Reebok HP Festivals and Camps involves making the team from your District or Section. While almost all of the districts and sections host a tryout to form the team, the process of getting to tryouts typically varies by district, which can cause some confusion.
Reebok High Performance Boys’ 15 (2000)
Most of the participants in the Boys’ 15 program are still playing at the Bantam level. Therefore, the original player selections start at the district level.
“The nomination process for the Boys’ 15 program is laid out by District, which will vary,” said John Perry, Program Director for the Boys’ and Girls’ 15 programs. “The only time they limit the kids that can attend tryout is due to numbers – such as when there are just too many to fit on the ice.”
A good example of this is the metro districts where there can often be several hundred players eligible to participate. When this occurs, the district works directly with association coaches to form an invite list. During that time, coaches have the opportunity to submit nominations for players they feel are worthy.
In districts where the number of players isn’t too large, they often hold an open tryout. Eligible players from any association within the district can attend and attempt to make the team.
To learn more about the procedure in your district or to learn about the Boys’ HP 15 program, contact your District General Manager.
Reebok High Performance Girls’ 15 (2000)
The Girls’ 15 program operates a little differently than the Boys’ 15 because many of the players come from high school teams instead of youth teams.
The teams are still formed at the district level, and in many cases, the districts host an open tryout. The main difference is high school coaches now have the responsibility for nominating their players that are eligible through our Coach Nomination Form. High school players aren’t eligible to participate in tryouts, even if they are open to anyone, without their coach completing the form because of their affiliation with the Minnesota State High School League.
Another variation from the Boys’ program is that there are certain districts that co-op to form a team. Contact your District General Manager to verify when and where tryouts will be held and if they are open or by invite only.
Reebok High Performance Boys’ 16 & 17 (1998-1999)
The Boys’ 16 & 17 program is the first age group for boys’ hockey players in which the program is designed around sections instead of districts, as a majority of the players are competing at the high school level. Each section (ex: Section 1A/AA) forms one team from the players of the appropriate age, participating at the A & AA levels.
Players are nominated by their high school coaches. Then, a minimum of 40 players are invited to participate in section tryouts. From that group, the section selects the team that will participate in the Spring Festival.
Reebok High Performance Girls’ 16 & 17 (1998-1999)
The teams in the Girls’ 16 & 17 program are formed by Section just like the Boys’ program. It is common for high school coaches to contact the District General Manager and notify him or her that one or more of their players intends to tryout. However, most sections host open tryouts.
The dates and locations for tryouts are posted on the Girls’ HP 16 & 17 web page for easy access.
Reebok High Performance Great 8 (Seniors) & HP 18’s (1997)
The Reebok High Performance Great 8 and HP 18 teams are the only teams selected without tryouts. They are still formed and compete by Section, but they are selected based on input from the high school coaches. First, each coach has the ability to nominate players. Then, all of the coaches vote on who they think should represent the section at the Great 8 and HP 18 Festivals.
The process outlined in this article focuses on how to make your district or section team for each age level. While making those respective teams is a significant accomplishment of its own, it is only the start of a fantastic opportunity for the players.
Each program has several phases. The players are evaluated continuously with only the top players moving onto the next phase. Eventually, Minnesota sends one group of players from each age level onto the USA Hockey Player Development Camps. Last year, over 3,000 players in Minnesota participated in the tryout phase and 141 were selected for national camps.
For more information on each program’s phases, visit the appropriate program web page.