League Policies & Rules

Player Placements and Evaluations

The NCWHL has four divisions of play and the League tries hard to ensure that all players are playing at the level most appropriate for their skill level. All divisions, except for the beginner Green Division, require a player to be assessed through the placement process. The NCWHL Placement Coordinator organizes the placement process.

Types of Placements

The league has four types of evaluations: Summer/Winter season placements, mid-season placements, and league-wide evaluations.

a) Formal Placements

Formal Placements occur at the beginning of each season, usually in March and September. Placements are required for players new to the league, returning players who have skipped more than one season, and players requesting placement in a new division. These sessions are also attended by returning players for conditioning, practicing skills, and to provide benchmarks for the evaluators to rate skaters under evaluation.

b) In-season Placements

Players who sign up mid-season who are returning after missing more than one season (i.e. a season plus 1 game or more) will need to go through an in-game evaluation in their last division of record. Players who sign up mid-season and are new to the league will need to go through an in-game evaluation to ensure placement in the division appropriate to her skill set. The in-game evaluations shall be held during their first 2 games in the league. A Formal Placement the following season is required. In-season placements are coordinated through the specific Division Coordinators.

c) League-wide Placements

The league-wide placements are conducted at the discretion of the Board and replace the season placement. Reasons for a league-wide placement include rebalancing divisions to maintain the competitive level and spirit of each division, moving players to the division that best suits their skills and promoting respectful sportsmanship. See FAQs for more information.

d) Division Parity (currently Maroon division only)

During the season, non-league affiliated hockey knowledgeable individuals may evaluate flow of play during games. If as a result of these evaluations a player is deemed to be below parity for the division, she will be asked to attend Season Placements for division re-entry the following season. If she chooses not to undergo Season Placements for division re-entry, she will be placed in the next division below.

Any player who places into a division through Formal Placements is exempt from Division Parity for three seasons.

Placements Sessions

Skaters requesting placement in a particular division must attend two placement sessions at the beginning of the season in order to be evaluated. All players should attend all placement sessions as per the evaluation schedule posted each season. If a player who requires placement cannot attend any scheduled placement session, it is her obligation to contact the NCWHL Placement Coordinator to make arrangements for alternative evaluations. This is considered an excused absence. If a player who requires placement misses a placement session without prior arrangements for alternative evaluations, she may be placed at the discretion of the placement committee. Any player missing all sessions, excused or not, will be placed at the discretion of the placement committee. The placement committee is composed of, but not limited to: the NCWHL Board, Placement Coordinator(s), Division Coordinator(s).

A skater may seek placement in one division above the level that she is currently skating. With board approval, a skater may seek placement in a division more than one level above the one in which she currently skates. If a skater has been away from the NCWHL for more than two seasons but has been skating continuously, she may seek placement one division up from the level she last skated. If the skater has not been skating continuously since her last NCWHL season, she should be evaluated at the last level skated. If the evaluators think the skater would be more appropriate in another division, they will place the skater accordingly.

Assessments & Placement

Evaluations are completed by knowledgeable volunteers from outside the league and NCWHL players in divisions above the level being evaluated. The goal is to be as fair and objective as possible and to place skaters in the division most suited to their skill level based on a clear set of criteria as outlined by the League.

The aim is for all skaters to be evaluated by at least three different, anonymous evaluators over two sessions. Skaters are assessed for level and strength in skating and hockey skills in both drills and scrimmages using standardized forms for rating skaters. Benchmark skaters are a representative selection of the current division's skaters.

Skaters are scored in comparison with the average, and not lowest, division benchmark skaters to help maintain division speed and skill levels.

After all assessments are over, placements are based on numerical scores by the evaluators. Borderline scores will be considered in conjunction with noted comments and recommendations by the evaluators, the Division Coordinator and the Placement Coordinator. Tallied evaluation forms will be filed with the NCWHL Board.

Final placement is communicated to the skater by the Placement Coordinator. Evaluator feedback from the Placement Coordinator will be provided to skaters upon request. Numerical scores will not be provided. Final placements are absolute and not subject to appeal. Comments and recommendations can be provided to the evaluated skater so they can work on skills needed for the next level for the following season.

Red Division Placement Drills (View full details)

Skating Skills

  1. Transition drill: forward, pivot to backwards between blue lines (twice)
  2. Speed drill: as fast as possible forward, stop on far goal line
  3. Ladder drill
  4. Forward crossovers, full circles
  5. Backwards across width of ice
  6. Static semi-circle around goalies and shoot: demostrate all shots possible
  7. Slalom drill: with puck, shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  8. Give and go drill: shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  9. Horseshoe drill: show all shots you have
  10. 30 min scrimmage with teams divided into forwards and defense (hopefuls choose forward or defense)

Maroon Division Placement Drills (View full details)

Skating Skills

  1. Transition drill: transition at blue line/red line/blue line
  2. Speed drill: as fast as possible forward, end to end, stop on far goal line
  3. Ladder drill (both ways)
  4. Full circles forward with crossovers: all 5 circles
  5. Clock drill: full circles, always facing the clock, transitioning around circle
  6. Half circles backward with crossovers: all 5 circles
  7. Slalom drill: with puck, shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  8. Give and go drill: shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  9. Horseshoe drill, shooting on goalie
  10. Scrimmage with teams divided into forwards and defense (hopefuls choose forward or defense)

Blue Division Placement Drills (View full details)

Skating Skills (most skating drills done with pucks)

  1. Speed drill: as fast as possible forward, end to end, stop on goal line
  2. Ladder drill (both ways)
  3. Full circles forward with crossovers: all 5 circles
  4. Clock drill: full circles, always facing the clock, transitioning around circle
  5. Half circles backward with crossovers: all 5 circles
  6. Slalom drill: with puck, shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  7. Give and go drill: shoot from top of circle, show all shots you have
  8. Horseshoe drill, shooting on goalie
  9. Scrimmage with teams divided into forwards and defense (hopefuls choose forward or defense)