AHA Guide for Team Managers
Updated as of September 2021
The Andover Hockey Association is an all volunteer organization, and we have found that families get more from the experience when they are actively engaged. Even if you can only commit an hour a week, we encourage you to get involved.
The notes below detail the responsibilities of a Team Manager in the AHA. This position plays a critical role for each team, in two important ways. First, by permitting the Head Coach to spend more of his or her time on practice planning and player development. Second, by ensuring that team administration work is managed quickly and professionally, such that families have a positive overall experience participating in the AHA.
Coaches are encouraged to establish multiple team manager roles if the workload exceeds what any given volunteer can manage himself or herself, or if there are multiple volunteers for the Team Manager role.
Here are the areas on which Managers can support the team:
Complete Valley Hockey League (VHL) Registration: All players, coaches, and Team Managers must be registered with the correct team in the VHL registration system. These registrations build the VHL rosters, which are then used to determine a player’s playoff eligibility, so it is critical that the information be accurate and up to date.
For help with VHL related matters, contact the AHA Valley Hockey League representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time Commitment: One time project that requires 1-1.5 hours of tracking progress and communicating with families.
Order Roster Labels: Each league game requires three roster labels (home team, away team, and league copy) that include the coaches and all of the players' names and jersey numbers. At the start of the season, create your team’s roster labels and print copies as needed for the coaching staff to use on game sheets. The stickers are formatted to print on Avery Labels 5963. Contact email@example.com for a template to which you can add your team's roster and print out in advance of games.
Time Commitment: 30 to 60 minutes to set up the first order, 10 minutes per order if additional orders are needed.
Build Emergency Equipment Kit: One of the most frustrating things for coaches and families is getting to a game only to realize that we have an equipment issue and as a result one of the players won’t be able to play. We can’t have an extra set of everything a player wears, but we can be prepared for some of the most common issues. Prior to the first game you should build a small kit that includes the following, and then bring it to games throughout the season:
- One pair of 96” skate laces and one pair of 108” skate laces.
- A helmet repair kit like this one.
- If the kit you purchase doesn’t have one, you should also have a screwdriver in the game kit.
- A roll of stretch tape like this one.
- A roll of friction stick tape like this one.
- An extra pair of AHA game socks.
- An old pair from a previous season is fine, or you can grab an extra pair when uniforms are distributed.
- An extra AHA game shirt.
- Kids sometimes forget these. Better to have two kids wearing the same number than to have a kid end up sitting out a game. You can use a jersey from a prior season, just make sure it’s big enough to fit the largest player on the team.
- Several extra mouthguards in case a player forgets or loses his or hers.
- For girls teams, extra hair ties/bands.
- If COVID mask protocols are in place, extra masks for players who forget them.
Time Commitment: 1-2 hours at the outset of the season, and a bit more time if anything needs to be replenished.
State Tournament: The Compliance Director will register all teams who are interested in participating in the State Tournament and will automatically register the top three teams in each age group. Please inform the Compliance Director if:
- your team is one of the top 3 in its age group (1, 2, 3), and does not want to participate
- your team is not one of the top 3 teams in its age group, but you do want to participate
Although State Tournament games usually take place in March (a playdown game may be required earlier in the season), your team will need to decide whether they will participate by mid-October, when registrations are due. The team is responsible for the cost of participation and may be required to travel to locations that are farther away than league games. All players and coaches must be in compliance with USA Hockey and Mass Hockey requirements to participate in a State Tournament.
The Team Manager should:
- Decide with the Head Coach whether the team will participate in the State Tournament, and communicate that decision to the Compliance Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 1.
- Coordinate with the Compliance Director to ensure that all players and coaches are in compliance with USA Hockey and Mass Hockey requirements.
Time Commitment: 30-60 minutes of communication and coordination with the head coach and the AHA Compliance Director.
Helmet Nametags: It can take some time for coaches to learn all of the players’ names, and putting the kids’ names on their helmets can speed the process up a lot. At the first team practice write each kid’s first name in marker on some white hockey tape and then put it on the front of his or her helmet.
Time Commitment: 15 minutes at the first practice.
Pre-Game Attendance Tracking: One challenging aspect of coaching is planning line-ups when the roster is uncertain. The Team Manager can support the coach on this side of things by tracking who will be attending each upcoming game, and then reporting the final list to the coach.
The Head Coach and Team Manager should work together to develop a system and timeline for this process. Some coaches want to know the final attendee list the day before the game, while others are fine getting the list a few hours before the game.
Time Commitment: 15-20 minutes per week of communication with families and the coach.
Complete Game Scoresheet: Per the above note on labels, the Team Manager is responsible for filling out the game scoresheet before each game. If we are the first team to arrive the scoresheet can usually be found at the rink office. If we’re the second team to arrive, the opposing team may have it. Once completed, the game sheet should be given to either the referees or the timekeeper.
Time Commitment: almost nil - as long as we have labels this takes just a few seconds at each game.
Collect and File Scoresheets: After the game the timekeeper will provide a copy of the scoresheet to each coach. The Team Manager should collect and hold onto each scoresheet in case there are any disputes about the outcome of a game, the roster, etc. Once the season is over the scoresheets can be thrown away.
Time Commitment: just a few minutes after each game.
Track Game Scores on VHL Website: The VHL is moving to a system whereby team representatives self-report game scores. The Team Manager should report the final score and then confirm that it has been recorded correctly on the team’s VHL website page. (You should list yourself as the primary contact for these post-game score emails.)
Time Commitment: just a few minutes after each game.
Manage Game Cancellations & Associated Communications: It will sometimes be necessary for a team to cancel a scheduled game. Whenever this happens it’s important that a number of steps are completed quickly to avoid frustrations and unnecessary costs.
The two leagues in which AHA teams play have different game cancellation protocols:
- VHL cancellation protocols can be found on the AHA website here.
- MYC cancellation protocols can be found on the AHA website here.
The most important thing is communication - to parents, the opposing team, the league, and the AHA ice director who manages the schedule (email@example.com)! Anyone who has experienced showing up fully dressed to a rink only to find that the game isn’t happening can attest to how frustrating it is. As soon as it’s clear that a game will need to be canceled, work quickly to ensure that all steps are completed.
Time Commitment: this may not happen at all during the season, or it could happen several times. When it does it’s usually about 30-60 minutes to make sure all parties are in the loop and logistics are squared away.
TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Setting Up and Managing Tournament Logistics: One of the most memorable aspects of playing youth hockey is tournaments - they are a lot of fun, and they are great at building team chemistry. They also take a lot of planning, and as such, they are a critical area in which Team Managers can support the Head Coach.
Attending one or more tournaments is optional for each team, and any associated costs are in addition to the AHA membership dues for that player. The Coaches and Team Manager should work together to determine if the team will participate in any tournaments, and if so, which ones. Given the amount of work that can be involved, we suggest that the Team Manager recruit one or more parent volunteers to assist with logistics and planning.
Some high-level steps to take include:
- First, speak with your coaches and parents to determine if there is interest in attending an away tournament. The earlier you start this process, the better, as many popular tournaments fill up quickly. (Of note for the 2020-2021 season - you may want to hold off on committing to an overnight tournament until the direction of the pandemic takes shape.)
- Research available tournaments and decide on a destination. (We do not have a master list of available tournaments, but may work to build one in the next few months.)
- Once you have selected a tournament and registered, if applicable you can work to secure a room block at a local hotel and share important registration information with your families.
- As soon as you know your team is participating in a tournament, in order that your team not be scheduled for a game or practice while you are away, email dates to:
- AHA Ice Director
- AHA Valley Hockey League Rep (if your team plays in the Valley Hockey League) and/or Girls Director (if your team plays in the Middlesex Yankee League.)
- If traveling outside the country, you will need to fill out a Travel Permit (please obtain from Compliance Director)
Time Commitment: this is a time intensive process, and as such is a great project to share across multiple volunteers. Total work involved probably amounts to 20+ hours spread over several months.
Team Social Events: As with tournaments, team social events can be great for building team chemistry, and the Team Manager is responsible for the team social calendar. This can include everything from informal get-togethers for pizza after a game, to organized holiday parties and end-of-year celebrations. Other ideas include outings to local college (Merrimack, UMass Lowell, BC, etc.), minor league or even Bruins games where the kids may have an opportunity to get on the ice either during player introductions or intermission.
The Team Manager and Head Coach should work together to determine an appropriate frequency for these events, and to finalize which events the team will do together.
Time Commitment: this obviously depends on the number of events you choose to set up. Like tournaments, it’s a great place to plug in multiple volunteers. Some events, like simply choosing to meet at a particular restaurant after a game can be very quick, while others may take 3-6 hours of planning.
Team Charity/Service Project: Another team-building activity that is also a great learning experience for the kids is a team charity or service project. This is an optional activity for each team, and can focus on the topic or activity of choice for each team. The coaches and Team Manager should collaborate on an idea, and the Team Manager then owns executing the project with team families.
Time Commitment: difficult to estimate as it’s dependent on what the team selects.
Coaches Gifts: In the past Team Managers usually collect for an end of season coaches' gift. (Hopefully the coaches reciprocate!)
Time Commitment: can range from 1-2 hours to 5+ for more personalized gifts.
Team Manager Compliance Steps
If you are interested in volunteering, the first step for any Team Manager is to complete the required registrations. USA Hockey, the national oversight organization for hockey programs in the United States and provider of AHA’s insurance coverage, requires all coaches and team managers to register and complete several training/compliance steps. Please plan to work through the following by the end of September:
Step 1: Register with USA Hockey as an Ice Manager/Volunteer - You will receive a USA Hockey Number which you will need to register on the AHA website. You can do so here.
Step 2: Register on the AHA website as a Team Manager. Once you are registered for an AHA hockey team, you will have access to your team’s roster and the ability to send team emails through the website. You can do so here.
Step 3: Complete background check. You can do so here.
Step 4: Complete Safesport training. You can do so here.
Thank you again for volunteering your time! Your efforts make AHA a better experience for
everyone - parents, coaches, and kids!