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Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association

Membership Handbook

Updated: 8/25/2022

I. General Overview

Purpose of this Handbook

This handbook provides BAHA members with information regarding the philosophies, policies, rules, and expectations that shape our youth and adult hockey programs. Please review it carefully.

BAHA’s Philosophy

BAHA is committed to providing everyone the opportunity to have fun learning the skills of skating and the game of hockey while affording them the environment to achieve their highest level of play. As a team sport, hockey affirms the importance of commitment, self-discipline, and sportsmanship. For the players who participate in BAHAʼs youth hockey programs, we seek to develop not only hockey skill, but also to instill values that will have a lifelong benefit to them and to society.

BAHA’s Mission Statement

The mission of BAHA is to: Provide facilities and programs for the development of quality, affordable, disciplined, competitive, and recreational hockey.

BAHA’s Goals

  • BAHA members and the greater ice user community enjoy access to quality ice facilities that are:
    • Clean, well maintained, safe, and welcoming
    • Professionally managed
    • Respond to member expectations
    • Foster a legacy for the community
  • BAHA members enjoy a hockey program that provides recreational and competitive opportunities. BAHA’s programs:
    • Are offered at a reasonable cost
    • Respond to member expectations
    • Encourage “hockey for life”
    • Promote the furthest advancement possible
    • Emphasize fun, citizenship, and sportsmanship
    • Understand the difference between a desire to win and winning at all costs

History of BAHA

BAHA was formed in the mid-1980s by a handful of die-hard Bozeman hockey enthusiasts. Today BAHA consists of over 1300 youth and adult members. The success of BAHA is a tribute to the countless volunteer hours devoted to developing a program that currently provides hockey for over 400 youth players and 900 adults from June to late April. We are very grateful for the contributions of those who paved the way before us.

Facility: Bottcher & Ressler Ice Arenas

BAHA employs staff who are paid to resurface the ice and help clean and maintain the facility. However, we all must share the rink, and no one likes a dirty locker room—please make an effort! Throw your trash and tape balls in the can and recycle when possible. Clean up after your team if necessary. Fees will increase if additional paid labor is required to clean and repair the facility. Please respect the facility as if it were your home and treat it as such.

Please abide by all rink rules, including, but not limited to:

  • No outside alcohol
  • No Dogs
  • No Tobacco
  • Stay off the ice until Zam doors are closed
  • Helmets required when sticks and pucks are on the ice

II. Youth Hockey Programs

Montana Amateur Hockey Association

Montana Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) ( is the governing body of amateur youth hockey in the state of Montana which organizes and runs the Treasure State League (TSL).

Hockey equipment rental program

BAHA provides an equipment rental program. The program is designed to encourage participation in hockey by providing high-quality and conveniently packaged gear including everything.

BAHA has rental equipment that will be available to our Mite, Termite, and Mountain League families on a first-come first-serve basis. BAHA charges a $100 rental fee for the season. We ask that this gear be returned clean.

Please contact Sam Coulter ( for details.

Season Fees – Please check online for Current Fee Structure and Payment Plans

New this year, BAHA has migrated their registration to DaySmart Recreation which can be found at:

Adult Programs

Youth Programs

Youth Program Prices

What your fees include for travel teams:

  • Two practices per week for the regular season (September to early-March) and one practice per week during the Summer.
  • Try-outs will be held in April for the following season.
  • PeeWees and older will receive one dryland practice per week.
  • Each team receives a 16-20 game schedule through the Montana Amateur Hockey Association and play in the Treasure State League (TSL).
  • BAHA will cover the costs of all league games (Travel expenses not included).
  • BAHA will cover the costs of teams participating in the TSL state tournament.
  • BAHA will cover the entry fee for 2 tournaments per team.
  • Stipend for non-parent coaches.

Travel expenses for non-parent coaches

Non-parent coaches are a valuable asset. When traveling to overnight games, each team is responsible for covering the lodging, meal, and travel expenses for up to two non-parent coaches. This is not included in the season fees.

Youth Scholarships

Scholarship applications are available through the DaySmart Registration approximately two weeks prior to the start of registration.

Role of the Hockey Director(s)

The Hockey Director(s) have a strong coaching background, hockey knowledge, and commitment to the sport. They hold a current USA Hockey CEP level certification (or Canadian equivalent) appropriate to the highest-level program that BAHA offers.

The Hockey Director(s) must be comfortable teaching coaches, players, and parents as well as board members. Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing the selection, evaluation, and certifications of BAHA coaches.
  • Taking responsibility for BAHA team tryouts and other activities identified by the BAHA board.
  • Helping coaches organize and implement practice plans.
  • Designing and implementing special skill development programs and camps.
  • Attending board meetings and helping form hockey goals and objectives for BAHA.
  • Representing BAHA to MAHA.
  • Holding coaches and parent meetings each fall.

Role of the Registrar

The BAHA Registrar is responsible for player registration and compiling team rosters. The Registrar works with MAHA to ensure all BAHA teams are properly certified within the deadlines established by MAHA and USA Hockey. The BAHA Registrar maintains current membership lists for BAHA.

Role of Team Managers

The Team Manager plays a vital role in the success of individual teams and the club itself. A complete description and list of duties can be found in the Team Manager Handbook.

Age Divisions

USA Hockey age divisions for the 2022-2023 season are as follows:

Age classifications

Division of Teams

USAH recommends the division of teams by ability and in general this is the approach that BAHA takes. However, given the variability of Montana youth hockey, there may be years when BAHA creates teams of equal ability. The decision on which approach to take will be made each season by the Hockey Director(s). This decision may vary annually, depending on the individual players at each age group and number and quality of the teams fielded by the other Montana hockey associations. Because of the many variables involved, BAHA extends the Hockey Director(s) maximum flexibility in making this decision.

8U & 6U Mites & Termites House League

BAHAʼs 8U and 6U programs conform to the guidance provided by USAH. Players play 3 vs. 3 or 4 vs. 4, in a cross-ice or half ice setting with lighter weight (Blue) pucks. Smaller nets are used, and games are played either with or without goalies. Use of small areas causes players to become more involved with the game. Touches on the puck increase greatly, building skills and confidence while also reducing frustration felt on a full ice surface. Our 8U/6U programs emphasize fun and ice time over competitive games and BAHA discourages travel. However, if there is sufficient interest, travel to tournaments may be arranged and is open to all interested.

Equipment & Uniforms

Players are required to wear full gear at practices and games, including helmet, elbow pads, shoulder pads, shin guards, breezers (pants), protective cup, mouth guard, gloves, skates, and a stick. Rollerblading/skateboarding gear is not acceptable. Helmets must have chinstraps and should fit snuggly but not be so tight as to cause headaches. Adjustments are easy to make, and the fit should be checked at the beginning of the season and periodically as kids’ heads grow. A full line of hockey equipment is available locally at Play it Again Sports and Top Shelf Hockey.

BAHA travel teams wear light colored jerseys and socks at home and dark colored jerseys and socks on the road. These are for games only. We prefer the use of black helmets. Names on the jerseys are decided on a team-by-team basis, but should be uniform, i.e., the entire team must have names and their format should match.

III. Youth Policies

Team Fundraising

Teams can fundraise up to $2,000 for the season. If extra money is raised, the team will have the option to donate the additional proceeds to: Gallatin Ice Foundation, youth scholarships, or the Gloves off Gala. Fundraising can be used for: team party, team meal, and bus trips. Any other reasons must be approved by the Hockey Director(s).


Injured Player Policy

Any player injured while playing hockey for BAHA, in either a game or a practice is entitled to a refund that will be prorated for the missed time extending beyond 4 weeks. A doctor’s certification is required for a player to return to play. The Board will exercise reasonable judgment regarding refunds for injuries that occur outside of hockey.

Disciplinary Policies

Drugs & Alcohol

BAHA recognizes the illegal use of alcohol and drugs as a significant health problem for many adolescents. BAHA supports the efforts of Bozeman High School, Gallatin High School, and the Montana State High School Association whose policies prohibit any use and/or possession of tobacco, alcohol, or other mood-altering drugs. During the BAHA season, regardless of the quantity, a player shall not:

  • Consume an alcohol beverage
  • Use tobacco
  • Use or consume, have in possession, buy, sell, or give away, any controlled substance (We exclude drugs prescribed by a medical doctor for a player’s own use.)

Guidelines for Coaches

  • BAHA gives wide latitude to our coaches to administer discipline as they see fit, provided their actions comply with all relevant material in the current BAHA Membership Guide and do not violate standards of reasonableness. At a minimum, as part of their pre-season parents meeting, BAHA coaches will explain to parents and players how they plan to deal with discipline problems during the forthcoming season. The pre-season meeting will serve as the warning for all such offenses.



Coaches are leaders and role models for young people. Their behavior, both on and off the ice, should always reflect positively on the organization. We seek coaches who:

  • Follow the directions and policies developed by the Hockey Director(s)
  • Develop a good rapport with the parent(s) of their players, officials, and fellow coaches
  • Clearly state their goals for the season and inform players and parents of their goals and expectations
  • Display and convey enthusiasm and a love for the game
  • Maintain an up to-date knowledge of the skills and tactics that they propose to teach
  • Understand the difference between a desire to win and winning at all costs
  • Emphasize the development of all players, rather than a select few
  • Acquire and maintain the necessary USA Hockey coaching certifications
  • Are thoroughly familiar with the rules and regulations of the game as prescribed by USA Hockey
  • Attend coaching meetings as required by the Hockey Director(s)
  • Abide by BAHAʼs Alcohol & Drug Policy

Coaches should clearly communicate to the players and parents the goals of the team and the expectations for each player. These goals and expectations should reflect the level being played and should include playing time, positions played, attendance, and other policies or rules that apply.

Screening Policy

Coaches will be provided with a copy of the handbook. They are expected to support and abide by all BAHA policies and directions set forth by the Hockey Director(s). Further, all BAHA coaches are subject to a background check every two years and a SafeSport refresher course every year, as required by MAHA and USA Hockey.

Parent Code of Conduct

As parents or guardians, we must be positive in our attitudes toward the game of hockey and emphasize the cooperative nature of the game. Negative and rowdy behavior in the hockey arena reflects poorly on the entire organization. We must foster beneficial relationships between our young players, the League, and our competitors. Children are great imitators - as parents, we must set positive examples for them.

Parents' role should be supportive. Parents are welcome at practices, but it is not conducive to a player’s development to undermine the coaching instructions. USA Hockey mandates that only rostered players and coaches are allowed on the benches during practice and games. If you have concerns about your player’s participation in any capacity, talk to the coaches only after observing the 24-hour rule.

Player Code of Conduct

Each BAHA player will strive to observe the following:

  • Conduct: It is required that a player will conduct themselves in a purposeful & positive manner whenever and wherever they are engaged in a player capacity. Players will always be held accountable for their actions.
  • Attendance: Reliable attendance is essential to personal skill development and development of team continuity.
  • Punctuality: Ice time is valuable and must not be wasted. All participants should arrive at games and practices in sufficient time to allow for suiting up and necessary pre-game/practice instruction and/or warm-up. Unless your coach has told you differently, it is recommended that you be ready to "take the ice" at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • Foul Language: Foul language and direct insubordination are unacceptable behaviors.
  • Fighting: Disciplinary action, consistent with the procedures and polices described above, will be brought against any BAHA player who starts a fight, engages in a fight, or deliberately attempts to injure another player during a practice or game.
  • Stealing: Any player found guilty of stealing shall be dismissed from the program.

Play Time

BAHA believes in a policy of “equal play for equal effort.” Our coaches are instructed to follow this policy.

Equal play for equal effort means that over the course of a season all players who are giving equal effort on the ice at practice/games, have good attendance at team events, display a good attitude both on the bench and in the locker room, and conduct themselves as good citizens should play approximately an equal amount of time.

However, if a player is not giving good effort, is causing disruption to their team on or off the ice, not listening to the coach, missing team events, taking bad penalties, playing selfish hockey, not following team rules, etc., they may be subject to discipline which can include “sitting” the player. It is expected that any discipline will be applied in a consistent manner to all players on the team.

BAHA believes that all players on every team be given the opportunity to experience and develop in all facets of the game. This includes “Special Teams Play,” i.e., power play and penalty kill in game situations. It is BAHA policy that coaches work with ALL players to develop their skills for these situations and give ALL players opportunities to demonstrate their ability to perform on special teams. Exception to this policy must be rare and exercised with good judgment, balancing the priority of developing players with winning closely contested games. If “shortening” of the bench is to happen, it should be agreed upon by the entire team and is not recommended until Bantams.

Roster Changes

BAHA prefers that all players play at their appropriate age levels as established by USA Hockey. Departure from this policy is rare. Decision to place players with a higher age group will be made at the sole discretion of the Hockey Director(s). A player seeking to move up an age level for developmental reasons must be evaluated as being in the top 10 percent of the upper group he/she seeks to join.

A player granted a move-up is allowed to try out and play on the highest-level team he/she can achieve; however, a player may not revert to their old level after a requested move up is granted. All players will tryout with their appropriate age group. If a family does not want their child playing in a particular age group, e.g., they want their 12-year-old to play Bantams instead of Peewees, the parents should contact the Hockey Director(s) prior to Evaluations.

Conditions for Roster Change:

  • Players MUST still tryout with their appropriate age group
  • An invitation to tryout with the requested level should not be considered placement at that level
  • The parents and/or player may request an explanation of the placement decision, which the Hockey Director(s) will be happy to provide

Rostering with Another Team

Granting permission to play with an additional team outside of BAHA is made at the sole discretion of the individual team coach and the BAHA Hockey Director(s). They will consider the effect on other players, on the team, team chemistry, and any other criterion they feel is relevant to the specific situation. Players seeking such accommodation must make arrangements with their team coach and the BAHA Hockey Director(s). This arrangement should be made well in advance of league play and be made clear to all other team members. There will be no last-minute decisions allowed.

The Evaluation Process

General Information

  • The purpose of the player evaluation process is to place each player on a team commensurate with their skills and to keep the selection process fair, standardized and as impartial as possible.
  • The Hockey Director(s) will determine the number of teams and their classifications (e.g., A or B) following the annual registration and with guidance from MAHA.
  • Tryouts, ideally, will be over the course of one week, allowing for two possible sessions. Each player needs to attend as many sessions as possible to receive the most accurate evaluation possible.
  • Jerseys will be provided by BAHA during Tryouts and must be returned.
  • During the tryout process, it is essential that there be no unnecessary contact or communication between parents and the evaluators, on-ice volunteers, and coaches. Any attempt at “lobbying” will be reported to the Board of Directors for appropriate action.
  • Players will only be allowed to tryout if they have paid in full their registration fees, tryout fees (if applicable), and any prior year’s outstanding dues.


The Hockey Director(s) will use evaluators for all evaluation sessions. All players (skaters & goalies) will receive scores from each evaluator. The outside evaluators and Hockey Director(s) will evaluate the players individually (not as a group).

Metrics for Evaluation

BAHA uses this general formula in the evaluation of players:

1/3 – Evaluation at the tryout

1/3 – Previous coach’s input (if applicable)

1/3 – Current coach’s input

After each ice session, the evaluators will meet briefly. After the final try-out, the evaluators will meet with the Hockey Director(s) to place players on a team. Previous and current coaches’ comments will be requested, and rosters are flexible until the Christmas break. All rosters will be finalized and approved by USA Hockey on December 31st.

Dispute Resolution Policy

Problems or concerns regarding the coaching of a team, such as playing time, positions, practices, etc., should be taken first to the Team Coach and then to the Hockey Director(s). Problems or concerns that cannot be resolved by the above or entail broader issues should be directed to the BAHA Committee. Those wishing to bring a complaint to the BAHA Committee will contact the BAHA Youth Commissioner.

IV. Adult Programs & Policies

Seasons and Leagues


Hocktober is a Fall scramble season that takes place from the beginning of September to the end of October. Leagues are combined and teams are chosen by a selection committee. The upper league is Alpha and Bravo players, while the lower league is Delta and Echo players. Members of the Charlie and/or VHW league are allowed to choose which league they would like to play in. This is more laid back than the regular season and is great for players to meet new people and/or figure out which league is best for them based on their ability.

Regular Season

The regular season for Haynes Hockey League (HHL) runs from the end of October until the middle of April. Players may join a team in their respective league with approval by the team captain or enter the draft for their league.


  • Alpha League (Players ranked 5)
  • Bravo League (Players ranked 4)
  • Charlie League (Players ranked 3)
  • Delta League (Players ranked 2)
  • Echo League (Players ranked 1)
  • Greenhorn League (Practices only in the Fall Session)
  • Veterans of Hockey Wars (VHW) (Over 40) League

Additional Elective Leagues:

  • Legacy (Over 50) League
  • Weasel (Women only) League

Summer 4 on 4

Like Hocktober, this is a scramble season that takes place during the Summer and is played 4 on 4.

League Descriptions

Please see separate document containing desired ability for a player in each league.

V. General Policies

Alcohol Policy

There is absolutely no outside alcohol allowed within the facility. Any alcohol purchased inside the rink must be consumed while still on the premises. There is no alcohol allowed at any youth event. No alcohol is allowed on the benches, penalty boxes, or the scorekeepers box.

  • Disciplinary Committee
  • If the comments, actions and/or behavior of any player, parent, coach, consultant, employee, or board member constitute a violation of BAHA policies as described in the Membership Guide or otherwise adversely affects the operation or standing of BAHA, they shall be required to appear before the BAHA Disciplinary Committee. The BAHA Disciplinary Committee shall consist of the BAHA Hockey Director, Assistant Hockey Director, and Adult Commissioner.

Based on the facts and circumstances evidenced during the meeting, the Disciplinary Committee will evaluate incidents on a case-by-case basis and can impose ANY sanctions it deems appropriate (e.g., probation, suspension from games/practices, exclusion from other activities or expulsion from the organization).

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