I hope that everyone is safe and doing well. We received official word about player commitments last night from the Connecticut Hockey Conference (CHC), and I wanted to provide this update as soon as possible so that everyone has the most recent facts.
Effective Thursday, May 14, 2020, CHC Member Associations can process commitments/contracts only for CHC Girls Tier I and II USA Hockey national bound (U14, U16, and U19) teams. This allows programs like the Sharks to move forward with rostering national bound teams for the 2020 – 2021 season without holding tryouts. For the Sharks, this impacts our U14, U16, and U19 Tier II (Black) teams only.
While this approach is not optimal, CHC engaged in significant due diligence, with the main focus on player, coach, and volunteer safety. The most recent guidance from the State of Connecticut did not provide any insight into when rinks will be able to open, which put tryouts on hold for the foreseeable future. Also, Connecticut programs are currently at a disadvantage because organizations in neighboring states can sign national bound players to commitment letters. With the uncertainty, CHC decided that the best course of action was to move forward with the rostering of national bound teams.
What does this mean for your daughter? If you want your daughter to be considered for a Tier I or II U14, U16, or U19 team, it is vital that you register her for Tier I or II "tryouts" on the organization's website. This must be done today since player offer letters will be sent out tomorrow. The Sharks, and other programs, are not collecting any fees for tryout registration. Once your daughter is in the Sharks system, she will be in consideration for a roster spot.
Registering for the Sharks isn't a commitment to play for a Sharks team, and it is okay to register for more than one program. We will, of course, continue to honor our “Once a Shark, Always a Shark” pledge, which means all current Sharks who are registered will be assured of placement on a Tier II or CGHL team offered by the Sharks for the 2020 – 2021 season.
With several outstanding girls’ programs in the state, you should register your player with those organizations based on the best fit, including culture and player development opportunities.
As we head into team selections, I am happy to announce that I will be coaching the U16 and U19 Tier II teams along with Karlyn Donovan, who has coached with the Sharks for four seasons and played collegiate hockey at Colby College. The remainder of the coaching staff will be announced in the coming days.
To make the process as fair as possible, the Sharks have formed age-specific committees that include members of our coaching and hockey operations staff. For current Sharks, we will consult with last year's coaching staff and review player evaluations. For prospective Sharks, we will consult with prep and high school coaches and complete as much due diligence as we can to ensure accurate placement. It is our goal to extend player offers beginning on May 14.
Regarding our Connecticut Girls Hockey (CGHL), house league, and clinic players, we are hopeful that we will have additional guidance from the CHC very soon. We will continue to work closely with the CHC, state agencies, and our rink partners to make fact-based decisions with player and family safety at the core.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding the process in general. Because commitments (written or verbal) are not allowed before May 14, we will not be able to provide any player-specific guidance, but we would be happy to help with any process questions.
These are uncertain times, and it’s essential for the hockey community to work together so that when we emerge from this situation, each player will have a home in a place that allows her to thrive and develop.
President & Director of Hockey Operations