TEXAS AMATEUR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION (TAHA)
With Christmas just days away and the start of family gatherings and holiday meals (which for many of us means holiday hockey tournaments and team meals in restaurants on the road), I want to wish all of you a joyous holiday season, and a safe and prosperous 2019.
Despite much of what we see on TV and read in news stories, we have much to be thankful for and I hope we can all find that perspective, particularly at this time of year.
Here are just a few updates to lead us into the official holiday break.
PARTICIPATION GROWTH CONTINUES
Our participation numbers are strong and growing as has been the case the last several years. Texas and Oklahoma are two states that show, year in and year out, increases in player participation at almost all age levels.
The heavy focus on “Learn to Play” has resulted in several years of surges in new players at the 8U and 10U age levels. As those players work their way through the age brackets, we have seen steady growth and stabilization at the 12U and 14U ages. We are expecting that in another two years that growth will naturally extend into the 16U and 18U age categories, however as we’ve noted, with so many activities and distractions as players get older, the onus will be on us to find ways to keep them engaged and participating.
We remain the largest Affiliate in the Rocky Mountain District and so much of the credit for this success goes to our partners at the NHL Dallas Stars and all our rink owners/operators in both states. Without your tireless dedication to grass roots growth, we simply wouldn’t be able to celebrate the strength of our game as we can today.
HOUSE/REC TEAMS – TRAVEL (CLARIFICATION)
There has been some confusion about House/Rec teams and out of Affiliate travel. Although the policy seemed clear at the time, we understand that there may have been some questions as to which teams needed to clear travel and when. So here is clarification that we hope will help.
Tier I and Tier II teams are allowed to travel out of Affiliate without prior clearance.
Any team that is rostered as a House/Rec team, INCLUDING travel teams, are required to submit a request for clearance to the House Section President. As many of you will recall, three years ago TAHA established policy on the formation of House/Rec teams and type of out of Affiliate travel that would be permitted. All that information can be reviewed in the TAHA Guidebook which is available on our web site. But here are a couple of important reminders on travel for House/Rec teams:
ALL teams are encouraged to request Travel Permits for out of town tournaments. Travel Permits are NOT required but they do act as a safeguard against teams participating in tournaments that are not properly sanctioned by USA Hockey.
Last season we had a team participate in a tournament they thought was sanctioned and ended up playing against a team that was NOT registered with USA Hockey. Unsanctioned games are not permitted and can carry substantial penalties for the coach and team.
The process for requesting a Travel Permit is outlined in the TAHA Guidebook. (It is free but does require some advance planning.)
GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL TEAM
I am delighted to announce that Texas will have a girl’s entry into the USA Hockey High School National tournament next March/April. This is a first for us and the team is made up of High School aged girls from the Affiliate. The team will skate as TEAM TEXAS and their first games are underway.
Thank you to Mike Salekin and High School Section President Keith Andresen for making this first ever girls HS team happen.
HIGH SCHOOL NATIONALS
Speaking of High School Nationals, congratulations to the Dallas Stars for securing the High School National Tournament in 2020. Another important first for TAHA and we couldn’t be happier about welcoming teams from all across the country to Dallas for the Pure and Blended High School Nationals.
All games will be played in Mansfield.
Watch for more details next year.
DJHA TO HOST 16U NATIONALS
For the 3rd time in five years the Dallas area will play host to the 16U Tier II National tournament next April (April 4-8) in Plano. DJHA is the official host. Watch the DJHA web site and the USA Hockey National’s site for schedules.
ACHA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
In 2019 and in 2020, DFW and the NHL Dallas Stars will play host to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) national tournament. This five-division national tournament (Mens Div I, II, III and Women’s Div I and II) will be played the next two years in Frisco, McKinney and Plano and represents the first time this event has been outside of the Midwest.
More than 60 college teams will visit the Metroplex to crown five national champions. To learn more, visit the ACHA Nationals web site http://achahockey.org/view/achahockey/2019-national-tournament
HIGH SCHOOL STATE TOURNAMENT EXPANDED
The High School State Tournament continues to grow as 2019 will see the reemergence of the Silver Division and the addition of a Bronze Division, to complement the National Bound Pure and Blended divisions.
The tournament kicks off on January 25th and will conclude with championships being decided on January 25th. All games in the Pure and Blended Divisions will be played at Valley Ranch. All Silver and Bronze games will be played at the Mansfield rink.
Watch the TAHA web site for more details on game times and match ups.
ADULT STATE TOURNAMENT
This year marks the third year that TAHA will sponsor an Adult State Championship. The tournament will feature four divisions (A, B, C, D) and all games will be held at the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills over the MLK weekend. There are slots still available and if your team is interested, contact Austin Sutter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here are some important dates to keep in mind for the next few months of the season:
We are blessed to be part of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding game in the world. In these moments, we must never forget we are merely temporary caretakers of a sport we love and cherish. What we do; how we handle success AND adversity, both on the ice and off, will leave a lasting impression.
With each action and every utterance, challenge players, coaches, parents, officials and administrators to protect our game. Leave it better than when you arrived. Know that every act we take is being watched and this game, and all who are in it are being evaluated and judged. Our impact is both wide and deep. Never lose sight of the good you can do, or the damage that we can cause.
And as I do with each message, I ask that you take a moment to remember those who serve every day, here and abroad, to make our freedoms possible. Please keep members of law enforcement, firefighters and all first responders top of mind as they remain on the front lines here at home.
On behalf of the entire TAHA Board, we wish for each of you a safe and healthy holiday.
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