Tag: tryouts

Roster Placements

The Newton Youth Hockey (NYH) Board recognizes that roster placement can cause anxiety and uncertainty among players and parents. The following is intended to minimize anxiety by providing transparency and clarifying the process.

The Roster Placement Process

The roster placement process consists of five steps.

  1. 2+ coaches’ season ratings
  2. On-ice evaluations at tryouts
  3. Current season team level in the Valley Hockey League (VHL)
  4. Board initial team placement
  5. Coaches’ roster review

The first three items provide numerical rating data used for initial stacked ranking. The last two are qualitative adjustments to make sure the math makes sense.

2+ Coaches’ Season Ratings

The coaches’ ratings carries the most weight. With five or six months of experience behind them by the time of their evaluations, coaches have the most comprehensive sense of the players’ abilities and teammate qualities. We have mandated that at least two coaches participate in the ratings to prevent one extreme relationship from being unfairly influential.

On-Ice Evaluations at Tryouts

Next comes the tryout ratings. This season (2015-2016) included four independent evaluators from ProAmbitions (or Mass Crease for goalies) plus the age group level head. Tryouts and coaches’ ratings account for the bulk of the input to roster placements.

Current Season Team Level in the VHL

We also consider the Valley Hockey League competitive level as a factor to differentiate between players moving up in age group. For example, a Peewee playing on the top NYH team in the Elite division will gain preference in this category over a returning Bantam third team player that was on the 113th out of 151 VHL Bantam teams. Compared to the previous two factors, this receives a modest weighting.

Board Initial Team Placement

The VP – Travel is responsible for roster placements. They make the first pass based on the numerical rating data as described above. Various Board members may review the initial rosters with input likely from at least the Coaching Director and the President but may include others with knowledge about specific players.

Coaches Roster Review

The sending and receiving (where applicable) coaches get a chance to review the team placement and comment. Obviously there is no individual within the organization that knows over 300 players individually so getting qualitative input at the end is essential. Major changes are rare at this stage, but players on the bubble are occasionally moved up or down.

At the end of the process, the following input has been received:

  • 2 coaches (scores averaged)
  • 5 tryouts evaluators (scores averaged)
  • 1 VP – Travel (stack ranked scores)
  • 2+ Board members (qualitative input)
  • 2 coaches’ review (qualitative input)

While some of the evaluators above are involved more than once, there are up to 12 different input opportunities factoring into the roster placement. No individual can significantly affect roster placement.

Roster Placement Principles

  • Every player trying out will be evaluated and considered for placement on the highest team, regardless of prior season team placement or age.
  • If two players are being considered for the last spot on the same team and both have been evaluated and determined to be of equal skill, the second year player will be placed ahead of the younger player.
  • Due to shifting numbers of players in a given age group and the talent level of the incoming, younger age group, a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop down

A Note to Parents

  • Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard and have fun will do more to promote success in hockey and beyond than moving up one team level.
  • Understand that the Roster Placement Process is subjective. Each evaluator values hockey attributes differently. Those involved in the placement process must make difficult decisions at times. The Board has made every effort to create a fair process that relies on volunteers doing their best.
  • Rosters are structured such that there is some room for upward mobility at the beginning of each season. Each time most often needs to add one or two skaters, and there is a process for calling up the best players from the team below. Encourage your player to commit to being the best they can be when that opportunity presents.
  • Newton Youth Hockey is a town hockey program comprised of volunteers. We prioritize players having fun, wanting to return next season, and  improving hockey skills in that order, and that is independent of team placement level.
  • If you have a question about where your child was placed, please contact the Vice President – Travel.

Player Evaluations Update – 2016

In response to member feedback from last season, we’re making a couple changes to the player evaluation process this season. A key theme was to reduce the opportunity for familiarity and / or parental bias when it comes to player evaluations. We’ve taken two steps to address this: multiple coaches’ input on the player evaluations and third party on-ice tryout evaluators instead of NYH coaches.

Coaches’ Player Evaluations

Simply, we’ve added the requirement that the head coach and one or more assistants collaborate on the year-end player evaluations. The intent is to prevent a situation where a single coach-player relationship unfairly affects the evaluation results.

Third Party On-Ice Tryout Evaluators

We are going to employ four Pro Ambitions staff to evaluate the players on-ice. Each age-level head (or proxy) will lead the sessions for their respective age group. Four independent evaluators and one NYH representative will provide the composite evaluation results.

The third party evaluators option is a test run for NYH. It comes at a cost and needs to show commensurate benefit.

The coaches’ evaluations remain the most heavily weighted component of player evaluations. Coaches have been involved with the players for more than five months at the point when feedback is submitted. The isolated skills of tryouts or an exceptionally strong or weak showing during the evaluators’ brief glimpses do not take precedence over a much larger body of work that includes the whole player experience such as coachability, participation, being a good teammate, and other “intangibles”.


Goalies will continue to be evaluated on-ice by the Eklund organization, Mass Crease Goaltending.