There are a lot of options to play youth hockey in the Springfield/Holyoke area.  The season runs from September through March and sign-ups usually occur right after the season is over, however some organizations will take player registrations early in the beginning of a new season.   All of the local hockey organizations run a Learn to Skate program during the Fall/Winter.  It is a fun and in-expensive way to get your child involved and interested in the sport.

Questions you should ask before getting involved with youth hockey
  1. Do we have the time?  
    The youth hockey schedule runs from September through March.   Most teams hold at least two practices during the week and two games on the weekend.    Hockey teams participate in one or more tournaments a season, typically over a holiday weekend.   
     
  2. Do I want to spend the money?  
    There are a lot of costs associated with playing hockey.  The USA hockey registration fee is $48, local organizations’ registration fees run about $75, ice fees vary from organization and team, but on average are about $1000 per season, hockey equipment can get expensive  and hockey tournaments may require an entrance fee and hotel costs.   
     
  3. What League do I want my child to play in?  
    The local hockey league is the Greater Springfield League GSL, but there are teams in the area that play in travel leagues.  These leagues may have teams that participate in a higher skill level of hockey, require weekly travel to Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont,  and cost more than the local hockey organizations.
     
  4. What Organization do I want my child to play in?  
    The hockey organizations in the Springfield/Holyoke area are town or (group of towns) based.   Some considerations are where is the home ice rink, cost, and where do my child’s friends play?
     
  5. What Team do I want my child to play on?   
    Players are placed on a team based on age (birth year) and ability.   Most organizations run Evaluations during the first weeks of the season to determine which team to place players on, typically an A or B team.
Here is some advice from a current Hockey Mom...
  1. Practice putting on your child’s hockey gear and skates at home before you get into the locker room.  As soon as you can, teach your child how to put on his/her own gear.  Plan on tying their skates for a few years, at least until they are 9 years. 
     
  2. Hockey is a really hard game to play.  It takes a few years to learn many of the skills.  Be supportive and motivate your kids and the other kids on the team to work hard and have fun. 
     
  3. Don’t purchase brand new equipment if you don’t need to.  Lots of hockey parents have equipment sitting in their basement.  Ask around to see who has hand-me-downs in good shape or check out the trade-ins at Bertellis in West Springfield.  Make sure your child’s skates fit.  You can have the skates “molded” to your child’s foot for a better fit.
     
  4. Everyone makes a “goal” in a hockey game; the defense player that cleared the puck, the center that battled for the puck in the corner, the forward that made a great cross-ice pass and the final player that put it in the net.  Make sure your family celebrates everyone that made it happen! 
     
  5. A one hour hockey game can be a really emotional experience!  Try to refrain from yelling at the referee, at the players and even at the other team’s parents.  You can yell encouragements and have fun, but know the players probably can’t hear you.
     
  6. All teams offer photo sessions.  Buy the team photo and a photo of your child each year.  It is a wonderful way to record how much your child grows over the years.
     
  7. Hockey practices are never cancelled.  Even if school is cancelled, plan on getting to hockey practice.  Games may be cancelled if the other team has travel concerns, but make sure you check the team’s website.
     
  8. Talk to the team manager before you plan a vacation between the months of September through March.  Most teams participate in hockey tournaments, especially on holiday weekends, and yes there is a Thanksgiving weekend tournament.
     
  9. Learn about the sport.  It is easier and more enjoyable to watch hockey when you know why a player is off-sides or has been given a penalty.
     
  10. Participate in your team’s fundraising events.  It’s a great way to get to know the parents, allows players to spend time together off the ice and helps off-set ice and tournament costs.
     
  11. Communicate with the hockey coach, assistant coaches and team manager.
Age Requirements

The age requirements for each team are as follows

  • Midget 18 (Age 17-18)
  • Midget (Age 15-16)
  • Bantum  (Age 13-14)
  • Pee Wee (Age 11-12)
  • Squirt (Age 9-10)
  • Mite (Age 8 and under)
  • Novice (New Players)
How to register for a Hockey Organization
  1. You can find the registration form on the hockey organization’s web-site.  If you are new to the organization, you will need to include a copy of the skater's birth certificate.   Many of the  organizations  have  “early bird” and sibling registration fees, which are cheaper  than the regular fee.
     
  2. You also need to register your child with USA Hockey at www. usahockey.com and get a  hockey member number .  USA Hockey is the National Governing Body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States.   The registration fee is an annual cost of $48 ($40 is the USA Hockey fee and $8.00 is the MassHockey fee).  If your child is six years of age or younger you still need to register them, but the cost is free.
     
  3. Players and parents may be required to complete additional forms such as a Medical Release Form, a Waiver of Liability form, and a Code of Conduct form.
     
  4. Players must be paid up on all prior years’ fees, from any hockey organization, before they can register.
     
  5. Equipment requirements are; hockey helmet with cage, neck guard, hockey gloves, shoulder and elbow pads, hockey pants, shin guards, athletic supporter/jock with protective cup, mouth-guard  and hockey stick.  Most team jerseys and socks are included in the organization’s registration fee.

Learn to Skate

Area information on learn to skate programs.

Youth Hockey Leagues

Greater Springfield League
www.gslhockey.org

There are 11 youth hockey organizations in the Greater  Springfield League or (GSL).   Three of these teams are Springfield or Holyoke based,  Springfield Capitals, Holy Name and Pioneer Valley (Agawam, Chicopee, Granby, Holyoke, S. Hadley, West Springfield).  

Springfield and Holyoke residents may be able to play for another organization, but may be asked to fill out a non-resident player form.   Contact the organization you want to play for to understand all the rules and requirements.   These organizations include Amherst, Brattleboro, Enfield,  Franklin County,  Ludlow, Nonotuck, Westfield, WTM (East Longmeadow, Hampden, Longmeadow, Wilbraham).

Northeast Hockey League
www.hockeynortheast.com

Springfield has a travel organization that participates in the Northeast Hockey League called the Springfield Rifles.   Skaters must attend try-outs to play for this organization.  There are 10 organizations from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island that participate in this league.   

Youth Hockey Organizations

Holy Name Stars
www.holynamehockey.org

Home Rink: Olympia Ice Center, West Springfield
Cost: Registration fee $75
Contact: Dan Haggarty / 413-267-4835


Springfield Capitals
www.springfieldcapitals.com

Home Rink: Cyr Arena, Forest Park Springfield
Cost: Registration fee $90
Contact: Brian Douville /  413-575-8242


Pioneer Valley Lightning
www.pioneervalleyhockey.org
Home Rink: Fitzpatrick Rink, Holyoke
Cost: Registration fee $75 
Contact: Jim Chouinard

Travel Youth Hockey Organizations

Springfield Rifles
www.rifleshockey.org

Home Rink: Olympia Ice Center, West Springfield 
Cost: "Try-out" fee $75 / $50 for "Mite" Level
Contact: Barbara-Jean DeLoria / 413-427-6547