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Columbus Capitals Travel Program

Mission: To provide an opportunity for Central Ohio’s best young hockey players to play on a premier team that will improve their skills and improve their knowledge and understanding of the game through a successful and proven travel program that offers knowledgeable and experienced coaches and equitable program administration for all teams at a reasonable cost.

Welcome to the Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey program. This document will help explain our procedures and hopefully answer some of your questions regarding the Columbus Capitals travel hockey program. During the first on-ice tryout sessions, a meeting will be held to explain our program.


What is the Columbus Capitals travel hockey program?

What is the cost to play Columbus Capitals travel hockey?

How are coaches selected?

How many teams will the Columbus Capitals field this season?

How are players evaluated during tryouts?

Do all players have to attend tryouts?

When will we be notified if a player has or has not made a team?

How many games and tournaments will a travel team play?

How many practices will there be for the travel teams and where do they practice?

Will there be traveling every weekend?

How long does the season last?

What kind of commitment are the coaches looking for?

What is Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey’s position regarding “ playing up” to the next age category as defined by USA Hockey?

Selection and Eligibility


What is the Columbus Capitals travel hockey program?

The Columbus Capitals travel hockey program is designed to complement the house league program by allowing players to further develop their skills, improve their knowledge and understanding of the game, and nurture their desire, dedication and discipline to play the game of ice hockey against the best competition available. The CAHA Board and the Director of Hockey/Travel Committee administers the program.  Some of the players that have completed our travel program have gone on to compete at the next level of competition including AAA Columbus Blue Jackets, Junior hockey in the U.S. and Canada, collegiate club hockey at Ohio University, Kent State, University of Dayton, Wright State University, and varsity level hockey at universities such as The Ohio State University, Eastern Michigan, Rochester Institute of Technology, Notre Dame, Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio. Some of our players have returned to youth hockey to coach, serve as volunteers, become members of the Committee, or even have their children join and play in our programs.

Columbus Capitals travel hockey strongly supports the principles and guidelines of USA Hockey, Inc. regarding house and travel programs and we firmly believe in a balance between winning, learning the game, and having fun.  No player, team, coach, parent or supporter is more important than the program and the enjoyment of the game by the players.


What is the cost to play Columbus Capitals travel hockey? The cost will depend upon the schedule that the team plays. Each team will be responsible for their expenses monthly. Typical expenses are registration fees, ice time, referees, tournaments, coaching fees (if applicable) and administration fees. A typical season ranges from ~$1,800 to $2,200.  Home and away uniforms are required and not part of the monthly fee.  Monthly fees will be collected over 6 months, beginning at the earliest June 1st, (The commitment deposit which is due upon acceptance of your spot will be due in April).  Failure to maintain payments will result in removal from the certified roster and will make the player ineligible to participate.  All players of the Columbus Capitals Team must have navy blue pants and/or navy blue shells, a navy blue helmet and either Navy, Red or Red, White and Blue gloves.

How are coaches selected?

Coaching applications are solicited from interested people including present and former coaches, coaches moving into Central Ohio, etc. Advertisements may be placed in local newspapers and applications are available from the web site. A selection committee is appointed by the Hockey Director and/or Executive Board.  Members of the committee are individuals who understand and agree with the Columbus Capitals overall philosophy concerning youth hockey. The applications are examined based upon the “Four C’ s” required to be a coach:

Communications including the ability of a coach to communicate with both parents and players,
Character including willingness to abide by USA Hockey’s Coaching Code of Ethics,
Commitment to the USA Hockey and Columbus Capitals travel program philosophy and to the time requirements to coach,
Competency including knowledge of the game and ability to teach the game.


USA Hockey, CAHA and the Columbus Capitals requires all coaches to be certified by attending appropriate coaching clinics; coaches may be certified at the Associate, Intermediate, Advanced or Masters level by USA Hockey. The Selection Committee recommendations for all coaching positions for the Columbus Capitals travel program are approved by the Hockey Director and/or the Executive Board.

How many teams will the Columbus Capitals field for the 2017-2018 season?

Depending on interest and skill at the tryouts, we intend on fielding one “AA” travel team at each age level, 10U (squirt), 12U (peewee) and 14U (bantam) and one "A" at the 2005 Birthyear ONLY. It must be remembered that the Columbus Capitals travel program is designed for players who play above the house/select level and wish to progress to the next level by playing on a team with other similarly skilled players against highly skilled competition. Under the tutelage of more experienced coaches, players will have the opportunity to improve those skills and improve their knowledge of the game by playing with and competing against better opponents.

The classification of teams (AA, A etc.) will depend on the talent and skill level available at a particular age division. In general, “AA” teams will include more experienced travel players or players with exceptional skills while “A” teams may have more players just making the transition from a select/house league program to the travel program. For some players, the movement from one age category to the next higher age category may mean being on a “Peewee AA” team one year and a “Bantam A” team the next year depending on their skills and the talent already at the Bantam level.


How are players evaluated during tryouts?

The HEAD coaches for a particular age category (10U (squirt), 12U (peewee) and 14U (bantam)) along with  other independent evaluators and the Hockey Director/Travel Committee will try to objectively assess the skills of each player at the tryouts. Using a set series of drills and scrimmages designed to help demonstrate the skills needed to play the game, the evaluators will be looking for skating ability, stick handling and shooting ability, and knowledge of the game. Forward and backward skating, turning, “crossovers”, stopping, transitions, lateral movement, passing and receiving a puck and endurance are some of the skills that are evaluated. 

Coaches will be looking at proper puck shooting techniques, weight transfer, wrist shots, snap shots, and slap shots along with accuracy. Evaluators will determine if players have learned how to “read and react” and “have their head on a swivel”. At higher levels, players will be expected to forecheck and backcheck, aggressively pursue the puck, “play their man”, and “complete their checks” . In addition to the foregoing, goalies are expected to demonstrate their ability to “cover the crease”, “ telescope in and out from the net”, “drop and recover” , “ stack the pads”, “ focus on the puck”, etc.  Every effort will be made to provide a fair, impartial evaluation of the players.

Parents are respectfully requested to refrain from asking for individual evaluations or judgments from the coaches or evaluators and the evaluation area (RINK AREA) is “offlimits” to parents and spectators.

Do all players have to attend tryouts? All players are required to attend tryouts. If there is a conflict or special situation, the issue should be presented to the coach, the Hockey Director/Committee prior to the tryouts.  Attempts have been made to schedule tryouts for maximum attendance.

Tryouts are open to all players in the Central Ohio area.  Tryouts are not by “ invitation only”.
Coaches are not allowed to form teams prior to the tryouts.  Coaches are not allowed to select “parent assistant coaches” prior to the selection of the team.

When will we be notified if a player has or has not made a team?

Coaches are urged to make their selections and notify all players as soon as possible after completion of a tryout session.  All players are required to register and pay a commitment fee (deposit) upon acceptance to a team, this fee (deposit) is non-refundable but is applied to the player’s account.  The goal is to have all teams finalized within a week of the final tryout date for that division. 

How many games and tournaments will a travel team play?

The number of games and tournaments played by a Columbus Capitals travel team will vary depending upon the age category, level of play (“AA” or “A ” ; “Major” or “Minor”, etc.), and willingness of the coach and parents.  At the start of the season, parents or guardians will be polled regarding interest and commitment. In general, the number of games will range from 40 to 45(max) for squirts, 50-55(max) for PeeWees and Bantams.  These games include a number of tournaments. Most games are “league games”. The "A" level teams and Minor "AA" Squirt teams are encouraged to compete in the Buckeye Travel Hockey League or another approved organized league. Leagues typically have between 15 and 25 league games.  Any team that desires to play an independent schedule will be  required to have ADVANCED approval from the Director of Hockey and/or Travel Committee.  We encourage all of our travel teams to register in the Regional Silversticks Tournament conducted annually in Dayton, Ohio in December. Regional winners will go on to play in Canada or Michigan. Additionally, the Peewee and Bantam teams have the opportunity to enter the State Tournaments that are conducted in March. Depending on interest and financial commitment, teams may also enter early season tournaments, Thanksgiving, Christmas, President’ s Weekend tournaments, etc. to round out the schedule.

How many practices will there be for the travel teams and where do they practice? ?

The actual number of practices will vary; in general our goal is to have the travel players on the ice at least twice a week during the season plus games on the weekend. AA Major teams will receive at least 2-3 hours of practices per week (as long as ice is available). While we would like all practices to be “full ice”, reality forces us to have “shared ice practices” especially after the start of the house league season. We use the Fairgrounds Coliseum as the major rink for practice, with the Chiller’s as our additional ice venues. Some coaches may try to have off ice practices using parking lots, gymnasiums, or roller hockey rinks to supplement the costly “on ice” practices. While every effort will be made to distribute practice and game schedules early in the season, ice schedule changes at some rinks force us to be as flexible as possible with the schedules for games and practices.

Will there be traveling every weekend?

Most travel teams will not be traveling every weekend.  Each team should be playing approximately half of their league games at home and half on the road. If possible, teams will try to schedule two games during a road trip to help minimize the amount of travel. Some teams may have several “overnight” weekend trips while others may not have any. A team could go a full month without any “away” games and then travel during the next three weekends. Parents will be polled in a team meeting at the start of the season to determine their interest and availability.  We have a travel geography recommendation in place for the the "AA" Teams, not to exceed a 5-6 hour radius of travel time and "A" to a 3-5 hour radius.  ANY trips to Canada must be approved and a travel permit needs to be obtained before a team can participate.

How long does the season last? ?

For players selected to Columbus Capitals travel teams, coaches may begin off-ice conditioning over the summer depending on the schedule and interest of the players. On-ice activities may begin as early as July. Generally, all of the travel teams will end their season in March although there may be exceptions depending on the desires of the coach, players and parents.

What kind of commitment are the coaches looking for?

All the coaches are looking for players who have the desire, dedication and discipline to play travel hockey. This includes a willingness to attend all practices, off-ice conditioning (if any), games, and tournaments. Coaches expect players to have the self-discipline to notify the coach or team manager of any conflicts, perform well in school and budget their time to avoid excuses for homework or tests, and, above all, be respectful of others. While we understand that every player must balance their home, school, and hockey life, a commitment to a travel team implies a commitment and a responsibility to teammates and the coach.  Discipline is also expected on and off the ice regarding proper behavior. Fighting, profanity, and disrespect for other people (including teammates, opponents and game officials) and disrespect for property will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action including suspension from games or practices or suspension from the team. Columbus has a long history of fielding teams that will play the game with dignity and respect whether they are winning or losing and we will not allow this tradition to be compromised. In this regard, and in the best interests of the program, players and coaches, Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey may exercise its right to deny participation to a player or parent based on prior incidents involving the player and/or a parent. Players and parents will be provided a “Code of Conduct” that they will be required to sign. This “Code of Conduct” will detail what is expected from them regarding their responsibility to the team.

What is Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey’s position regarding “ playing up” to the next age category as defined by USA Hockey?

USA Hockey discourages youngsters from “playing up” in the next age category.

Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey Play Up Policy:

While USA Hockey generally discourages "playing up" into the next age category, CAHA recognizes that there are some situations that may warrant an exception. CAHA will consider allowing a player to Play Up for the Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey program ONLY from 8U-MAJOR to 10U-MINOR ie 2010 up to 2009.  No other PLAY UP requests are offered within any other Travel Division. (Play ups for house are handled in the fall during evaluations).

The Travel Committee will evaluate requests to play up on a case by case basis. The player being considered at the higher age category must demonstrate exceptional skills during the tryouts to be named to the team.  Click here for play up petition form.

Once the approval is granted a separate registration link will be given for that player to register and pay for the tryout, the player will begin the tryout process within their requested play up age group. 

Each Play Up situation is different.  No two players are the same and the player will be evaluated and must meet certain criteria for the play up to be granted:

•The player must be dominant within their own birth year. *** This must be obvious***

•The player must be evaluated and rate as a top 4 or a #1 goalie at the birth year they request to play-up to

•The Travel Committee will then make a final determination based on what is in the player’s best interest from a developmental standpoint.   This decision is final.

The Columbus Capitals Travel program will monitor all approved play ups throughout the season with the coaches, director of hockey and player’s parents.  The Columbus Capitals Travel program reserves the right to revisit the play up situation if we feel the player’s best interest has changed.



Selection and Eligibility
Quote from U.S. Olympic team and Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations GM. Brian Burke on selecting the players for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team:
"You can't just take the best 23 players; we have to take players who can perform specific tasks at a high level, even if that's a grunt task, even a blue-collar task if people can do it well.”
“If you look at the course of a hockey game, the jobs that players are called on to perform, some of them aren't glamorous, winning the key face off in your own end, killing penalties or blocking a shot at a key time. These are the things we're going to need to be successful."
Players will be selected based on several intangible traits versus just stronger individual hockey skills.
Hockey is a team sport and individuals with stronger skills but who are selfish can often times be counterproductive to achieving team goals and upset team chemistry. Hockey is a long season and the right team chemistry (on and off the ice) is crucial to a successful program. Coaches will keep this in mind when making team selections.
The head coaches will work together with the Hockey Director on team composition. The head coach will utilize a mix of evaluator recommendations, player and parent references, current and past coaches’ insights and parental expectations to make team selections. 
Every attempt will be made to notify all players of team selections within 24-96 hours of the final tryout.  If an offer to play is extended, players are required to pay a commitment fee upon acceptance to a team.  This fee is non-refundable but is applied to the player’s account.  The goal is to have all teams finalized within a week of the final tryout date for that division. 

The Board reserves the right to withhold an offer to any player for reasons such as failure to meet financial commitments (applies to any organization, not just CAHA), disciplinary issues, player/parent zero tolerance issues, etc.
A player who has been offered a roster spot and who has accepted may be removed for disciplinary reasons, violations as a result of a player or parental code of conduct violation, or a failure to meet financial commitments.  No monies paid will be refundable.

The coach and/or Hockey Director/Board retains the right to suspend or discipline a player whose actions (either the player or the parent/guardian of that player) are deemed abusive, violate team policies or are detrimental in any way. Individual team policies must be approved by the CAHA Hockey Director to ensure consistency with CAHA and USA Hockey policy and philosophy.