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 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.
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:
II. Youth Hockey Programs
Montana Amateur Hockey Association
Montana Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) (www.mthockey.com) 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 (email@example.com) 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: https://member.daysmartrecreation.com/#/online/gallatinice/login
What your fees include for travel teams:
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.
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:
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.
USA Hockey age divisions for the 2022-2023 season are as follows:
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
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.
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:
Guidelines for Coaches
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
Additional Elective Leagues:
Summer 4 on 4
Like Hocktober, this is a scramble season that takes place during the Summer and is played 4 on 4.
Please see separate document containing desired ability for a player in each league.
V. General Policies
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.
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).