updates are made to the USAH Guide book online: this is the current as of this updated 5-14-17
USA Hockey recognizes Youth Tier I programs/teams only at the 14U, 15 Only, 16U and 18U age levels. The following criteria must be met for any team to be classified as a Tier I team in any Affiliate:
• Tryouts for Tier I teams must be published and advertised. No youth Tier I or II team may recruit or solicit players or offer contracts to players for the following season, or hold development camps, tryouts, player selections or any activity that could be construed as a tryout/solicitation or recruitment for the following season, until 48 hours after the last game of Youth National Championships (both Tier I and Tier II Nationals must be completed). For example, if the National Tournament ends at 4 pm on Monday, tryouts can begin after 4 pm on Wednesday. Any violation of this prohibition may subject the coach, team, program and/or responsible administrators to appropriate discipline, or ineligibility of the team or coach, as determined by the Affiliate.
• The number of Tier I teams in each Affiliate in each age classification shall be limited by the number of players registered in that Affiliate in that age classification. In each age classification, the Tier I teams shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the total players registered in that age classification in that Affiliate two seasons prior (i.e., the player registration numbers in USA Hockey’s Final Registration Report for 2015- 16 would be used to determine the number of teams permitted in the 2017-18 season, and similar calculations would be made in subsequent seasons). Each Affiliate’s player registration numbers for the preceding season shall be provided on or before September 1 each year. For the purposes of this calculation, each team shall be presumed to have twenty (20) players. For example, the total number of players in that age classification shall be multiplied by 15%, and the product shall then be divided by 20 players, which shall determine the number of Tier I teams permitted in the Affiliate. If an Affiliate has 360 players in an age classification in the 2015-16 season, then 15% of that number would equal 54 players. In order to have teams of 20 players, the Affiliate would be limited to two Tier I teams at that age classification in the 2017-18 season. In Affiliates that allow programs to have multiple Tier I teams in an age classification (e.g., Major/Minor, National/American), then only the teams that are national tournament bound shall count against the limitations on Tier I teams in this paragraph. Notwithstanding the limitations in this paragraph on the number of Tier I teams permitted in an Affiliate based on the number of players registered, subject to Affiliate approval and satisfaction of all other requirements of this Section E, each Affiliate shall be permitted to have at least one team per age classification.
• Notwithstanding the use of 20 players per team in the calculation of the number of teams that may be registered in an Affiliate at the Tier I level, all teams at 14U, 15 Only, 16U and 18U classifications must have a minimum of 15 players (including goalkeepers).
• In order for any team to be eligible for National Tournament play, the program/association must have been in existence and registered with the applicable Affiliate for a minimum of three (3) prior consecutive years.
• The Association/Program must have at least two (2) National Tournament Bound teams from the 14U, 15 Only, 16U or 18U age categories in either the Tier I or Tier II categories, each of which must have a minimum of 15 players per team.
• It is recommended that each player on the team have on-ice and off-ice practices consistent with the ADM recommendations for that age group (which practices may include practices on other teams).
• Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section E, each Affiliate shall be permitted to “grandfather” any Tier I team(s) that were in existence in the 2016-17 season, and in the Affiliate’s discretion may allow such team(s) to continue to be classified as Tier I so long as such programs continue to register team(s) in that age classification. If an Affiliate chooses to reduce the number of Tier I teams beyond those permitted in this Section E, then the Affiliate may do so through the Affiliate’s rules or decisions. The Youth Council recommends that each Affiliate’s teams do not exceed a maximum of 15% of the total players registered in that age classification in that Affiliate two seasons prior.