St. Paul, MN – September 20, 2016 – The Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors instituted two new changes and extended a pilot program for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. During its summer meeting on June 26, 2016, the Board enacted a rule that will allow Girls 15U B teams to play in 15U A invitational tournaments and adopted the Minnesota Development Model as official guidelines for player development. A ruling was also made to approve a one-year extension of the Pilot Program to change the Girls’ 14U classification to 15U.
Girls 15U Interlevel Play: A provision was added to the Minnesota Hockey Interlevel Play Rule, which is located on page 26 of the 2016-2017 Minnesota Hockey Handbook, allowing Girls 15U B teams to participate in 15U A invitational tournaments. This change will provide an opportunity for 15U B teams to experience the unique atmosphere of invitational tournaments.
The Board instituted this rule change based on the recommendations of the Minnesota Hockey Girls League Committee and District Girls Coordinator with the intent of increasing participation and improving competitiveness across the entire Girls 15U classification.
Minnesota Development Model: The Board also adopted the Minnesota Development Model (MDM) as official guidelines that can be found on page 70 of the 2016-17 Minnesota Hockey Handbook. The MDM features best practices designed to assist youth hockey associations in Minnesota in developing programming that supports long term athlete development (LTAD).
The MDM, through utilization of LTAD principles, integrates training, competition and age appropriate development guidelines so that we can assist each participant in reaching his or her potential. The MDM offers equal opportunity to learn the basic skills for recreation and competition
As a part of the MDM, the standard of play for Mite/8U games is cross- or half-ice. Recognizing associations may wish to deviate from the standard, up to six full-ice games are allowed after December 31st with District Director approval.
Girls 15U Pilot Program: “The Girls 15U Pilot Program was implemented after discussions with the District Girls Coordinators centering on how to improve the numbers and competitiveness at this level,” said USA Hockey Girls/Women’s Minnesota District Section Representative, Doug Foster. “It was decided to extend the 15U Pilot program into the 2016-2017 to gather more information to study.”
The extension to the pilot program is intended to collect additional data and feedback for analysis by the Board of Directors. With this pilot program, the Board of Directors has been and will continue to be sensitive to how this may impact High School programs, with players deciding to play girl’s hockey instead of High School. The pilot program will be reviewed following the 2016-17 season prior to a decision being made for future seasons.