2021 / 2022 Season Info (Athens Youth Hockey Association | Athens Ohio | Bird Arena)

Print2021 / 2022 Season Info
The AYHA is excited for your child to come play hockey as a Bobcat this season!  It is the goal of the Association to offer a broad hockey experience that emphasizes team play, sportsmanship, and skill development in a fun and positive environment.  Additionally, the AYHA offers through its partnership with the Buckeye Travel Hockey League competitive play with other teams with similar skills and abilities, while also providing a high ratio of practices to games to ensure youth players can focus on developing their on-ice skills.  This year's season begins late September 2021 and concludes in March 2022.

Season Planning
2021-season-info-1.jpg2020 was incredibly disruptive for everyone, and youth hockey in Athens was no exception.  Ohio University's decision in late 2020 to close Bird Ice Arena for the entire season left the AYHA without a home rink and cancelled not only all Association hockey practices, but also the University's learn to skate and learn to play hockey programs.  As a result, we have many youth hockey players whose skates did not touch ice for almost 18-months.  Fortunately, Ohio University has reopened Bird Ice Arena for the 2021/2022 season, and the AYHA is started practices for all age divisions, but the Association is required to adhere to the University's mandates, particularly as it applies to COVID (please see the COVID Protocol under POLICIES).  While the University plans on keeping Bird Ice Arena open all season, an unforeseen change in conditions could potentially result in the rink closing again without warning.

With that in mind, it is the mission of the AYHA to have a full 2021 / 2022 hockey season that is as close to normal is possible.  The Association believes that all current youth players and those interested in learning to play should have an opportunity to have hockey this season, and all of the AYHA members, coaches, and volunteers are dedicated to making that opportunity a reality.  Without question, the safety of youth players and their families is of paramount importance, and adhering to Ohio University's requirements while at Bird Ice Arena will help ensure that the rink stays open for practices and games.  As such, Association members, youth players, and their families are responsible for complying with the requirements of the State of Ohio and local health departments, USA Hockey and MidAM Hockey, as well as site-specific facility rules not only at Bird Ice Arena, but at any other venues where youth hockey activities take place.  The AYHA understands that these requirements can vary from community to community and venue to venue, so we please ask for your patience and adherence to them so our youth players can have as positive of a hockey season as possible.

Practice Planning
For youth players, the Association’s emphasis is on player development by maximizing the ratio of practice time to game time to ensure the focus remains on player skill development, with occasional competitive game play (please see Player Development under PARENTS).   For the 2021 / 2022 season, youth players and their parents can expect the following hours of estimated practice time at Bird Ice Arena:

Age Division October   Nov & Dec Jan & Feb Total 
6U/8U 10 16 20 46 hours
10U 11 17 23 51 hours
12U 12 19 23 54 hours
14U 21 27 30 78 hours
High School 17 31 39 87 hours 

Game Planning
Each season, the AYHA strives to provide both travel-based hockey and zero-travel hockey options for its youth players.  However, if there are insufficient players in an age division at the start of a new season to fill both zero-travel and travel-based team rosters, the zero-travel may not be an option.  For the 2021 / 2022 hockey season, the Association is planning to provide the following game-play options:

Zero-Travel Hockey Games
  • For ages 4 through 8, the 6U/8U team will participate in games at Bird Ice Arena as ice is available throughout the 2021 / 2022 season.
  • UPDATE (2021-09-29): There have been an insufficient number of 10U and 12U youth players who have registered for zero-travel hockey for the 2021 / 2022 season.  As a result, this season 10U and 12U will be team-based travel only (see below).
Team-Based Travel Hockey Games 
  • 10U, 12U, and 14U travel teams will participate in the Buckeye Travel Hockey League.
  • The High School travel team will participate in the Ohio Scholastic Hockey League.
  • Games will occur at Bird Ice Arena and other ice rink facilities across Ohio.

Updated 2021-09-29.