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Play Down Requests

Play Down Requests

USA Hockey - Minnesota District

Basic Policy: Players play within their defined age group.  In special circumstances, athletes with disabilities may be granted permission to play down.  To put in a play down request, follow the procedure below.  Note: The decision of the District Registrar is the final decision.  There is no appeal process.


The “playdown” policy is established to accommodate a player that has documented physical or mental disabilities and who, upon the written recommendation of their physician,  would be subjected to abnormal risk physically or otherwise physically incapable of playing at the proper age division..  The American Disability Act (ADA) is the basis for permitting such practice.

Typically, only players with a severe disability will be allowed to play down.  Being small in size, a first year player or an otherwise inexperienced player will not, initself, qualify as a justification for moving a player down.   

Requests to move  a player down will not be considered if it is clear that such a move is for convenience of the player rather than physical necessity.  Also requests that are based on achieving a more dominant competitive advantage for the player involved will not be approved. 

Any individual who is approved to play down must be willing to play at the lowest level of competition offered by the player’s association.

Because of the nature of “playdown” requests, the following procedure is applicable for all requests

A parent/guardian must initiate the request.

The request must be accompanied by a written statement from a licensed physician (see below) and approved in writing by the local association. The approval from the local association must be on association letterhead and must specify the lowest competitive playing classification available within the association, Approved play-down requests require that the player participate at the lowest competitive level. The president of the local association should sign the request.

The request must include the following documentation:

  • A written description of the disability from the Medical Doctor that is caring for the subject player which would include an opinion of the risks of having the player participate with others at his/her proper age division This document must also state that, in the opinion of the Medical Doctor, there are no abnormal risks associated with permitting the player to participate in a contact sport such as ice hockey.
  • A document specifying the birth date, the current height and the weight of the player.

The request letter with all of the supporting documentation, in hard copy form, shall be sent to the cognizant Minnesota Hockey District Director.. If the District Director approves the request, the documentation package is forwarded to the USA Hockey Minnesota District Registrar for final approval.

Note that the documentation is to be in original hard copy form, with signatures. No e-mail.


USA Hockey Registrar, Minnesota District