The USA Hockey New Parent Guide linked below is a great resource for parents who are new to Youth Hockey.
Is the sport of hockey safe for my child?
Yes. Hockey players wear more protective equipment than any other sport. A study has shown that ice hockey injuries ranked after both basketball and soccer in emergency room visits related to sport and recreational activities. Youth hockey is a different game than the NHL. With a different set of rules in place, youth hockey places a stronger emphasis on sportsmanship and friendly competition. Body Checking is not allowed prior to the Bantam level (age 13 & 14). THERE IS NEVER TOLERANCE FOR ANY MANNER OF FIGHTING.
What equipment does my child need?
USA Hockey provides a comprehensive list of required equipment at www.ComePlayYouthHockey.com. DHA has included a .PDF copy of this list to the right.
Where do I find all of this equipment?
In order to help make hockey more affordable, especially for kids just getting started, DHA offers hockey equipment on a rental basis. The length of the rental agreement is the same as the length of the season for which your player is registered.
The rental fee for a complete sets of gear, which include helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, pants, and shin guards, consists of a $100 deposit. When the program ends and all of the equipment is returned in good condition, you will receive $70 of the $100 back.
Individual pieces of equipment are available to rent for $20 per piece. When the item(s) are returned, $10 per piece will be refunded to you.
Players need to provide their own stick, skates, mouth guard, and protective undergarments. Kettering and South Metro sometimes offer rental skates to use until players get their own.
You will have the option to rent equipment during the registration process you'll go through when registering your child for programs.
In addition to the rental gear, DHA holds an annual used equipment sale at the beginning of the season. This is a great place to find gently used equipment at reasonable prices. If you're not quite comfortable fitting the equipment, we have coaches and parents on hand to help fit the equipment too.
Of course, there are retail outlets too, including Play It Again Sports and other stores in Cincinnati and Columbus. There are also a variety of websites that sell equipment, and they often run specials, including:
How do I make sure my child's equipment fits properly?
Many of the online retailers offer fitting guides. One of the more detailed fitting guides is provided by Total Hockey on their Fitting Guide page. It includes videos that explain how to fit all of the different pieces of equipment.
As noted above, DHA has coaches and experienced parents on hand to help out at the used equipment sale. Retail stores should have sales people that will be able to lend a hand too.
How much will this cost?
DHA strives to keep the registration fees as reasonable as possible, but ice is expensive. Registration fees are listed on our registration page. Equipment prices will vary, depending on where you purchase equipment.
When does the season start?
Registration starts during the Summer and the regular hockey season starts in September/October, depending on what age level and team your child is on.
How long is the season?
The regular hockey season runs from September/October through the end of February/early March. Because it is a long season, DHA breaks its Learn to Play program into two segments so it isn't overwhelming for beginners and families aren't locked into a long season if hockey doesn't work out.
In addition to the regular season, DHA offers a fall warm-up session before the season starts and a spring session to cap off the end of the season. Both sessions are less structured and geared to fun.
Which program should I sign up for?
DHA offers programs for players of all ages and abilities. If your child is age 9 or under, and has never played before, she or he should start with our Learn to Play program. We can often accommodate older kids in our Learn to Play programs, but keep in mind that most of the kids in Learn to Play are between 4 and 9 years old.
USA Hockey slots players by birth year. A player's age as of December 31 of the current season determines playing level:
8U (Mite) is for players who will be 8 years old or younger as of December 31 of the current season.
10U (Squirt) is for players who will be ages 9 and 10 as of December 31 of the current season.
12U (Pee Wee) is for players who will be ages 11 and 12 as of December 31 of the current season.
14U (Bantam) is for players who will be ages 13 and 14 as of December 31 of the current season.
16U (Midget)* is for players who will be ages 15 and 16 as of December 31 of the current season.
18U (Midget)* is for players who will be ages 15, 16, 17 and 18 as of December 31 of the current season.
*In addition to midget divisions, DHA offers a High School age division under USA Hockey high school guidelines. This age division is for all kids in grades 9 - 12 for the current school year.
Where and when are practices/games held?
For our House teams, practices and home games are held at Kettering Rec Center and South Metro Sports. There is a Learn to Play program based at each of the two rinks, so you will always attend Learn to Play sessions at the same rink. At the younger ages, teams are also mostly dedicated to a rink, but as your player gets older, they may not have a dedicated home rink.
Learn to Play meets once a week. Most other House teams practice twice a week with games on the weekends. Practice times are usually pretty consistent, game times vary, and there may be weekends with no games.
Our House teams currently participate in the Midwest Youth Hockey League, and away games may be in Troy, Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and occasionally as far as Louisville, Lexington, or Charleston, West Virginia, however we work hard to keep the away games as close to home as possible.
How can my child try hockey without making a commitment?
Try Hockey for Free sessions are scheduled two times a year, typically in November and March. Check out the website TryHockeyForFree.com to see upcoming sessions. In addition, DHA offers a Hockey 101 session near the beginning of the season, typically in September. Watch our home page for upcoming sessions.
In addition, as mentioned above, our Learn to Play programs are broken into two segments so it isn't overwhelming for beginners and families aren't locked into a long season if hockey doesn't work out.
How do I sign up?
Our Registration process typically starts during the Summer. Links to the Regular Season registration, as well as the Equipment Rental, Fall Warm-Up and Spring Hockey are on the Registration page of this site when registration for each of the respective programs is open. Note that your player will also need to register with USA Hockey and be issued a USA Hockey membership number in order to register with DHA. Links to do so are part of our registration process.