As many of you know, Massachusetts Hockey’s Rules and Regulations in Article VI on page 60 of our Annual Guide require compliance with USA Hockey’s “American Development Model” (“ADM”). The requirements and recommendations therein deal with Mite hockey. The Board of Directors of Mass Hockey believes strongly in this model developed over many years and after much research by USA Hockey on how best to develop hockey players and athletes. These guidelines will be adjusted slightly for next season (we anticipate a 10-game and one tournament full-ice “exemption” for next season) and any modifications will be published when finalized.
It has come to our attention that some programs and leagues are forming that will disregard ADM requirements for Mite hockey in order to capitalize on possible member/parental disgruntlement with ADM. We consider that unwise and not in the best interests of our members. Mass Hockey will not sanction such play.
USA Hockey, of which Mass Hockey is an Affiliate member, has issued guidelines pursuant to its authority under the Amateur Sports Act (36 U.S.C. s. 220501 et seq.) regarding non-sanctioned play. My purpose in writing to you now is to advise you of these guidelines as they apply in this matter.
Mass Hockey may establish reasonable rules for compliance by its member organizations. Once an organization, team or individual participant becomes a member of Mass Hockey, Mass Hockey may require that the member organization, team or individual comply with all reasonable requirements for membership. Mass Hockey may enforce a rule that prohibits its member teams from participating in games or practices that are not sanctioned by Mass Hockey. Mass Hockey may also enforce a rule that its member organizations must register all of their teams and players with Mass Hockey.
Having said that, Mass Hockey cannot prevent a member organization or member from participating in non-sanctioned events provided certain requirements are met. Teams playing in a non-sanctioned event or game must be part of a separate organization that is sufficiently distinct from the Mass Hockey sanctioned program. The non-sanctioned organization or team(s) should have a separate board of directors, the team cannot wear the same uniforms or have the same team names and all the rink or vendor contracts relating to the non-sanctioned team or activities must be in the name of the separate organization rather than the Mass Hockey member organization or team.
It is important that such distinctions be maintained for liability, governance and public perception reasons. A member of Mass Hockey may not simply send its Mite teams off to participate in unsanctioned play and expect that its other level teams remain members in good standing with Mass Hockey. Parents and individual members should be aware that important questions of insurance, discipline, officiating and the like are affected by not following Mass Hockey’s rules and participating in non-sanctioned play. It is important that you keep this in mind as Mass Hockey will take action against a program/member if it finds it/they are violating our rules and regulations.
A great majority of the hockey community in Massachusetts and around the country has enthusiastically endorsed the ADM. It is the future of development. Mass Hockey has committed to following the ADM. Most of our leagues in the state have committed to offering cross-ice/age-appropriate game solutions that will fit within the rules and regulations and not jeopardize their programs. We hope you will join us in the effort for the long range benefit of our members.