Travel Hockey: What to Expect
The travel hockey season is approximately seven months long, beginning in August and ending in March. If your team makes the playoffs, the season could continue into mid-April. There are three tiers of play based on player skill levels: Non-Tier (A/BB/B), Tier II (AA), and Tier I (AAA). Within these tiers, there are also different divisions by age group: Mites (8 & under), Squirts (9 – 10), Pee Wees (11 – 12), Bantams (13 – 14), and Midgets 16U (15 – 16) and 18U (17 – 18). The Mite and Squirt divisions do not offer Tier I or II level of play.
Travel hockey requires that all participates attend tryouts. In Southern California, tryouts for Tier I occur the mid-May. Tier II tryouts are held the first weekend in June, while non-Tier tryouts occur the second weekend in June. This is a very important process in travel hockey. Our goal is to ensure that each player is placed on the appropriate team that suits individual hockey goals, player development and growth.
Registration fees for travel hockey vary by age and level of play. Registration fees cover SCAHA membership, ice time for practices (typically three half ice practices per week), coaching fees, professional dry land training, SCAHA pre-season games, SCAHA league games (once per week), referee fees, and team practice jerseys. At the Mite level where games are played cross-ice, the registration fees are approximately $2,200 for the season. As games start being played on full-ice at the Squirt level, registration fees are typically around $2,600 per season. Non-tier Pee Wee, Bantam, and Midget players typically pay around $3,000 for registration fees while Tier II players pay approximately $4,000 per season. At the Tier I level, registration fees are often all inclusive for the player (CAHA weekend fees, tournaments, team travel) and can run $10,000 and up per season.
During registration, new players will also be required to purchase club apparel. New player apparel packages typically include two personalized team jerseys, hockey pants shell, team socks, dry land t-shirt and shorts, and warm-up jacket and pants. Full apparel packages average around $600.
In addition to the registration fees and club apparel purchase, Travel hockey teams may also need to collect team dues. Team dues takes care of additional practice slots, scrimmages, tournaments, and any additional team needs. These fees will typically be arranged and collected by your team manager throughout the season and vary per team. All players/families are also responsible for their own travel/hotel (if needed) to and from practices, tournaments, scrimmages, and games.
Travel hockey teams participate in a minimum of three tournaments per season. Most teams choose two local tournaments (e.g. drivable distance) and possibly one fly-away, often over holiday weekends to participate in. Tier teams typically participate in more tournaments and travel more than non-tier teams. Tournaments typically include three to five games over a three to four day period and sometimes start during school hours (e.g. Friday – Monday). Tournaments begin as early as Labor Day weekend, and continue on to include, but not limited to, Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Martin Luther King weekend, and Presidents’ Day weekend. Not every team will attend tournaments during each holiday and Tier teams may also attend tournaments that do not occur over a holiday weekend, such as Bauer World Invite and the Silver Stick Tournaments.
Travel Hockey is very rewarding sport and has a myriad of positive benefits. It builds character, increases athletic ability, improves mental agility, and creates a family unit where children learn to succeed as a team thru wins and losses. The California Heat also understands the time and financial commitment for families. The time spent with your child and the travel hockey team will provide positive memories that will last a lifetime. Financially, the California Heat club has scholarship opportunities to help support those families in need. Our club also has a flex pay option in which helps families make payments that suit their financial needs as well. Contact: Alec Dunn at Alec@CaHeatHockey.com for any questions that you may have. We hope to see you at tryouts!