Parent's Guide

BBYHA Parent and Player Expectations

Playing Hockey as a Youth Athlete

American Development Model

The Bloomington Blades Youth Hockey Association endorses the USA Hockey American Development Model. The ADM provides age-appropriate guidelines that are intended to help our kids enjoy hockey and develop their skills in a way that is appropriate for their stage of development. For more information on the American Development Model, visit our ADM information page.

Age-appropriate hockey: Should my child "play up"?

In almost all cases, children should play in the age group . The BBYHA endorses and follows the USA Hockey player age classifications and philosophies. USA Hockey has done extensive research on the appropriate developmental progression of youth hockey players, with a focus on long-term development. There are rare exceptions, but "playing up" is not in the best interest of a child's development as a hockey player, results in less game ice time and critical "puck touches," and also exposes the child to increased chance of injury. USA Hockey recently published a couple of good articles on this subject: 10U: Should My Child Be 'Playing Up' and 8U Q-and-A: Racing to Adulthood.

Other Reading for Parents

Hockey Gear in Bloomington

Travel players will generally want to purchase their own equipment. Check with your team manager, who may be able to help you find someone else's outgrown gear. Many parents offer up outgrown but still usable hockey gear at our beginning-of-season gatherings and we are working to develop a new approach to making this sustainable throughout the year.

Rental gear is primarily intended for house players, but any travel player wanting to rent equipment may do so subject to availability. Please contact your team manager for more information.


All travel hockey players must be registered with USA Hockey and BBYHA. These two registrations need to be complete before practices begin for the season (August). Your child will not be permitted to practice unless USA Hockey and BBYHA registrations have been completed.

All 8U, 10U, and 12U division Bloomington Blades Travel players must also register for Bloomington Parks and Rec House Hockey.

Practice and Tournaments

10U/12U/14U teams begin practice in Columbus, IN, in August.

Seeding for the Buckeye Hockey League begins in September.

Practice in Bloomington for all age groups begins in October, as does House Hockey for 8U/10U/12U players.

The number of travel games each year varies depending on age group.