Travel Team Basics

Travel Hockey

Below is a brief summary of the NYH travel program for 2023/24

Teams and Age Groups

NYH offers a travel hockey program for Needham and Dover children. The season typically runs from late August / early September until mid-March/ early April. Teams are aligned by the USA Hockey age groups. The age groups will be as follows:


8U/Girls U8 1/1/15 to 12/31/16

10U/Girls U10 1/1/13 to 12/31/14

12U/Girls U12 1/1/11 to 12/31/12

14U/Girls U14 1/1/09 to 12/31/10

18U  1/1/05 to 12/31/08             

There are multiple levels of teams for each age group distinguished by number (e.g. 12U 1, 12U 2, etc.), with each bracket's "1" team consisting of higher skilled players and each higher numbered team in a given age group consisting of less experienced players. Tryouts are held each spring. Tryout details, principles and information is posted during open registration.

Coaches are chosen after tryouts are completed. We strive to find the best group of coaches for each team, but believe that player placement comes first and then once the teams are defined by the evaluators, we then choose the head coach who then works with the coaching coordinator to choose assistant coaches. There are many experienced and qualified coaches in NYH which allows us the flexibility to choose teams first and then coaches.



Playing travel hockey is a significant financial and time commitment for player and family. Needham Youth Hockey encourages kids to play multiple sports, and we respect that families and players must balance commitments to family, school, and conflicting sports schedules. While we understand there will be scheduling conflicts during the season, we ask that all players and families make an effort to honor the commitment to NYH and regularly attend practices and games. At the beginning of each season, coaches will set out guidelines for the team on communication and expectations on practice and game attendance. 


Ice Touches

NYH sets goals for each level for the number of ice touches during the season. An ice touch is any practice, skills, game, or scrimmage a team plays in. These goal may vary slightly based on actual ice availability and does not include outside tournaments. 


  • Inhouse beginners: 30 touches (10 games and 20 practices)
  • Inhouse other levels: 40 touches (15 games and 25 practices)
  • Mite development: (20 cross-ice games, 20-25 practices, and 8-10 skills sessions)
  • 8U travel: (25 cross-ice games, 30-35 practices and 10-12 skills sessions)
  • 10U to 14U travel (35 games, 45-50 practices, and 10-12 skill sessions)
  • GU8 (25 games, 45-50 practices, and 10-12 skills sessions)
  • GU10 (25 games, 45-50 practices, and 10-12 skills sessions)
  • GU12 (25 games, 45-50 practices, and 10-12 skills sessions)
  • GU14 (25 games, 45-50 parctices, and 10-12 skills sessions)
  • 18U (11 games, 15-20 practices, and 8-10 skills sessions ) 



Practices are primarily half sheet of ice (two teams share the rink) for 50 or 60 minutes. Teams usually have 6 or 7 full sheet practices during the year. There may be times during the season due to ice constraints that NYH will place three teams on the ice to allow teams as many ice touches as possible.


Practices are generally held on weekday evenings or weekend days or evenings at St. Sebastian’s and other rinks where we have secured practice ice. These rinks include Babson Skating Center and St. Sebastian's. Practice times range from 4pm to 9pm during the week and from 7am to 9pm on the weekends. Younger teams will generally receive earlier practices times, and older teams have the later practice times.


NYH supplements practices by also providing skills sessions for players and goalies throughout the season. NYH contracts with an outside company to run our skills program. Skill sessions are run during the fall for each team from Mite/Mite Dev to 18U and GU10 and GU12. We will also provide separate goalie clinics for our full-time goalies.

Leagues and Season Schedules

Travel teams: Mite thru Midget will play in the Valley League.  Season starts in September and runs through mid March with playoffs the last week of March/beginning of April.  Midget season ends in late November.

  • 8U will play 25 cross-ice games
  • 10U to 14U will play 35 games
  • 18U will play 15 games

GU10 and GU12 season runs from September 1 to April 1, and play games in the Middlesex Yankee Conference Girls Hockey League. Girls will play approximately 25 games


Mite Development plays in the Town Line League. The teams will play approximately 20 to 22 cross-ice games. Practices will start in mid-September with league games beginning in early October and running into mid-March.


Girls, 10U and 12U also participate in State “Playdown” Tournament Games, which are preliminary State tournament games. Playdown games are held regionally, with winners in each round advancing to the State tournament typically held in March. Playdown and State tournament games are a single elimination format; teams continue to advance as long as they win. Playdown games are an additional team expense.


In addition to the league game schedule, coaches and teams are encouraged to play in one or two tournaments at an additional cost to the team.


USA Hockey Registration ( addition to NYH Registration )

USA Hockey requires all players and coaches to register directly with USA Hockey. Instructions will be provided on the NYH website to make it easy for players and coaches to register. All players must register with USA Hockey and update their account information on the NYH website or they will not be allowed on the ice at the start of the season in September.

Tryouts and Team Placements

Tryouts and team placements for 18U, 14U, 12U, 10U, 8U and Girls U10 and U12  will be conducted in late February and early March. 

See the Tryout Information Tab 


Numbers of Teams by Level:

Based on the current projections of registration numbers, NYH expects to have the following numbers of teams by level. Any player limits for an age level is listed on the registration page for that age level. Final team size and number of teams will be based on actual registration data and tryout assessments. 

Note: Our traditional approach is to choose teams based on player ability, but we reserve the right to have parity teams if we feel it is in the best interest of the players. This would be an exception and communicated during the tryout process or announced in advance during the registration process.


Plans for 2023/24 (subject to change based on actual registration numbers)

  • 18U (3 teams) – max of 60 players including goalies
  • 14U(3 teams) – max 60 players including goalies
  • 12U (3 teams) – max 60 skaters including goalies
  • 10U (3 teams) - max 60 skaters including goalies
  • 8U (3 teams) - max 40 skaters including goalies


  • Girls teams
  • 1 U12 girls team - approximately 15 to 18 players (includes goalies)
  • 1 U10 girls team - approximately 15 to 18 players (includes goalies)


  • 3 8U Development teams with 12 players each


Game Shirts

During registration, you will be asked to provide the number of the shirt your child has and what number preferences your child wants in the event of a duplication on his/her new team. We will then provide an option to “opt out” of replacing your shirts (assuming they still fit, are in good condition andthere isnt a number conflict). We work with an outside vendor, and after team placements are determined, you will receive instructions on ordering your jerseys, practice jerseys and socks from this vendor. We will also hold a sizing day the first week of May.

It is very important to understand that all of the shirt ordering activities happen in June when rosters are set and numbers assigned. If you “opt out” and then change your mind, it will take several weeks to get replacement shirts for your child and there will be additional charges from the shirt company.


How we assign numbers

Once teams are chosen from tryouts, the selection process for choosing who gets what number is based on the following:

  1. Player returning to same team
  2. Oldest player to youngest player
  3. Rare case of two players with same # and same birthday alphabetical order (A to Z)

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