Since 1972, Darien Youth Hockey has produced competitive travel teams from Mites to Midgets to girls-only teams. Although there are girls-only travel teams, all girls are welcome to try out for any team at the appropriate age level.
At the Travel level, DYHA is committed to striking the right balance between striving to be among the most competitive program in its respective tiers in order to attract the strongest coaches and retain its strongest players, and remaining true to its commitment of being largely a community-based program.
Our Co-Ed DYHA travel program offers AA, A, A1 and B teams at the Squirt through Bantam Level and A, A1 and B teams as the Mite level. We also offer a split season for the Midget Major and Midget Minor players.
Online registration is only for Returning Players. Returning Players are those players currently rostered on DYHA House, Travel and CT Ice Cat teams. *2022-2023 DYHA House players who are dual rostered with another travel hockey program/team are not considered Returning Players and may try out as "impact" for the 2023-2024 season. The DYHA house program was never created, nor was there ever a policy, to allow players from other travel programs to skate in our house league and avoid our tryout process/waitlist system.
NOTE: Given the growth of our program, we will not be contacting players who do not re-register by March 1st. We have an extensive waitlist at all ages/levels. If you do not re-register by March 1st you are at risk of losing your position in DYHA. Returning players registering after the March 1st deadline will be placed on the waitlist.
Players who are interested in joining DYHA for the 2023-2024 season should register on the Waitlist which opens January 1st every year.
The DYHA programs are open to all skaters in all towns once or if they clear the wait list. DYHA is a closed program and is generally at or near full capacity with our returning players at most levels each year. Accordingly, the Association strongly encourages players to understand that if one transfers to another program, they will have to clear the wait list before potential readmission. If there are open roster spots (based on our returning player numbers and available roster spots), players are invited off the wait list based on a criteria that prioritizes players from, or that will be moving into, Darien, New Canaan or Norwalk; siblings of current members; and date of wait list registration. Board discretion can also be used to move players off the waitlist.
Waitlist applicants are not authorized to proceed with the DYHA registration process until contacted by a DYHA representative indicating that your child has cleared the waitlist. If a waitlist applicant proceeds with DYHA’s online registration process, any DYHA registration fee that has been paid will be refunded less all DYHA credit card and bank processing fees. Once the returning player registration process is completed, waitlist applicants will be contacted by a DYHA representative. If your child clears the waitlist, you can proceed to registration using the link provided from the DYHA Registrar.
Birth Years 2005-2006:
- Midget Majors
Birth Years 2007-2008:
Midget Minors – Blue and White
Birth Years 2009-2010:
- Bantam AA
- Bantam A
- Bantam A1
- Bantam B
Birth Years 2011-2012:
- Peewee AA
- Peewee A
- Peewee A1
- Peewee B
Birth Years 2013-2014:
- Squirt AA
- Squirt A
- Squirt A1
- Squirt B
Birth Years 2015-2016: (All Mite Teams are Tier 4)
- Mite A
- Mite A1
- Mite B Blue/White/Grey– Development team made up of 2015-2016 birth year House players
PeeWee, Squirt and Mite Tryouts will take place in March, Midget, Bantam in April. Exact dates will be posted on the home page as soon as the try-outs times are scheduled.
- Consists of 2-3 sessions
- Conducted by certified independent and DYHA coaches
- Player selections are based on the appraisal of independent evaluators and potential team coaches over the course of the tryout sessions
- Written player evaluations completed by a travel player’s prior season coach.
- Coaches and evaluators will consider fundamental hockey skills, effort, teamwork, commitment and coachability exhibited in the tryouts and the previous season.
- Generally runs from the beginning of September through the middle of March, with the exception of the Midgets split season which runs through Mid-November
- Coaching staff includes local high school coaches as well as other established travel hockey coaches
- Practice and play out of Stamford Twin Rinks
- Usually includes 40-60 games per season. Most teams will not play during Christmas break, but may require players to participate in practices/games during the February break.
- Two weeknight practices and two weekend games
- Scheduled skills sessions throughout the season
- Dedicated Goalie Clinics and Goaltending Program
- Three tournaments over the course of the season
- DYHA does not allow double rostering with other teams (high school excluded)
Q: Why can't my friend sign up to play for DYHA?
A: Unlike some youth hockey programs, DYHA operates as a "closed" member program. This means that once a player participates in the Mini or Mighty Mite program, they are a DYHA member and gain priority registration status for our Mite and higher House programs, which are regularly sold out, and are guaranteed a tryout spot for our travel teams in the coming year. It also means that if you don't get in as a Mighty Mite or leave after that time period you must register on the waitlist and will only be invited to play for DYHA the following year if room exists in our program after all of our existing members have had a chance to sign up. Accordingly, DYHA strongly encourages players to understand that if one transfers to another program, they will have to clear the wait list before potential readmission. If there are open slots, players are accepted off the wait list based on a criterion that prioritizes players from, or that will be moving into, Darien, New Canaan or Norwalk; siblings of current members; and date of waitlist registration. Board discretion can also be used to move players off the waitlist.
Q: The program is called the DARIEN Youth Hockey Association. Do I have to live in Darien to play and why does DYHA accept players from other towns?
A: No! DYHA has member players from all towns! Both of our local rinks are privately owned as opposed to municipal owned rinks such as Stamford - Terry Connors which have residency requirements. DYHA is a local youth hockey program that gives priority to existing members and players from its “charter towns” of Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. Beyond our charter towns and to the extent that there are players needed to fill out the teams, families from other towns are accepted off of the waitlist and once they are they are treated like all other members.
Q: Why have tryouts for most teams been moved from the Fall to the Spring? And why does the season start so early in the Fall?
A: It is very difficult to schedule tryouts during a period that is best for everyone and conflict-free. DYHA is a firm believer in giving our players the ability to develop over the 6 month period from finish of one season to start of the next season. Unfortunately, our ability to continue with this timetable has been restricted due to the following:
- Competitor programs have now scheduled almost all tryouts in the Spring and continue to market their programs to DYHA players such that they can promise our players certainty about team placement earlier than we could.
- Parents are increasingly trying to schedule their kids' activities multiple months in advance of the season beginning and not only want to know the team their player will be on but also what the schedule will look like.
- Creating the team in the Spring allows the team to know its members and perhaps start practicing, on an ad hoc basis, or attend summer camps together that will help create better team chemistry and bonding.
- It is still DYHA's belief that all players, regardless of the team they are on, should continue to pursue skill development over the course of the off season, in addition to their other activities.
Q: Why is the travel season so long?
A: As long as DYHA agrees to play in the CT Hockey Conference, we are subject to the demands of their related schedule. The official CHC season (in terms of games that qualify as official CHC games that determine state tournament qualifications and standings) begins October 1 and runs through early February. Teams are generally required to play each team in its division twice. That requirement combined with parents' and players’ desire to participate in a couple of away tournaments and avoid games during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks (unlike many of our neighboring Tier II and Tier III programs), dictates a game schedule that runs for at least 5 months. The scheduling of state tournaments is spread out and generally results in teams playing state tournament games throughout February and into late March.
Q: Why don’t travel teams have some bye weekends?
A: We have explored the possibility to schedule bye weekends. Because of the demanding CHC schedule that requires reciprocation for ice with other programs, and our commitment to avoid games during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, it is difficult to block out entire weekends for a team. Having said that, this year we were able to schedule bye weekends for 3 or 4 travel teams. As mentioned earlier, all travel teams did not schedule required games or practices during Thanksgiving break and the 10-12 days of Christmas break.
Q: What really goes into the travel tryout evaluations?
A: Tryouts are structured to evaluate the skill level of each player to ensure proper team placement which is a prerequisite for future player development. Evaluators are comprised of the coaching staff of the respective age group. The goal of our tryout evaluation process is to provide a fair and balanced assessment of each player’s skating, shooting, passing, and teamwork abilities as well as overall hockey IQ. In addition to the on-ice assessment, evaluators will have access to player evaluations from the prior season and may seek additional input from prior season coaches to assess hockey acumen, teamwork, commitment, drive, behavior, and knowledge of the game. A DYHA Board Coordinator is assigned to each age group to monitor the team selection process. The Board Coordinator does not participate in player evaluation but is there to ensure the integrity of the process.
Registration is closed for the 2023-2024 season.
Questions? Please contact the DYHA Registrar.