GMHA Tryout Policy (Guelph Minor Hockey Association)

PrintGMHA Tryout Policy

Guelph Minor Hockey Association
Rep Tryout Policy
ADP Evaluations Policy

There shall be a tryout fee set annually by the Board of Directors. The mandatory tryout fee is to be paid in full to the Guelph Minor Hockey Association prior to the beginning of the first tryout.

Tryouts are open to all registered Zone Players (AAA), Guelph Residents and qualified Non-Resident Players (NRPs).

Player residency and eligibility rules will apply as set forth by the OMHA guidelines, policies, and rules.

Proof of residency is required before the first tryout. Acceptable forms of proof of residency include a valid driver’s license, property tax assessment, or home utility bill.

NRPs are required to provide an OMHA NRP Passport approved by their home centre.

ADP Evaluations, Select and Rep Tryout Process

For the 2024-2025 season, Guelph Minor Hockey Association (GMHA) Representative Team Tryouts are split between Spring and Fall as follows:

U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16 - April 2024
U18 - August / September 2024


September 2024

Select U10 through U16 - September 2024

 The tryout schedule will be posted to the GMHA website prior to the beginning of tryouts. Players are required to register for tryouts through the GMHA website. For the tryouts to run successfully it is highly recommended that all players are registered one week prior to the start of AAA tryouts.

All tryouts will be held sequentially, beginning with AAA and finishing with B/BB/MD (as applicable). On or before the last date of each level of tryout, the players selected will be offered a letter of commitment.

For AAA teams, Offers of Commitment must be made to any player that the team wishes to protect by the end of Day Four (4), as calculated from the official OMHA start date for AAA tryouts. If a AAA team does not offer a position with the team by the end of Day Four (4), the team can not refuse to issue the player an OHF F1 Waiver if one is requested. The player has the option to continue with the team’s tryouts, and/or request the OHF F1 Waiver.

All AAA-BB/MD teams in the age groups of U10 – U16 will only be given 7 days to complete their tryouts and make Offers of Commitment to their players.

The U8 and U9 age groups (ADP Programs) follow a separate player evaluation and placement process in keeping with the Hockey Canada U9 Player Pathway. The U8/U9 age groups also participate in pre-evaluation "preparation skates" in alignment with Hockey Canada's U9 Player Pathway.

Player Evaluation and Selection

GMHA shall provide tryouts to allow Head Coaches to evaluate and select players.

All players wishing to participate in the Rep Hockey program must try out.

Objectives of Player Evaluation

·         To provide a fair and impartial assessment of a player’s total hockey skills.

·         To ensure that players have a reasonable opportunity of being selected to a team appropriate to their skill level as determined during the on-ice evaluations of the current year.

·         To provide coaches with the opportunity and flexibility to build a team based in part on their coaching philosophy and knowledge of player skills and attitude.

·         To provide uniformity and consistency in the evaluation process such that player and parent expectations are consistent from year to year as players move through the various levels of the association’s program.

·         To form teams to maintain balanced and competitive play where the athletes can develop and participate equitably and have fun playing hockey during the season.

·         To provide feedback in support of player development.


Player declarations are a process by which players may request to be considered for direct placement to a lower-level team without entering at the AAA or AA level and following the typical release process. These are not common requests and are typically reserved for extenuating circumstances.

Declarations must be received by the Head Coach and the Director of Rep Hockey (AA-MD) in writing via email no later than the first tryout for the AA team. At the discretion of the Head Coach, the Head Coach may choose to meet with the player, parents, and Director of Rep Hockey (AA-MD) to discuss the declaration and request that the player try out. Otherwise, the player will be released to the next level. The final decision to approve a declaration shall be made by the Director of Rep Hockey (AA-MD).


Communication with parents and players is a priority throughout the tryout process, and should include:

Initial GMHA Contact – An introductory email sent to all registered players in an age group that confirms their registrations, outlines the general tryout process, and describes what families should expect.

Initial Coach Contact – An email from the Head Coach in advance of their team’s tryouts getting underway. This will include the tryout schedule and structure, the coach’s expectations, and how the coach will communicate throughout the process.

Inability to Try Out

Players unable to try out must present to the Head Coach and Director of Rep Hockey a doctor’s note specifying that the player is physically unable to participate during tryouts. Under these conditions, the player may be evaluated for selection to a team without attending tryouts based on what may already be known about the players’ abilities.

Trying Out for Older Age Groups

The age groups of U9 and below are developmental and use a player evaluation process to organize groups and select teams. Players in these age groups may be placed on a team at an older age group (e.g., U8 playing at U9) in situations where it is deemed that staying at their proper age would be detrimental to their development, or to the development of other players.

In the large majority of cases, players in developmental programs should be participating within their own age group. Players in the age group of U9 and below are subject to the OHF's "Playing Up for Players 8 and Under" policy.

Players in the age groups of U9 and below are not eligible to try out for U10 rep hockey.

Starting with players in the U10 age group, any player wishing to try out for a team in an age group older than his/her own age group is eligible to try out only for the highest-level team in that older age group. If he/she fails to make that team, he/she must return to his/her proper age group. Where a player is seeking to play in a division above his/her age group, the player must be evaluated by independent evaluators and the Director of Rep Hockey (AAA) to be in the top three (3) players for the older team, based on skill and ability (not on player game statistics).

Conflict of Interest

Efforts should be made to ensure that players are evaluated and selected in a fair and objective manner. This includes but is not limited to:
-Ensuring that players are not organized based on levels or teams from previous years.
-Ensuring that there are no Conflicts of Interest on the part of those who are involved in player evaluation and selection.
-Ensuring that no parents from within the age group are participating in the tryout process.
-Working to avoid the perception of Conflict of Interest on the part of anyone involved in player evaluation and selection. This includes sign-in staff, on-ice staff, evaluators, etc.

Independent Evaluators

The Head Coach is required to provide at least one (1) impartial evaluator. That evaluator must attest to having no conflict of interest in the age group of players at which they are evaluating, must be presented to the GMHA Player Development Committee in advance of tryouts, and must be approved by the Committee as an evaluator.

Additional evaluators, to be presented and approved in the same manner, may be provided by the Head Coach and/or GMHA to support the player selection process.

A GMHA Skills Coach will be assigned to each age group to offer additional input, and to support coaches in their player evaluations.

Non-parent Assistant Coaches who do not have a conflict of interest with any player in the tryout process can work in conjunction with the Head Coach during the tryout process.

All of these impartial evaluators will work to support the Head Coach in the selection of players who will be offered positions on the team.

NOTE – An impartial evaluator is defined as an individual (non-parent and not related to a player in the tryout process) who has adequate hockey knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Offers of Positions

Players will be offered positions on the team via an OMHA Offer of Commitment.

A GMHA player that is offered a position on a GMHA Representative Team is required to sign an OMHA Offer of Commitment within 14 days to accept the offer. If the Offer of Commitment is not signed, the Head Coach, at his/her discretion, may release the player from the team and offer the position to another player previously released.

If a player is offered a position with a AA team and refuses that position, the player is released directly to House League and is not eligible to try out for the A or B/BB team at that age level. If a player is offered a position with a B/BB/MD team and refuses that position, that player is not eligible for Select hockey.


In this context, the term "release" refers to the process of players not being offered a roster spot on a particular team and moving down in level from AAA to AA to A to B/BB. All player releases are to be handled via the team page on the GMHA website. Families will receive a login password as well as instructions on how to access the tryout list after each tryout session.

Head Coaches should make themselves available to players after tryouts for anyone to discuss areas of opportunities and any other information on why they were not selected. The 24-hour rule applies. If a meeting between the Head Coach and players/parents is in person, there must always be two (2) Team Officials in the room.

The GMHA has the first right of refusal on players from U9 to U16 who reside in the Guelph Zone for the AAA level, and the Guelph Centre from the AA to B/BB levels. Any Guelph player in these age groups will require a AAA F1 Waiver from GMHA before they are eligible to try out with another AAA team. No AAA F1 Waivers for these age groups will be given prior to tryouts. A player who is provided an Offer of Commitment from a team and does not accept it will not be provided a AAA F1 Waiver.

NOTE – Head Coaches should not recruit players from other associations to play in Guelph where rules prevent them from doing so. If you are contacted by a player or parent about trying out for your team, please refer them to their own association so that they can determine eligibility.

Selection of Bench Staff

The Head Coach shall select his/her bench staff (assistant coaches, trainer, and manager) only after the final roster has been determined.

Code of Conduct

During the tryout process, all players, parents, and Head Coaches are expected to adhere to the OMHA and GMHA Codes of Conduct, as well as the City of Guelph R-Zone Policy.

Any behaviour contrary to the codes will result in immediate expulsion from the tryout process.

GMHA Process for Selection of Non-Guelph Zone Players

Each Head Coach is permitted to roster five (5) non-Guelph Zone players at the AAA level. There is a provision that allows the Head Coach to appeal to the GMHA Board of Directors for permission to roster additional non-Guelph Zone players. For a team to request and receive this permission, there will be several caveats.

Coaches are required to submit a proposal to the Development Committee outlining the specific needs, and providing detailed reasoning as to why the current Guelph Zone players from AA or below do not have the skills required to be rostered to the AAA team.  

1. The Development Committee reviews each coach's request and makes a determination as to whether any additional non-Guelph Zone players may be rostered for that AAA team, and if so, how many. This process will include input and guidance from GMHA's Technical Director as well as Development Skills Coaches with a knowledge of the abilities of the age group.

2. Based on the requests and the advice of the Development Staff, the Development Committee determines the number of additional non-Guelph Zone players to be approved for each team. 

3. Coaches will be provided with clear expectations as to how any additional non-Guelph Zone players are to be used and how they are approved.  The following criteria is provided for all non-Guelph Zone players, including the original 5 permitted:

  • Non-Guelph Zone players must make a demonstrable improvement to the roster compared to the Guelph Zone players available. what is available from within our zone.
  • In the case of players with similar skill sets, GMHA's priority is to promote Guelph Zone players over non-Guelph Zone players. 

4. Once the 5 initial non-Guelph Zone players are selected, the Head Coach must consult with the Development Skills Coach assigned to their team and seek approval prior to signing any additional non-Guelph Zone players. If there are any disagreements between the Head Coach and Development Skills Coach, the issue goes to the Development Committee for resolution. 

5. Non-Guelph Zone players may not be given an Offer of Commitment before the first GMHA tryout. In cases where a non-Guelph Zone player is not able to participate in GMHA tryouts, that player must be formally evaluated, and a summary of the evaluation must be provided to the Development Committee.

GMHA has communicated that prioritizing developing players from the Guelph Zone in the selection process is paramount when the ability level of our players is at the AAA level. However, GMHA will not encourage or promote the promotion of AA or below players who are not at the developmental ability suitable to play AAA hockey solely because they are from the Guelph zone. The priority is for players to participate at the level where they will continue to develop at the appropriate rate, and push for spots when the player is ready, not solely because there are spots available.

F1 Waiver Process for leaving Guelph Minor Hockey 

To be eligible for a “AAA F1 Waiver", a player must register for “AAA” tryouts on or before the first day of tryouts, attend “AAA” tryouts in their appropriate age division, and not have signed or been offered a card to sign (A player who is provided an OMHA Offer of Commitment from a team and does not accept it will not be provided a release for that Category. 10.5.4 - C; GMHA Rules of Operations). All electronic “AAA F1 Waivers" will be emailed to the Parent/Guardian of the player via the OMHA Portal processed by GMHA administrators.

Parents/Guardians are NOT permitted to request a "AAA F1 Waiver" until the Head Coach has released the player and will NOT be granted until confirmation from the Head Coach has been received.

Offers of commitment will be offered to players deemed to have met the required skills and ability to compete at the AAA level with the support of the GMHA Development team. Players deemed to have not met that threshold will be released to the next level, and may request an F1 waiver to tryout in another Centre (or after day 4 of tryouts without an offer of commitment).

Offers of Commitment, and releases are based solely on the merit of the players ability and determined by the Head Coach in conjunction with independent evaluators, and with the support of the GMHA Development team. Any waiver requests that DO NOT fit the above criteria will not be considered unless there is an extraordinary circumstance that would warrant further consideration.

It is the expectation of GMHA that our Representative Coaches select the most competitive team amongst the players available to them at tryouts

To request an F1 Waiver from GMHA, parents will need to complete the Player Movement Request Form, which can be found under the Tryout tab on our website.