Play-Up Policy and Procedure

The Dayton Hockey Association (DHA) Executive Board recognizes that in rare and specific cases it can be appropriate and even beneficial to a player’s development for him or her to Play-Up to the next hockey age division. A fine balance needs to be struck, however, to avoid placing the desire of a player above the legitimate opportunity for that participant to be successful in an older age division. As such, Play-Ups should be viewed as 'providing development opportunities for the player while improving the overall division’s competitiveness’ vs. a player simply ‘being able to keep pace with the advanced division’s players.’

There is increased risk of injury for players playing outside of their designated age division. However, USA hockey allows movement in certain situations if specific guidelines are followed. You should carefully balance the need for advanced competition with how it will affect mental, physical and social development. Playing up into the Bantam division includes substantial additional risk, due to the introduction of checking, as well as the size and strength of more physically mature opponents. Please follow the guidelines below when making a request to move a player into an older age division.

Play-Up Guidelines

A player will not be permitted to move up more than one year in age. For example, a first year Squirt cannot be moved to the Pee Wee division. A second year Squirt may advance to Pee Wee. This will apply at Mite, Squirt, Pee Wee and Bantam divisions.

Player must be registered for their proper age division and category (travel or house) a minimum of two weeks before the category’s tryout/evaluation period. 

Only Play-Up requests submitted to the DHA Executive Board through the DHA Registration System by the player’s parents or legal guardians will be considered. Requests must be submitted a minimum of two weeks before the category’s tryout/evaluation period. 

Criteria for allowing Play-Up players will be based on the evaluation of the player’s skill and ability to contribute to the advanced age division, as well as the player’s maturity level compared to the advanced age division’s players. This evaluation may include on-ice and off-ice 

The Play-Up player must be rated in the top 5% of his or her current age division and should be projected to be among the top 50% of ALL players in the advanced age division. If the player is not projected to be one of the top players in the advanced division, then it is highly questionable whether the Play-Up is truly in the best interest of that player. Due to the traditional drought of goalies, requests for goalie Play-Ups will be handled on a case-by-case, exception basis.

The DHA Executive Board will make the final decision on allowing a player to Play-Up, based upon the collective recommendation from the appropriate commissioner (travel or house) and respective coaches. Alternatives may be recommended, including movement between travel and house categories at the age-appropriate level. The decision will be final.

The DHA Executive Board specifically reserves the right to reverse a decision allowing a player to Play-Up at any time. If a player that has moved up is experiencing difficulty (be it through skill deficiency, behavioral deficiency, maturity level, etc.), as determined by the Executive Board and/or the player’s coach, the Board may reverse the Play-Up privilege. In this case, every attempt will be made to place the player on a similar team within the player’s age-appropriate division, however placement is not guaranteed. In such cases where a placement is not possible, requests for refund shall be submitted to and decisions on such are subject to the sole discretion of the DHA Executive Board. Parents and players should carefully consider this outcome prior to making a request to Play-Up.

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