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New Member Information

New to Hockey? No problem.
 


WHERE DO I BEGIN?

If your family is new to hockey, you are most likely starting at the 8U, Mite, or Mini-Mite level.  These levels are for kids ages 8 and younger.  Further information regarding age groupings can be found on the USA Hockey Website

The primary objective at the 8U, Mite, and Mini-Mite level is to have a lot fun while developing basic hockey skills.


What age can kids start playing?

Players that are four years of age as of July 1 are eligible for the 8U, Mite, and Mini Mite program.


What is the difference between Mini Mites, Mite, and 8U hockey?

The basic difference is the age and skill of each level (general guidelines):

  • Mini Mite:  New skater with basic to no hockey experience.  A Mini Mite is still working on basic skating and stick handling skills.  Mini Mites are broken up into 2 groups by ability once practices start, although some practices may be merged.  (Ages 4-6 approx.)
  • Mite:   Older, more experienced hockey player.  The Mite has a solid grasp of skating skills and individual puck skills and is able to begin focusing on team skills.  (ages 6-8 approx.)
  • U8:  Beginner and experienced girls aged under 8 by USA Hockey specifications.  Once practices start, 8U girls are split by abilities to provide proper management of the various skill levels.

Is my child ready for hockey?

This is a common question.  All new BAHA players will participate in a Learn To Skate program.  The foundation of hockey is skating and having this ability ahead of time if possible will make skill development go even faster!  Not everyone is able to skate before joining BAHA, and that's OK!  The Learn To Skate Program will give them the basic tools needed to get them on their way.  Vacationland Figure Skating Club (VFSC) also offers a Learn To Skate Program prior to the BAHA regular season (for a fee) for those that would like a jump start ahead of the BAHA season.  This isn't geared towards figure skaters or hockey players, but is a great way to learn how to skate.  VFSC will actually be running the BAHA Learn To Skate Program at the beginning of the hockey season too! 


My child is not a very good skater, can he/she still play hockey?

Definitely!!  This is a development program serving kids of various ages and abilities. Starting in the 2018-2019 season all new players will attend the FREE BAHA Learn To Skate program at the beginning of the regular season!


Do boys and girls play on the same teams?

Yes and No....Boys and girls can play together if by choice/convenience; however, BAHA offers a robust girls' program that includes  8U, 10U, and 12U levels just for female  skaters.   


When does the season start?

The hockey season will start later October, typically after the MEA school break.  Specific start dates will be available well in advance before the season starts.


How long is the hockey season?

The season will run from late October until late February or early March.


My child would like to try to play hockey, but we are concerned about the cost.  Are there any options for financial assistance?
 

Thanks to the generosity of the Brainerd/Baxter CUB Foods, all first year hockey players are FREE!  
BAHA also offers financial assistance to families in need.  An application can be filled out for such assistance.  Information can be found on the website under Member Info / Forms, Policies, Docs.


When will I hear from someone about the start of the season after I register?

BAHA will send out emails with all the information needed before the start of the season.  We will also be having parent meetings prior to the season to help get everyone up to speed and answer any questions you may have.


How do I receive communications from the coach or BAHA?

You will receive communications via email.  Please be sure to provide accurate information during registration to get appropriate information in a timely manner.  The primary email address provided at registration will be used for initial contact.  We will also try to utilize the Sports Engine App along the way if we feel it is a good communication option as well.


What do I need to do to register?

Visit the Regular Season Registration under Member Info on the website for complete information.   Once registration is open, a link will be provided on the main page.  


What should I do if I want to coach?
  • Under Member Info/Coaches you will find all of the steps necessary to become a coach. 
  • BAHA relies on volunteer coaches and we appreciate your willingness to help out!
  • You may email Jim Brau to express your interest.

What should I do if I have more questions?

Please direct any further questions to Jim Brau BAHA Association Director 218-851-2244 or:  jim.brau@brainerdhockey.com


OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Where will my player skate?

Practices are held at the Essentia Health Sports Center, 502 Jackson Street in Brainerd.   There are two sheets of ice in the arena, Civic Center side and Gold Medal side.


When will my player skate?

BAHA works to establish a consistent schedule but it generally isn't possible to keep the same times from week to week.  Each team will receive at least 2 practices per week.  The schedule is put together several weeks in advance but changes are still possible as upper-level games and tournaments are scheduled.  Families must stay current with the moving schedule by utilizing the Sports Engine  online schedule, which is located on the website calendar.

Practices are typically 45 minutes in length for Mini-Mites and 8U & Mites practices will last 1 hour.  Ice time is expensive, so players must be ready to go on the ice at the designated start time.  It is usually best to be at the rink roughly 30 minutes before your stated ice time in order to be ready on time.  Locker rooms will be assigned to the players to get ready in...some players prefer to get ready at home and then just put on their skates at the rink.  This is very common.

Do I have to be at every practice/game?

No.  While it is beneficial and recommended to attend every possible training and practice session, it is not mandatory and will not impact playing time.  Opportunities to become a better hockey player are limited, so we recommend taking advantage of the ice times available. 


Where do I buy hockey equipment and how do I know how it should fit?

Skates, shin pads, protective/pelvic cup, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, breezers, mouth guard, HECC certified helmet with full face shield, socks and hockey stick are all required for every level of hockey.  Area hockey equipment stores such as HOCKEY HOUSE, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Dunham's can help you determine the correct size equipment for your player.  As a general rule of thumb, all equipment should fit comfortably without being too big. Do not buy skates that are too big with plans to grow in to them. Trying to skate with skates that are too big is similar with trying to sprint in shoes that are too big. It is very difficult.   

Once teams are assigned, your player will receive a team jersey that is used for practice and/or games.


Isn’t hockey equipment really expensive? Are there cheaper options?

Hockey equipment can be costly, but new skaters do not need top of the line equipment. It is important to have a good quality helmet and properly fitting pair of skates. The most important component of the remaining equipment is proper fit.  Some sporting goods stores have used equipment for sale at reasonable prices.  At this age, kids typically grow out of equipment long before they wear it out.  Hockey gear is available for rent through BAHA for a $20 fee and a $50 damage deposit.  Whatever is rented must be returned at the end of the season.


What does it cost to play hockey?

New Players are FREE thanks to Brainerd/Baxter CUB Foods!  For returning mini-mite, mite and 8U players the registration fee is only $150.  Depending on your players age, you may also have to pay USA Hockey a membership fee of $50.  This fee is not to BAHA and is paid directly to USA Hockey.


Will I have to fundraise or volunteer?

Yes.  Unfortunately, hockey can be a little spendy, and ice rental costs BAHA around $180,000/year so fundraising is required.  BAHA members currently sell pizzas and raffle tickets.  Volunteering for various things such as the concession stand are also a requirement.  It all sounds very complex, but it really is not hard at all and is a great way to meet other BAHA families!


Excellent Videos and tips/guides below!


Follow the Link below for the Parent Handbook from USA Hockey, loaded with great information!

Hockey Parent Handbook

Loaded with great info. USA Hockey puts a lot of resources into research and developing the young athlete. This handbook shows why USA Hockey is the best hockey organization in the World!