Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

MAHA Meeting: Majority of rule proposals approved; one Task Force pitch denied

Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey
Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey


By @MichaelCaples –

BELLAIRE – The 2016 Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Summer Meeting featured the organization’s annual rule voting, and the majority of proposals were passed in convincing fashion.

The denial of one proposal, however, garnered the most attention.

Task Force 2018 – a committee formed in 2013 to explore long-term improvements for youth hockey in Michigan – delivered three proposals to be voted on, and only two of them passed.

Denied was a proposal designed to keep coaches from taking his or her team and moving them from one association to another.

“Overall, I think we made some progress on a couple of Task Force issues,” MAHA president George Atkinson told MiHockey shortly after the conclusion of the vote. “I’m certainly disappointed that the coach movement didn’t pass because I believe that our associations were in favor of that and wanted that help to be able to strengthen their associations.”

The language of the denied rule – which missed the required two-thirds majority vote count by only two individuals – was as follows:

“Coaches or managers who change associations or clubs cannot coach or manage players from the previous association or club, other than their son(s)/daughter(s), the following season at the new association or club. If an association/club severs relationship with a coach, then this rule shall be null and void for that coach. An exception may be requested by a coach moving from Tier 2 or Tier 3/House/Rec to Tier I. The State Playoff Committee shall render a decision on that request within (14) days of the request.”

The two Task Force rules that passed:

“Associations must be self-supporting. A minimum of 30 percent of their youth membership shall be ages 10 or under. Non-compliance requires review of the association by the respective District Council in which the association must submit an action plan to meet the 30 percent of membership at 10 or under and may subject the association to disciplinary action. Only association based B/BB teams are eligible for leagues, invitational tournaments, district and state playoffs play.”

Reason for change, as written on the official proposal: Associations/clubs need to support their membership at all playing levels. Developing players at the younger levels supports the teams at the older levels and the growth of the association. Associations should strive to grow from within.


“Michigan resident players of any age classification are permitted to play for an association/club that has the rink closest to their residence, based on Google Maps point-to-point distance, and will not be counted as an out-of-district player if it is beyond district boundaries. Player residence documentation must be provided at the time of team registration with MAHA/USA Hockey.”

Reason for change, as written on the official proposal: This would permit players the convenience to skate at rinks closest to their residence. It would also help the associations/clubs close to district boundaries to keep the players that live closest to them as they develop them at the youngest ages as they grow into the older age classifications.

Atkinson said he believes Task Force 2018 is still on the right track.

“I think so and they still have more work to do. They did a nice presentation on Friday and kind of helped lay out the master plan and there’s some work to be done yet on some of the issues, and they’re going to continue working on that this next year, and they’ll be back again with some more recommendations I’m sure.”

Other rules approved on Sunday:

  • The ’15 age group’ (written as U15 in this proposal, but USA Hockey calls for it to be referred to as 15 only) category will now only include players under 15 years of age on Dec. 31 – the rule makes the U15 age category be only for U15 players (U15 only available for one season in a player’s correct age classification).
  • Game-count limits have been placed on each age group to “allow for better practice-game ratios (per the rule proposal). For specific game-count numbers for individual age groups, follow this link.
  • There have been new requirements placed on girls’ organizations to “create an environment that places a priority on participation growth by providing opportunities for recreational girls’ hockey and an appropriate number of competitive (Tier II, Tier I) teams and players.” Stay tuned for a full article on the changes for girls’ hockey.
  • Girls’ 8U teams are restricted to cross-ice games only.
  • Girls’ teams with a head coach, assistant coach or manager that formerly coached or managed in another association/club cannot have a team with more than 50 percent of its players who played on a team coached or managed by said individual during the previous season or postseason (similar to the rule that was denied, as discussed above).