U13 AA PROGRAM UPDATE
Earlier this year, Hockey Alberta announced changes to the U13 AA that will impact our program. We know that you have questions, and we believe in a high degree of transparency. We are committed to ensuring your interests are represented fairly.
SAMHA (Raiders) and multiple other Northern Alberta associations have advocated for changes to the U13 AA program for over two years. It's been a long process involving discussions with numerous stakeholders, including Hockey Alberta and our hockey community partners.
SAMHA (Raiders) joined in the Hockey Alberta U13 AA Review Committee. We supported a proposal that would introduce tiering to the AA league. We advocated that tiering the league would group players of similar skills and abilities together and allow for an increased degree of balanced competition. It would also support our players' ongoing development in a competitive hockey stream.
Hockey Alberta AA Committee came to a decision that effectively reduces the number of U13 AA teams; they proposed that this change will re-establish a competitive balance within the U13 AA program. In the 2022-2023 season SAMHA will be limited to two U13 AA teams.
We want you to know that SAMHA and the Raiders Hockey Club did not support this change. We believed limiting the volume of competitive stream hockey opportunities would not align with our ongoing commitment to advancing players within the Raiders Hockey Club program.
We met with our regional partners, and we were hopeful that we could work collaboratively with Hockey Alberta to support further changes to the U13 AA program and still incorporate tiering into the U13 AA league as a pilot project. We have consistently aligned with our regional partners and collectively support this initiative. Earlier this month, it became clear that we did not have support from Hockey Alberta to pilot this proposal for the 2022-2023 season.
Fostering player skills development within a structured program, such as the Raiders Hockey Club, will ensure we provide players with every opportunity to excel as they advance in their hockey development.
To ensure the skill distribution on our AA teams is aligned with other teams in the league, we will be drafting two balanced U13 AA teams this season.
If you have any comments or questions about this change, please do not hesitate to contact us.