Atom Hockey Proposal (2020/2021)


To:          Membership of the SHA

From:      Kelly McClintock, General Manager

Re:         Atom Hockey Proposal (2020/2021)


February 28, 2019

Hockey Canada has mandated that each Branch of Hockey Canada (ie: Saskatchewan Hockey Association) must have a defined Atom Pathway in place for the 2020/21 season.

During the Fall 2018 Zone Meetings the Atom Pathway was discussed and feedback obtained. The following is a proposal that will be presented during the Spring Zone Meetings and from which feedback obtained from MHA’s will be taken to the SHA Board of Directors for further review.

The following is an Outline of the Atom Pathway Proposal for the SHA (Please note that there is reference to Novice for 2020/21 related to Tiering and the carding of teams).

Hockey Canada Mandatory Elements of a Branch Atom Pathway

  1. No tryouts/evaluations during the first week of school in September
  2. Must have a minimum of four skates/practices prior to formal evaluations starting 
  3. Tryouts must be a minimum of three formal sessions – recommend one skill session, one small area game and one formal scrimmage
  4. There must be a development Phase following team selection and prior to the start of the Regular season
  5. Playoffs must be a tournament style versus elimination rounds

Saskatchewan Hockey Association Atom Pathway Elements

Creation of a Development Season

The goal of Hockey Canada is at the younger ages such as IP through to Atom and even Pee Wee is to “front load” the season with practices and “back load” the season with games.  

  1. The creation of a “development” season should not be an issue if there are Regulations that dictate when teams can begin Exhibition Games, Tournament Games and League play.
  2. There must be significant education of coaches and parents as to why these Regulations would be in place and the resources available to coaches to develop practice plans with an emphasis on skill development and specifically skating skills.
  3. Start date for Exhibition Games, Tournaments and League Play is November 15th

Regulation on the Number of Games that an Atom Team Can Play?

  1. Propose a 45-game cap on Exhibition, Tournament and League Games

What type of Discipline Must be Imposed if a Team Exceeds the Game Cap?

  1. Coach Suspension
  2. MHA is Sanctioned – cannot host Tournaments; teams not permitted in Provincial Playoffs

Atom League Playoffs must be conducted in a Tournament Style

  1. Make it a Regulation and can be held over a maximum of two weekends

Use of Full Time Goalies

  1. Yes, full time goalies would be permitted however all kids who wish to play should be encouraged to try goal.

Novice/Atom Tiering/Carding

  1. Geographic Sub-Divisions Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw are all closed from a League perspective. Teams from outside these Sub-Divisions are not allowed to compete within their Leagues.
  2. Geographic Sub-Divisions Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw would be allowed to have three tiers of Hockey within the Novice and Atom age groups.
  3. All other Minor Hockey Associations who choose to tier their Novice and Atom teams would be allowed a maximum of two tiers within the age groups and the following conditions would apply;
  4. Players on the Tier I teams cannot be registered on carded teams.
  5. Players on the Tier I teams must be residents of the sponsoring centre of the team or their residence must be closer to the sponsoring center than any other Novice/Atom team.
  6. There must be a minimum of twelve players on the Tier I team(s).
  7. Evaluations/Tryouts for Tiered Novice/Atom teams will take place no earlier that the 3rd weekend in September.
  8. All Novice/Atom League playoffs will be conducted in a tournament format over two weekends at the end of March.
  9. The following would apply to the carded teams in Novice/Atom annually;
  1. Application for a carded team would be November 15th
  2. Deadline to finalize Registration of a carded team is December 1
  3. There would be four “carded” weekends through the season which would result in no League play scheduled for Novice/Atom throughout the province. The four weekends are;
  • 2nd Weekend of December (for Novice this would require ½ ice tournaments/game play)
  • 3rd weekend January
  • 3rd weekend February
  • 1st weekend April
  1. The maximum number of players that can be registered on a carded team is 19.
  2. There are no affiliations between Novice and Atom carded teams.
  3. All games players play in carded team play will not apply to the maximum game limit established for both age divisions.
  4. There are no exceptions to the carded weekends.

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