Ice Cats Travel Hockey
The Ice Cats are an established, competitive all girls hockey program which began in 2000. The DYHA Girls teams were merged with the New Canaan Winter Club in 2009 and are currently called the CT Ice Cats. Since the merge, The Ice Cats have had multiple teams compete in the New England Regional Tournament and in the Tier 2 national tournaments. The goals of the CT Ice Cats are to field competitive teams, develop all players’ skills and knowledge of the game and have FUN.
We have hockey offerings for all levels of ability from the serious hockey player to the beginner. Our girls only CT Ice Cats travel program offers CHGL and CHC teams at the U8 and U10 level, Tier I, Tier 2 and CGHL at the U12 and U14 level and Tier 2 teams at the U16 and U19 levels. The U16 and U19 teams are split season teams. Our Tier 1 and Tier 2 U14 and Tier 2 U16 and U19 teams are national bound teams.
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 Ice Cats/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 Ice Cats/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.
Impact player policy
Players from outside the DYHA or NCWC (and have not cleared the waitlist) can request an invitation from our Registrar to tryout as an "Impact" player. During the course of travel tryouts this player must demonstrate abilities that rank among the top 3 forwards or top 2 defense on the ice and they may be offered a position on a travel team. Impact players must attend at least two nights of tryouts in their respective groupings. Impact player recommendations will be determined by the Tier 1 and A team coach(s), Travel Board Coordinator and the DYHA Travel Directors and must receive full Board approval.
DYHA also reserves the right to not roster any Impact players for any given team for whatever reason regardless of whether skill comparison during tryouts warrants such action or not. This decision will be at the sole discretion of the DYHA/Ice Cats coaching staff, the ICGC/Travel Directors and the DYHA/ICGC Board of Directors.
- U19A - 2005-2006 birth years
- U16 A - 2007-2008 birth years
- U14 Tier 1, U14A, U14A1 - 2009-2010 birth years
- U12 Tier 1, U12A, U12A - 2011-2012 birth years
- U10A, U10A1 - 2013-2014 birth years
- U8 Blue, U8 Red (supplemental) - 2015-2016 birth years
U-12, U-10 and U-8 teams will take place in March, U-19, U-16, and U-14 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 (U19/U16 Split season runs Sept-late Nov)
- Coaching staff includes local high school coaches as well as other established girls hockey coaches
- Practice and play out of Stamford Twin Rinks, Darien Ice House and New Canaan Winter Club
- 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 approximately every two weeks
- Dedicated Goalie Clinics and Goaltending Program
- Three tournaments over the course of the season
- The CT Ice Cats does not allow double rostering with co-ed or other all girls teams (high school excluded)
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 certainly 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 knows 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, irregardless 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/Ice Cats 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 tournaments 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: Travel player candidates are generally evaluated by coaches who coach elsewhere in the program as well as paid coaches who will coach that particular team and a non conflicted Board member that oversees the evaluation process. Parent coaches, unless they have a returning playing on that particular team, are excluded from the early evaluations in all cases and all tryout sessions in most cases. In addition, detailed player evaluations (that follow a standard form) are now completed by all head travel coaches the prior season and carefully reviewed by the new season’s head coaches. These travel team evaluations discuss players’ skills, teamwork, coachability, attendance and effort. In addition, house coaches are encouraged to recommend their best house players that intend to tryout for travel.
Tryout Registration is closed for the 2023-2024 season.
Questions? Please contact the DYHA Registrar.