U9 2023-2024 Season
Here is some information for U9 players and parents about the upcoming season. Some of this information is based on past years, and as such, is subject to change at any point.
Registration and Evaluations Dates:
Registration has closed as of September 15th. All registration inquiries received after this date will be placed on a waitlist. Any player wishing to play hockey this season should already be registered; otherwise, it could have an impact on Evaluations and your child’s placement on a team.
Evaluations are currently scheduled for October 7 - October 11
It is the responsibility of the parents to check the Bedford Blues website for final notification of when Evaluations will be taking place, and the specific times and groups on the dates: https://bedfordblues.com/l/31/BDMHA/pages/1665/U9-Evaluations/
Pre-Evaluation Ice Times
We have 3 pre-evaluation ice times booked for each player. A final fourth pre-evaluation ice time is a timing session.These times are for sorting purposes only for the Evaluation groups and will not be a part of the player's overall score. More information about your player’s assigned time for each day will be posted online on the Bedford Blues website: https://bedfordblues.com/l/31/BDMHA/pages/1665/U9-Evaluations/
These are in accordance with Hockey Canada guidelines on having all players have some scheduled practices prior to their Evaluation sessions. While not mandatory, we encourage all U9 players to come out and get some practice ice times in during these 3 sessions. Due to the large numbers of players involved, we cannot accommodate requests to change groups for these skates.
What are Evaluations? Are they Try-Outs?
Evaluations are when players are evaluated on their skill and then placed on teams with other players at the same skill level. Evaluations are not try-outs. U9 players are not competing for a specific team; there is no draft nor will they be cut.
What are the different levels in U9? How many teams are there?
There are three levels of U9 Hockey – Developmental, Intermediate and Advancing.
Last year BDMHA had 4 Developmental Teams, 3 Intermediate Teams, and 3 Advancing Teams. This may change from year to year. All of these teams are co-ed.
What skills are being evaluated? How do Evaluations take place?
In the past players were evaluated on their skating, stick handling and playing ability. Evaluations will begin on Saturday October 7th 2023.
A schedule with player groupings will be posted on the Bedford Blues website by Friday October 6th.
On arrival each player will be assigned a specific jersey and will perform approximately 2-4 drills or stations. Each player will perform each drill or station a number of times (approximately 3 times). There will be at least one Evaluator (a person not associated with any U9 player) responsible for evaluating one drill for all groupings to ensure consistency in the evaluation of that drill (last year we were fortunate enough to have 2 Evaluators per drill).
Only players and Evaluators are allowed inside the actual rink while the Evaluations are taking place. Parents, siblings, friends, etc need to remain outside the actual ice area of the rink during the Evaluation sessions.
After these Evaluations, players will be assigned to either Advancing, Intermediate or Developmental – this will be the level they will play at this year.
*The above information is based on past practice and subject to change.
How come my player didn’t make U9 Advancing in first year?
Please remember that players are placed on teams with other players at the same skill level. First year U9 players will be evaluated with second year U9 players. There are close to 200 players at the U9 level – half are returning U9 players and half are moving up from U7.
By the mere fact that half of the U9 players are at least one year older, it usually implies that they are just a little bit stronger, faster and have one more year of experience playing hockey at the U9 level.
Please do not be discouraged if your player is placed in the Developmental Level at any stage. In fact, have a realistic expectation that your player will start at this level and maybe next year move up to the Intermediate or Advancing levels (because they will then be the second year player who is stronger, faster and more experienced).
For reference of the 2018-2019 season, 3 first year U9 players made Advancing teams, and 22 first year U9 players made Intermediate teams out of approximately 100 first year players.
What is included in the registration cost? Do they play “real” games?
Registration includes shared practice times and half-ice games. You can expect to be at the rink up to 3 times a week. The U9 team schedules are not necessarily set on a particular day/time for the year, like U7 generally was. The team practice and game schedules will be changing each week. Some practice times will be as early as 4pm on a weekday and 7am on the weekends, and practice times can rotate each week. The schedule changes and it will not be set far in advance – it’s like that for the rest of hockey.
ALL teams, regardless of level, will only practice up until the end of November with no games. Starting December 1st, all teams will play half ice games for the remainder of the season during their game ice times. Practices will also continue for the remainder of the year during their practice ice times. Games are played usually once per week and scores are not kept.
Are there additional costs?
On the consensus of the team, there are normally additional funds (called seed money) collected to cover the costs of jamborees, additional ice times, team functions etc.
These additional costs could start at $100-$200 per player. Some teams collect this money from parents at the beginning of the season to determine what tournaments to sign up for and how much additional ice times they can purchase. This is in addition to the regular registration fee and is often due early in the season.
What about Goalies?
We need Goalies – especially since we are playing half ice games all season!
BDMHA is a huge supporter in building Goalies. We will provide goalie equipment for the U9 Age players. If your player is interested, please encourage them to give it a try. The role of the Goalie is shared among all of the players on the team at the U9 level.
For those players interested in only playing Goalie, there is a separate stream for Goalie evaluations during the general U9 Evaluations in October. Please indicate on your registration form that your player is interested in being evaluated as a goalie. This is intended for players entering their second year of U9.
What about Female Players in U9?
We encourage female players to register with the Bedford Blues as all of our teams are co-ed. Females that want to play on a co-ed team will register with Bedford Minor Hockey, and those who want to play on an all female team will register with Metro West Force.
Female players must make the decision if they are going to play on a co-ed or all-female team BEFORE Evaluations begin (ie when you register your player).
Second year U9 Players that played on an all-female hockey team in their first year are definitely eligible to play co-ed in their second year if they'd like. All players who register with Bedford Minor Hockey (female and male) will be evaluated together.
Do you need Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Managers?
With approximately 10 different teams – we need 10 Head Coaches and 10 Managers! Each team will also need approximately 4 or 5 Assistant Coaches too!
Please consider taking on the role of Head Coach or Manager. There is no hockey without parents volunteering. BDMHA has a great support system to provide you with assistance and guidance. If you want to learn more, please ask!
There are some courses and background checks that need to be completed, but coaches have until the end of November to get these done. With the exception of the background checks that need to be redone every 3 years, the coaching courses and certifications only need to be completed once.
Any Coach or Manager who started coaching three years ago will need to renew their Criminal Record Check (CRC) with Vulnerable Sector check.
Note: Teams are not created until all Evaluations have taken place. Once Evaluations are completed and players are placed in one of the three levels, then the association looks at who is interested in being a Coach or Manager. If you are interested in coaching more than one team or changing your interest from Assistant Coach to Head Coach, please let the U9 Coordinator or VP U7 and U9 know as soon as possible as it helps with creating teams in a timely fashion.
If you are requesting to be placed on the same team as another player, please note that we can only accept 1 request per player as a consideration. The family of the other player must also send the same request, and these must be received before Evaluations begin.
We can’t guarantee that we can accommodate all requests as we need to balance teams with skill level, number of Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Managers, etc but we will do our best to help when we can if the players are placed at the same level after Evaluations are complete.
At this age the kids want to play the sport and have fun with their friends. We want the U9 level to be a positive experience for you and your player!
For clarification on information in this document please contact Megan Douglas, VP U7 and U9 at m.Douglas@bedfordblues.com
or Kiersten Amos, U9 Coordinator at email@example.com