Commencing in September 2011 the Rep and AE
teams from the New Hamburg Hockey Association (NHHA) will be playing in a league
known as Tri-County Minor Hockey League. The Tri-County league encompasses all Ontario
Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) centres in the area generally described as from
the north shore of Lake Ontario in the
south to Orangeville in the north and New Hamburg in the west and Brampton in the
east. Owen Sound will also play at the Peewee,
Bantam and Midget age groups. The league
consists of four divisions for all age groups.
Teams are placed in a division based on the level of competition of the
team. The change in leagues will promote
a more consistent level of competition for the NHHA teams.
Historically, NHHA Rep and AE teams have played in the Grand Valley and Southern County hockey leagues. The NHHA has a deep and rich history with these leagues. Unfortunately, due to things beyond the control of hockey people (changing demographics, economies of scale of agricultural economics, migration to urban centres, etc.) the level of competition in the leagues has become too diverse to provide reasonably consistent competition for hockey games. While NHHA members will miss regular contact with their friends and peers from the former leagues, it is important that the players be provided an opportunity to play in hockey games where there is a consistent level of competition.
With the new league comes changes to day to day activities for the NHHA teams. One of the most noteworthy includes a 28 game league schedule which commences September 24 and runs to January 8.
To mitigate the number of game changes due to tournaments, the league provides for two tournaments only during league play and play-offs. Exemptions include tournaments prior to September 24 and during the Christmas break December 24 to January 1 inclusive.
With the early league start NHHA must move some of its dates forward in order to ensure optimal organization leading into the season. As such, the last day for player registration is July 15, 2011. Players not already registered should go to www.newhamburtghockey.com to register. Players registering after July 15 will incur a $100 late fee and will be put on a waiting list. Those put on the waiting list will be provided an opportunity to play NHHA hockey if there is room for them. The try-out schedule for Rep and AE teams can be found on the same website as the registration information.
Also, since the Tri-County league consists of mostly A and AA centres, the move to Tri-County will also prepare NHHA for re-classification from BB to A. At their 2011 Annual General Meeting the OMHA announced that commencing the 2012-2013 hockey season NHHA will be re-classified as an A centre. To further assist the transition from BB to A NHHA will not be required to enter separate major and minor teams at each age group until the 2013-2014 season.
The NHHA Local League teams will continue to play in the Grand River Local League where they have enjoyed good competition over the years. Of note is the Ontario Hockey Federation announcement that eliminates body checking from house league and rostered select hockey. This rule change is specific to house league hockey and does not affect NHHA local league teams.