do you have questions?
Your child can start the Learn to Skate program as early as 3 years old. Mite hockey typically starts at 6 years old, however, players will be moved up from Learn to Skate once they are able to skate without a training aid.
Players need proper protective equipment while playing hockey to prevent injury. The link below is a great resource for required equipment for new hockey parents.
Typically, tryouts for comp are in early August and evaluations for rec are in mid-August. The season for non-national bound teams (12U and under) ends with state tournaments that are held in March. National bound teams (14U and older) may earn trips to Districts and National tournaments in March and April.
SAHA follows the American Development Model (ADM) created by USA Hockey for mite hockey. The benefits of the ADM approach include age-appropriate practice plans, more efficient skill development, more player retention and helping kids reach their full potential. Players 8 and under are eligible to play in the mite divisions.
The mite blue division is for players learning to play hockey that have completed Learn to Skate or can stand up without a training aid. These players are introduced to the USA Hockey ADM and begin to develop hockey skills. They typically play cross ice games with no score keeping and rotating goalies.
The mite white division is for players with Intermediate skating and hockey skills who have surpassed the mite blue skill level. Mite whites play half ice games with no score keeping and have a goalie dressed with proper protective equipment.
The mite red division consists of advanced mite players who are ready for more complex skill development and competitive game play. Mite reds play half ice games with dressed goalies. They will play in multiple tournaments throughout the season, both in the Municipality and in surrounding communities.
The 2023-24 USA Hockey Age Classifications can be viewed at the following link:
ASHA splits up 10U and 12U non-national bound comp teams into two levels.
The minor level (comparable to AA) is typically players who have just moved up from the previous level (eg. 8U to 10U or 10U to 12U) and are not as advanced as their older counterparts.
The major level (AAA or Elite) consists of the most advanced players in that age group for each organization.
USA Hockey offers two tiers of youth competition, Tier 1 and Tier 2, each with their own set of rules and their own National Championships. National bound teams begin at the 14U age group.
Tier 1 requires significant travel and increased expense as there are more practices, more events, and fewer teams to play against as USA Hockey affiliates must approve teams for Tier 1 status based on an established set of criteria to protect the integrity of competition. Team Alaska represents the Tier 1 program under the guidelines of ASHA.
Tier 2 is the largest tier of competition, spanning across several different levels of play. Players that do not make the Tier 1 teams usually fall into this tier.
Once your player is signed up for rec hockey, they will be placed on a team at evaluations.
Rec A is the higher level of rec hockey, consisting of more experienced and skilled players.
Rec B consists of players newer to hockey looking to build their skill and learn the game.
Districting is the ASHA rule that necessitates a 10U or 12U player to play for a team in their home area or district. The districts are as follows:
- The Gold Rush Division: Comprised of the Fairbanks City limits.
- The Glacier Division: Comprised of the cities of Palmer, Houston, Big Lake, Wasilla, Willow, and Sutton.
- The Beluga Division: Comprised of the Anchorage bowl from JBER all the way to Portage along Turnagain Arm. JBER covers a significant land area and serves as its own geographic enclave. Families with a physical address on JBER can opt to play in either Eagle River or Anchorage at their discretion.
- The Fjord Division: Encompassing all communities on the Kenai Peninsula from Hope to Homer.
- The Mountain Division: Comprised of the Communities of Peters Creek, Birchwood, and Eagle River.
Districting is being implemented beginning in the 2023-'24 season, starting with the 2014 birth year.
Districting does not apply to national bound teams (14U, 16U, AND 18U).
See the ASHA handbook for more detailed information.
SAHA and the Alaska Oilers allow players to move up if they are advanced and skilled enough to compete at the next level. This can happen from the mite level through 12U. USA hockey does not allow players to move to 14U.
A maximum of four players per organization are allowed to move up from the 8U division to the 10U in any given season.
YES! We encourage athletes to play multiple sports. Although the time commitment for comp hockey is big, families can work with their coaches to come up with a schedule that suits their needs if seasons and activities overlap.
Shared ice practices typically occur up to the 12U age level. The high cost and demand in our area for ice plays a role in the reason the teams share ice, however, advancement and development of the younger players is a positive factor that comes from sharing ice.
Shared ice practices typically consist of both teams working on full ice skating and drills, then moving into small area games where decision-making, critical skating skills like stops-and-starts, quick pivots and tight turns, and increased puck control skills are amplified in game-like situations.
Every team is different and the amount of travel is team and coach dependent.
Tier 1 teams typically travel often to find better competition out of state as the options are very limited in state.
Tier 2, Major, and Minor teams typically will travel one or two times per season out of state, as well as one in state trip.
Rec teams do not travel out of state generally, but will travel locally in Alaska for league games and the state tournament.