WIHA 2023 Year Announcement
Happy New Bedard Year! With summer in full swing in Aotearoa, it’s been such a joy to soak up the sun as Connor Bedard put on one of the most complete performances at the IIHF World Junior Championship that we’ve seen in quite some time. Closer to home, while summer scrimmages continue, we’re also starting to look ahead to our 2023 season. We have got big plans for the year, between hiring a General Manager and launching our U12 Super League, as well as moving to a single longer season for our Adult League.
Another focus for the year is creating more opportunities for members to help shape our community. As was demonstrated all year long in 2022 by the numerous volunteers, and the 26 members who came out to the AGM in November, we know we’ve got a lot of folks who are keen to help grow hockey in Wellington. Our hope is that by having a full time General Manager, it will be easier to provide coordination, consistency, and support for members who want to help out. There is far more work to be done than can be achieved by one person, but if we all come together to support them, we can create a cohesive and thriving hockey community in 2023! As always there is a lot to cover in this update:
Adult League Registration
2023 Board Members
Adult League Registration
Registration is now open for the 2023 Adult League! Based on feedback from players last season, this year there will be one longer season which spans the year rather than two shorter seasons as has been done previously. The season will run from March 26th to October 8th and consist of three grades. All grades are non-checking and are mainly distinguished by the speed of the game. Teams play one game per week. When registering, please select which grade(s) you'd be comfortable playing to help league commissioners and team managers to create the teams.
Grade 3 (Tuesday 19:15 & 20:25 )
A 4v4 distinctly social grade for those who are learning to play and/or enjoy a slower paced game. All abilities are welcome but more skilled players are teachers and cheerleaders for players on BOTH teams, and not squaring off with opposing teams' skilled players. Season starts March 28th and runs until October 3rd with a mid-season break July 4th - 11th.
Grade 2 (Thursday 19:15 & 20:25)
A 4v4 grade for players with some experience with the rules, skating, passing, shooting and positional awareness (but are not experts). Players at this level are relatively fast moving and have solid control on the ice (must be able to stop). Season starts March 30th and runs until October 5th with a mid-season break the 6th and 13th of July.
Grade 1 (Sunday 18:15 & 19:05)
A 3v3 grade for players with advanced skills in passing, shooting, and positional awareness. These players have a number of years experience playing hockey and play a fast paced game. Grade 1 teams are selected by a draft and all players not drafted will be placed on a Grade 2 team. Season starts March 26th and runs until October 8th. No games on April 9, June 4, and July 16 due to public holidays.
Due to an increase in ice fees for 2023, prices have had to be adjusted (please note that installments based payments incur a small processing fee).
$700 or 6 installments of $120
After February 20th
$800 or 6 installments of $140
Jerseys: WIHA have complete sets of jerseys for each team which will be handed out at the start of the season, with players responsible for returning or replacing them at the conclusion of the season. Purchasing of a custom jersey will be available once the season starts, however purchase does not guarantee playing for a team as trades may always be made to help maintain parity within a grade. Helmets: As per IIHF rules, players must wear a helmet with chin strap properly fastened. Players born after Dec. 31, 1974 must wear a visor. Register here for the upcoming season If you have any questions, please get in touch via the WIHA website
Last year we saw the introduction of a Learn to Play program (ages 4-12) on Thursday evenings and the continuation of the Sunday sessions for ages 13 and up. The interest in Ice hockey continues to grow throughout New Zealand and we hope to maintain the progress. We will continue both of the programs on Thursdays and Sundays, and introduce a Super League (12 and under), as well as another Learn to Play Session on Tuesdays. We have seen significant development over the past year with all of our youth and strive to continue the progress in instilling our own competitive Wellington representative youth team to compete at a national level. There will be a couple of small changes to teams, scheduling, registration, and payment this year, so please read the following carefully and follow the links provided
Learn to Play (ages 12 & under)
Thursday evening 6pm to 7pm - www.wiha.nz/ltp Pay by concession card $200 (10x sessions) or $25 per session (cash or card, paid to coaches at rink)
Sunday Youth Hockey (U15 & U18)
Sunday evening 5pm to 6pm - schedule available here Pay by concession card $200 (10x sessions) or $25 per session (cash or card, paid to coaches at rink) or register for a whole term/semester/year here
Youth playing in leagues
The age limit to play in the adult league remains as 13 and up. However, we will have a new “Super League” for our 12 and under players starting in Term 2.Please get in contact with us if you have any questions or would be interested. We would like to continue having our youth play in the Adult Leagues and develop their skills. Playing with a variety of players can be very beneficial so we want to find the best way for them to have fun, yet improve upon their skills. We recommend that youth players 15 and up of a high skill level who previously played, sign up for Grade 2. All other youth players, including beginners, are recommended to play in Grade 3. Our coaches will sort players into the right grade if they think players have not signed up for the correct grade.
Tournaments and other events
Last year we were very excited to put together two teams to travel to Christchurch and compete in the U12 tournament in October! Everyone from kids to parents raved about the tournament and are excited to go back this year. These tournaments are about camaraderie and playing hockey against kids from all over, look for updates and let's bring back a trophy this year! We also saw some of our Wellington Youth attend several hockey development camps around the country. These allow you to compete with the best from around New Zealand as well as build relationships within the hockey community. The kids who attended loved their experiences and brought back some valuable skills into Wellington Ice Hockey, so keep an eye out for future camps and tournaments!
The women’s development team has an exciting year planned for 2023. There will be a mixture of leagues and trainings throughout the year on Saturday mornings.
There will be two women's leagues this year. Registration will be open soon, keep an eye out for the registration link. Dates will be:
1. March 11th - April 22nd (with 1 week Easter break) 2. July 22nd - September 16th
Training will be different this year. Starting at the end of April we will have blocks of training sessions that correspond with the school term. Hopefully this will make it easier for all the mums who play hockey.
We will also have two training sessions on Saturdays, 8-9 and 9-10. Dates will be:
1. April 29th - June 24th 2. October 14th - December 2nd
We are always open to new female players to join our Wellington Whanau. We welcome drop in’s who are curious to give it a go. Contact email@example.com for details.
Just a quick note on scrimmages for 2023. These will now be happening on Mondays from April after the rink refurbishment has been completed. Scrimmages will be at the same time from 7.00pm at $15 per player, announcements will come out through the usual social media channels and will only go ahead with 10 confirmed players.
We love being able to support our players in getting equipped and safely on the ice. In previous years players have been able to borrow equipment from the gear locker as needed each game. This year we will be hiring gear out to players who need it for $40 per term or $120 for the year. You will keep and store the gear for the season and return it again at the end of the season. This will allow you to take good care of the gear, keeping it clean and dry. The income from hiring gear will allow the association to maintain and purchase new gear. To clarify, any players who are registered for the season and need equipment must hire it out. We will follow up with more details about the hiring process and costs in late February or early March.
In 2023 we are going to work on monthly communications and updates through newsletters that will be mailed out to all WIHA members. The newsletters will include messages from the President and General Manager as well as feature notices and announcements, messages from the various board members, player features, and some general information about WIHA. Members may be asked to contribute photos or content from time to time.
2023 Board Members
As hockey continues to grow in Wellington, we’re excited to see new faces stepping up to help grow it. Many thanks to Liam Roth and Megan Hurlihey who have stepped down this year for their hard work as VP of Youth and VP of Womens. We are excited to welcome new board members Neil Beales and Caleb Hance! Your 2023 board is: President - Mischa Saunders
VP Operations - Hannah Vanderveen
VP Adults - Neil Beales
VP Youth - Caleb Hance
VP Womens - Shelley Winters
VP Comms - Paul Edlin
Treasurer - Matt Thompson
Secretary - Luke Turner
As was discussed and voted upon at the AGM, on account of the growth that has already occurred and the growth we are looking to support, a paid position of general manager has been advertised for 2023. We had a number of applicants for the role and are pleased to announce we have offered the position to a very promising candidate who has accepted and will start in the role on February 6th pending visa approval. As mentioned previously, there is far too much work for one person to be able to do everything. The position will only succeed with the help of our community. The decision to create the role was not taken lightly, but after considering the burnout we are seeing in volunteers, and the dreams and potential for growth within ice hockey in Wellington, the goal is for our General Manager to be a central hub for the activities of the association. This includes everything from finances and budgets, to the experience at the rink, outreach and growth, and the development of new programming aligned with the strategic priorities of the association. It is a big job. And it is really exciting that we’ve reached the stage where we need to hire somebody to do it. If we can help them succeed, the future will be bright indeed for ice hockey in Wellington.
Get in touch
All in all it is shaping up to be a very big year for Wellington Ice Hockey and there is lots of exciting hockey on the horizon. As always, if you have any questions, concerns or contributions you’d like to make, please feel free to have a chat with myself or another member of the board or send us a message viaour website. Looking forward to seeing you at the rink soon, Mischa Saunders President Wellington Ice Hockey Association
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