The WHA is dedicated to the growth and development of youth hockey. The WHA exists as an educational / recreational organization that provides a progressive pathway for children from ages 4 - 18 how to play the exciting game of ice hockey.

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Winterhurst Hockey Association (WHA)


2019-20 Tryout Information


Thank you for being a part of our tryout process. We look forward to an exciting 2018-19 season!


Mission Statement


“The Winterhurst Hockey Association (WHA, ID# OHH0013) is a volunteer, non-profit organization, under IRC section 501(c)(3), dedicated to the growth and development of youth hockey. WHA exists as an educational / recreational organization that provides a progressive pathway for children ages 4 - 18 on how to play the exciting game of ice hockey. WHA is a member of the Cleveland Suburban Hockey League (CSHL) - which consists of over 25-member organizations - and operates under the auspices of USA Hockey, the national governing organization for amateur hockey in the United States.  WHA has no connection whatsoever - financial, managerial or otherwise to Serpentini Arena at Winterhurst Municipal Ice Rink, the city of Lakewood Ohio, or the Lakewood Board of Education. Winterhurst Ice Rink serves as our "home ice" for practices and home games. WHA functions under a board of trustees elected bi-annually by the members.”


Player Development Director


Tim Okicki will continue to serve as the Player Development Director for the 2019-20 season.  Tim will have an active role in our tryout process this year and will continue to provide on-ice assistance to all WHA coaches and oversee our skill sessions this summer and throughout the regular season. 


2019-20 Tryouts


The WHA Board and coaches recognize that tryouts often cause a great deal of anxiety among players and parents. It is the hope of the Board to allay some of this anxiety by providing the information below. Any player or parent who has further questions should feel free to contact the WHA Board.


The March 2019 Open Tryouts will be for the Squirt, Pee Wee, and Bantam divisions only.  All Mite tryouts will occur in August.  


  • Tryout Fees - A payment of $150 will be collected by WHA prior to a player being allowed to participate in on-ice tryouts.  Once tryouts begin this payment is not refundable.  Please note that $75 of this payment will be applied to a participant’s 2019-20 season registration fees.

  • Tryout Duration - There will be 3 on-ice evaluation sessions for each division this year.  All players should plan to attend all 3 on-ice evaluations. 

  • Tryout Groupings – Tryouts will be conducted separately by age classifications (i.e., squirts, peewees, bantams) and the WHA reserves the right to split the groups up or add additional on-ice sessions for evaluation purposes if necessary.

  • Tryout Jerseys – All skaters should bring both home and away game jerseys to all tryouts.  If you played at another organization, please use your game jerseys.  Your skater will be notified at check-in as to what jersey color to wear for tryouts.

  • Abbreviated Tryouts - At any point during the tryouts players who in the opinion of the evaluators should clearly be placed on either the highest-level team or the lowest level team in a division may be excused from following tryout sessions to maximize the time that evaluators have to observe others.

  • “Playing up” - Any player wanting to play up in the next older division above which their birth year dictates must submit a formal written request to the Winterhurst Hockey Association Board at least one week prior to tryouts. A decision based on feedback from coaches and the WHA Director of Player Development will be made whether to allow the player to tryout for a team in the next older division.  The player will then be evaluated at tryouts by no less than three people, one being the WHA Director of Player Development. The evaluation method will be the same used for all players trying out at the desired level of play. This team of evaluators will determine the appropriate team placement for the player. Please note that being granted permission to tryout for the next older division does not guarantee team placement in that division

  • While tryouts are ongoing, parents shall refrain from speaking about the tryouts to any other member of the evaluation process: coaches, evaluators or coordinators. This will help ensure that the process is run in the most objective manner possible.

  • Any questions or concerns should be directed to a WHA board member.The WHA board shall intermediate any discussion between participants and evaluators related to process, selections, etc.Further, any extraordinary circumstances that require consideration shall be discussed first with the WHA board.


Evaluation Process and Criteria


Tryout sessions have been designed to provide each player the maximal opportunity to exhibit their skills and playing ability.  On any given day players will be evaluated by no less than 3 separate evaluators to assist in the determination of which team they will best fit with based on their individual skills and abilities.  All efforts will be made to incorporate the assessments of a maximum number of evaluators during the tryout process.  In other words, division teams won’t be placed based on the evaluations of only three individuals.  The on-ice evaluations will be conducted by WHA Board selected independent evaluators, coaches, and the WHA Player Development Director, Tim Okicki.


The following is the structure the WHA intends to implement to conduct tryouts.  Adjustments may be necessary and made based on the number of participants on the ice. The WHA reserves the right to adjust or change the plan as needed.


  1. Day 1

    1. Evaluation Focus - Individual Skills; Creativity; Situational Sense

    2. Format

      1. Basic skating skills – 10 mins.

      2. Participants will then be split into three groups which will rotate though three different activities focused on the following.Players will spend approximately 15 minutes in each activity.

        1. Skating Skills with and without puck

        2. Passing and Shooting

        3. Small Area Games


  2. Day 2

    1. Evaluation Focus - Individual Skills; Competitiveness; Situational Sense; Team Play

    2. Participants will be split into three groups which will rotate though three different activities focused on the following.Players will spend approximately 10 minutes in each activity.

      1. Skating and Speed

      2. Stick Handling and Puck Control

      3. Passing and Shooting

    3. 3, 3v3 Cross Ice Games - 30 min


  • Day 3

    1. Evaluation Focus - Competitiveness; Situational Sense; Team Play

    2. Stretch and Skating Warmup – 5 mins.

    3. 3, 1v1 Cross-Ice Games - 10 min

    4. 3, 3v3 Cross-Ice Games - 45 min


Selection and Notification


We will strive to have approximately 15 players (including goaltenders) on each team.


You will be contacted by the Head Coach of the team you have made no later than 72 hours after the last day of your age groups tryout.  You will be asked to confirm your commitment to the team by registering for the season within 48 hours of being offered a team placement.  Once your registration is confirmed your position on the roster will be secured. If you are unable to commit to the registration within the specified timeframe please notify the coach and the WHA Board to discuss, otherwise the roster position will be offered to another player.


Teams will be selected by Coaches in collaboration with the WHA board, other evaluators and the Director of Player Development, Tim Okicki.


Please note that any of the following criteria may be taken into consideration when making roster selections.

  • Tryout Performance and Evaluations

    • Skating Skills

    • Passing Skills

    • Puckhandling Skills

    • Hockey Sense and Team Play

    • Preferred Playing Position

    • Prior Season(s) Playing Level

    • Feedback from Prior Season Coaches

    • Behavioral Concerns and History

    • Attendance History




    • Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard, and have fun, will do more to promote a long-lived “hockey career” than anything else.

    • Understand that the Tryout Process is inherently imperfect and that there is a subjective element to the process and that decisions will include considerations beyond what happens on the ice during tryouts (see list above).

    • Understand evaluators must make tough decisions. The WHA Board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.

    • If you have a question about where YOUR CHILD was placed, you have a right to inquire so please contact the Board of Directors. As needed, the Board of Directors will consult with Tryout Coordinators, Evaluators and the Board. Please do not attempt to contact evaluators or coaches during the tryout process, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.

    • The WHA WILL NOT disclose the evaluations of other tryout participants nor will the WHA Board, coaches or evaluators engage in a discussion or debate as to comparative player placements.



      Program Highlights


    • 30-55 Game Season
    • Adhere to USA Hockey ADM Standards
    • Participate in the CSHL
    • Operate as close as possible to a 2-1 Practice to Game schedule
    • Spring Hockey Program
    • Summer Clinics starting in April with Tim Okicki, Player Development Director – 9 sessions
    • Neil Conway will provide goaltending clinics throughout the season.


    If there are any questions, please feel free to contact a Board Member!