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Minnesota Hockey announces new 13U/16U pilot program

By Minnesota Hockey , 07/19/22, 1:15PM CDT

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New exceptions designed to provide age-appropriate pathway.

St. Paul, MN – July 19, 2022 – Minnesota Hockey announced today a two-year pilot program designed to provide an age-appropriate development path for girls’ hockey players in Minnesota. The pilot program, which was approved by the Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors at its summer meeting, will provide special exceptions to 13-year-olds and 16-year-olds to play at the 12 & Under and 15 & Under classifications, respectively, in situations in which their association isn’t able to offer a team at the appropriate age level.

The pilot program was developed following a series of surveys and in-depth discussions involving association leaders and high school coaches across the state evaluating the current program pathways for girls ages 13 and over in Minnesota. With the goal of ensuring all girls in Minnesota have an age-appropriate development opportunity, the Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors and its appointed committee of key girls’ hockey stakeholders determined this pilot program would provide an immediate solution while also ensuring continued conversation and evaluation in the future.

“This pilot program will ensure age-appropriate development and continued participation of 13- and 16-year-old female players,” said Minnesota Hockey President, Steve Oleheiser. “We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our players and believe this program will enhance both of those for girls across the state.”

For the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, the following rules will be in effect.

Any 13-year-old girls (June 1, 2008-May 31, 2009 for 2022-23) whose association does not offer a 15 & Under team would be eligible for a play-down exception with these requirements:

  • All teams with 13-year-olds must participate at the 12U A level. Note: Associations may petition for an exception to this rule, which would be determined by a three-person committee consisting of the appropriate District Director, the VP Gold Region and VP Maroon Region.
  • All teams must adhere to the Minnesota Hockey rule of 2/3 of players on the team being from the designated age classification. No more than 1/3 of players on a team may be play-ups or play-downs.
  • Every player must complete the USA Hockey play-down request form and receive an approval letter.

 

Any 16-year-old girls (June 1, 2005-May 31, 2006 for 2022-23) whose association does not offer a 19 & Under team would be eligible for a play-down exception with these requirements:

  • All teams with 16-year-olds must participate at the 15U A level. Note: Associations may petition for an exception to this rule, which would be determined by a three-person committee consisting of the appropriate District Director, the VP Gold Region and VP Maroon Region.
  • All teams must adhere to the Minnesota Hockey rule of 2/3 of players on the team being from the designated age classification. No more than 1/3 of players on a team may be play-ups or play-downs.
  • Every player must complete the USA Hockey play down request form and receive an approval letter.

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