The following sets forth the policies of the Winnetka Hockey Club (“WHC”) concerning its community-based travel hockey program (“THP”). The fundamental goal underlying these policies is to provide the best and most enjoyable developmental experience to our players. While we hope our teams will win their share of games, it is more important that the children have fun, develop hockey skills, and learn the rewards of competition, teamwork, dedicated effort, and sportsmanship.
1. GENERAL ELIGIBILITY POLICIES FOR ALL PLAYERS
WHC does not permit players to “play up” on a team of older players. Any parent seeking an exception to this rule should file a written request to the Hockey Director, specifying the basis for the exception. The Hockey Director will evaluate the request and make a recommendation to the Board, which will then vote to approve or deny the request.
2. VIOLATIONS OF CODE OF CONDUCT OR WHC POLICIES
Any alleged violation of WHC codes of conduct or policies should be made in writing to a member of the WHC Rules and Ethics Committee. The Rules and Ethics Committee will investigate such alleged violations, hold a hearing if appropriate, and determine and implement any sanction. Such sanctions may include suspension from games or practices or expulsion from the WHC program. The Rules and Ethics Committee generally will abide by the following “three strike” guidelines in determining sanctions, although it may in its sole discretion institute more or less severe sanctions if and when it deems appropriate.
*1st Violation of Code of Conduct (“Strike One”) - One week (minimum one game) suspension
*2nd Violation of Code of Conduct (“Strike Two”) - Two week (minimum two games) suspension
*3rd Violation of Code of Conduct (“Strike Three”) - Suspension for the balance of the regular season
A player, parent, or coach may receive all three strikes for a single infraction or incident. Additionally, strikes for players or parents shall carry over from season to season, level to level, and also between organizations affiliated with the WHC, including the North Shore Hockey Club. For example, if a player receives a strike in his or her Squirt season, that strike will carry over to all subsequent seasons for which that player plays for the WHC (i.e., Pee Wee, Bantam, and Midget).
The Rules and Ethics Committee will notify players, parents, or coaches in writing of any sanction.
3. COMMITMENT AND ATTENDANCE
The WHC Travel Program requires a significant commitment from its players and parents. The following sets forth the WHC attendance policy to which parents and players should be willing to abide before accepting a rostered position on a WHC Travel team.
A. All Travel players are required to attend all scheduled games, practices, and skills clinics over the course of the season and will be given three (3) excused absences per season or more at the coach’s discretion. Excused absences are (1) required school activities; (2) religious holidays or services; (3) illness or injury; and (4) family emergencies. As the WHC encourages participation in multiple sports, absences relating to participating in other sports should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
B. If a team or player has more than one scheduled hockey event in one day (excluding tournaments, NIHL, and Central States), the coach must designate one as optional. If a practice scheduling change or a practice game scheduling change occurs with less than 48 hours’ notice, then the practice must be considered optional. Attendance will remain mandatory for any rescheduled NIHL or Central States regular season games.
C. Player attendance is required every weekend during the season including Thanksgiving weekend, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidents Day weekends for tournament play; provided, however, that no practice or game shall be held on Halloween for any Mite, Squirt, or Pee Wee team.
D. WHC has a two-week winter break that is scheduled to coincide with the calendars of the local school. In the event NIHL or Central States schedules do not coincide with a particular school schedule, those players will be required to attend all scheduled events.
E. Coaches will be responsible for determining and enforcing the WHC policies on unexcused absences. These rules shall be applied consistently to all players. Any planned absence not discussed with the coach or manager prior to the absence generally will be deemed unexcused. In the event of extenuating circumstances that limit the number of players on a particular roster for that next game, the coach has the discretion to defer any penalty for an unexcused absence.
F. The following are general guidelines coaches may decide to implement regarding unexcused absences:
a. 1st and 2nd absence—player will sit out first period of following game
b. 3rd absence—player will sit out two periods of the following game
c. 4th absence—player suspended for next game
d. 5th absence-player suspended immediately and may be eligible for dismissal from his or her team pending review by the Rules and Ethics Committee in consultation with the WHC Hockey Director and WHC Travel Director.
G. Prior to November 1st, it will be considered an excused absence when or if a player misses a practice for a game in another sport provided such misses are not excessive.
4. TEAM SELECTION
Teams are selected based on competitive, closed tryouts run by coaches at each playing level. The coaches control the tryouts and make the team selection decisions.
Any and all communication during tryouts should be directed to the WHC Hockey Director or WHC Travel Director, including if a parent feels that the coaches should be aware of some fact bearing on a child’s performance.
The WHC requests that, prior to the commencement of tryouts, a parent should inform the WHC Hockey Director or WHC Travel Director if their child will not play if selected for a certain team. This information will be held in confidence until the coaches have selected the teams. This information will be used to avoid a situation in which another player would otherwise be cut and later called back onto a team after a player originally selected for that team decides not to play.
Players who cannot participate in tryouts because of an illness or injury may be placed on a travel team at the discretion of the WHC Hockey Director, WHC Travel Director, or coach for that particular team. The following guidelines may apply in such situations:
A. The Hockey Director will gather as much information as possible concerning the child’s medical situation and the child’s skill level to present to the coaches making the team selections. If the coach is not familiar with the player, other coaches with experience with the player’s ability will be consulted.
B. WHC requires that the coaches take a conservative approach when evaluating a child who is unable to tryout. If there is any doubt as to which team the child should be on, the child should be placed on the lower team. Similarly, if there is any doubt whether the child would make any team, then the child should not be placed on a team.
C. After all relevant data is collected, the Hockey Director, in consultation with the WHC Travel Director, will make a recommendation to the coaches and they will decide jointly whether a child unable to tryout be placed on a team. This decision will be made after all other skaters have been evaluated.
To ensure fairness and accountability, all WHC tryouts are proctored by two WHC Board members, who do not have a player at that level.
5. TEAM SIZE
WHC maintains the goal of providing the highest quality developmental program. Team size is at the discretion of the coach, WHC Hockey Director, and WHC Travel Director, but generally ranges from 10 – 16 players per team, excluding goalies.
All players are required to wear neck guards at all practices and games. Squirts and above are required to wear mouth guards at all games and practices.
The WHC desires a uniformed look for players and recommends that players have white helmets (with no decals other than a WHC logo and the player’s number) and black pants and gloves.
7. TEAM MANAGERS
One parent, as determined by the coach in collaboration with the Hockey Director, Travel Hockey Director, and WHC Board of Directors, is appointed as the team manager. The manager is to act as the liaison between the coach and the parents, recruit a team treasurer and team photographer, assist in collecting funds for team activities, attend NIHL scheduling meetings, coordinate team parties and tournament dinners/goody bags, send reminders of scheduled events and update the teams’ schedule. The team manager must be SafeSport® trained and pass a background check.
The WHC discourages any parent from initiating a conversation or written communication with a coach about a player’s ice time, position or performance within 24 hours following a game.
Neither the manager, parents nor the coach should distribute statistical records showing individual player’s statistics.
8. BOARD LIAISON
Each team will have an assigned WHC board member to act as liaison between the team and the WHC Board of Directors. Any questions or concerns regarding WHC policies or practices may be directed to the Board liaison.
9. OUT OF TOWN TOURNAMENTS
The purpose of overnight hockey tournaments is to provide an enjoyable environment for teammates to bond as well as experience an appropriate level of competition. Each WHC travel team will have two (2) tournaments included in their season fees. One will be out of town and one will be local (most likely the Wishbone Tournament for all teams). The WHC Program Administrator will register teams for all tournaments and communicate details to all team managers. Teams seeking a third tournament should seek support from the WHC Program Administrator to do so.
Coaches are approved on an annual basis by the Executive Committee of the WHC Board of Directors. The Coaches Committee of the Board of Directors (of which the WHC Hockey Director is a member) selects and recommends coaches for approval by the Executive Committee of the WHC Board of Directors.
Qualified parents will be considered for coaching positions at the discretion of the WHC Hockey Director and Coaches Committee, with the approval of the WHC Board of Directors.
Parents who are allowed to coach or assist at practices must be SafeSport® trained and pass a background check. No parent is permitted on the ice or on a player’s bench without these qualifications.
11. TRAVEL PAYMENT POLICY
Effective for the 2023-24 season, the following payment policy will be implemented for all travel players:
Once your child’s name is posted to a team, you will need to login to your account on the WHC website, select your child’s team and pay either in full or 1/3 of the amount due (installment plan). You should receive an email confirmation after you submit your payment. If you choose the installment plan, the checking account or credit/debit card associated with your account will be charged immediately 1/3 of the amount due. The checking account or credit/debit card associated with your account then will be charged automatically the remaining amounts due in two equal installments, with the first occurring on November 15th and the second on January 15. If paying with a credit or debit card, a 2% processing fee will be added to the total.