As the recently announced merger between the Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association and Indianapolis Strong takes shape, the IYHA announces more details about its comprehensive competitive hockey programs -- ranging from recreational to elite travel hockey.
The organization has expanded to further its mission of creating opportunities that allow youth hockey players to develop their skills and enhance enjoyment of the game. Here is a more detailed breakdown of our competitive hockey programs.
The foundation of IYHA is the house program. This level includes both boys and girls ages 4 to 18. In most instances, a player’s date of birth determines the age group in which he or she will skate. For the 2017-2018 season:
Recreational hockey includes one or two nights of practice during the week and one weekend game.
Indy Fusion All-Girls Programs
The Indy Fusion girls’ programs provide recreational and competitive levels for female players ages 4 to 19. The core program fields teams that compete in the IYHA house program at the Mini Mite through Bantam levels. In addition to playing on an all-girls house team, players can opt to play on a co-ed house team.
The Indy Fusion also offers an elite program, which competes at higher levels within USA Hockey (A, AA, AAA). This includes teams at U12, U14, U16 and U19.
The Fusion program also promotes growth of the girls’ game by actively networking with USA Hockey, the local women's team, and other Indiana organizations to provide unique opportunities throughout the year including the “Girls Try Hockey series,” “Share the Game,” “Girls Rock the Rink” (3v3) and “Girls Hockey Night in Indy.”
The Racers Select program gives house players who qualify an opportunity to participate in competitive games and tournaments in addition to their house team activities. Racers Select players must fulfill their house commitments – games and practices – in order to remain eligible to play on a select team.
IYHA has found the “blended experience” of house and select competition to be a tried and true way to develop skill and character in our players. Our emphasis is on fundamental skill-development, teamwork, sportsmanship and – most of all – fun.
House select is IYHA's first level of Indianapolis Racers hockey. The Squirt, PeeWee and Bantam levels will each have at least one team competing in the Buckeye Travel Hockey League. The BTHL's pre-season seeding tournament will determine the division in which each Racers team competes. Tryouts for Racers-select will be held in August.
Racers select players, in addition to their house commitment, will have one additional practice and at least two additional games (BTHL) on most weekends. All Racers-select games are scheduled so that they don’t conflict with the house-league schedule.
Racers Elite Travel (AAA, AA)
Through the recent merger, IYHA has added an elite travel hockey program which is committed to developing players competing at the highest level possible. One AAA team and one AA team will be fielded at the U14 (Bantam), U12 (PeeWee) and U10 (Squirt) levels. The U16 (Midget) level will field one AAA team. All Racers Elite Travel teams will play an independent schedule of games and tournaments.
At each age level (U10 to U16), the Racers will field mixed-birth year teams. This is a change from the Indy Strong's previous format of birth year-specific teams (e.g. every player on a team's roster was born in the same year). Under the new format, players will benefit through a more competitive tryout environment and more variance of rosters from year to year.
At each age level except U16, AA and AAA teams will combine for a majority of their practices, enabling more players to regularly skate with our best coaches. This also keeps the cost to each family as low as possible. Practices will be held two to three times a week, depending on the age group. There will be two to four games on most weekends.
At each age level, one tryout will be held to select the AAA and AA teams. The tryout groups and their respective birth years will be as follows:
There will be no pre-determined number of players from each age group (e.g. it is possible for the entire U12 AAA, team to be comprised of all 2005 players). A player's birth year will have no impact on which team he or she plays for within his or her age level.
If it is determined at tryouts that there are sufficient travel-level players after the AAA and AA teams are selected, the IYHA will consider additional travel teams.
Racers AAA and AA tryouts will be held in May.
Hockey for Life
The IYHA believes that at any point during a player’s youth-hockey career, he or she can progress from house to select to elite travel levels. Players can move in the other direction as well. Whatever path a player chooses, we believe first and foremost that the game should be fun. This will ensure that we meet another of our organization’s goals, which is to develop players who will enjoy hockey for life.