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Programs/FAQs

About the IYHL

Established in 1969, the Irish Youth Hockey League is a non-profit, volunteer run organization that operates youth ice hockey programs for the Michiana area.  Over 550 children participated in IYHL programs last season.

Facilities:  The IYHL utilizes three area ice arenas with a total of five sheets of ice. 

  • The Ice Box Skating Rink located in South Bend boasts two rinks, eight locker rooms, a concession stand, pro-shop and wireless internet. 
  • The Compton Family Ice Arena is a state of the art facility located on the University of Notre Dame campus.  Home to the Fighting Irish Hockey program, it houses two ice sheets.  Michael McNeill, director of hockey operations, is a former NHL, Notre Dame, and IYHL player who works closely with the league.
  • Merrifield Park is an outdoor rink located in Mishawaka

  
Levels of Hockey:  The IYHL serves children ages 4-14 and is affiliated with USA Hockey, the governing body of youth hockey in the United States.  All new players, regardless of their age, must attend the “Learn to Play” clinic.  This clinic, offered in September and January, is an eight week program that teaches the fundamentals of skating and the game of hockey.  Rental equipment is available for players new to hockey, but does not include ice hockey skates. Following are the divisions and their ages: 

  • 6U (Mini- Mites) - ages 4-6
  • 8U (Mites) - ages 7-8
  • 10U (Squirts) - ages 9-10
  • 12U (Peewee) - ages 11-12
  • 14U (Bantam) - ages 13-14
  • Girls Hockey (all ages)

Skaters must meet the age requirements for each division by January 1st.  For more information on Age Classifications - Check out our Age Classification page


House Division:  The house season for the IYHL begins at the end of October with evaluations and runs into early March. The house leagues provide a recreational learning environment for experienced players (at minimum have participated in a "Learn to Play" skating session).  All house teams practice and play at the local rinks in the South Bend area (primarily Notre Dame and the Icebox). The IYHL follows the USA Hockey ADM model for all age divisions.  Players have 1-2 practices and one game per week throughout most of the season.   ADM Analytics

Expected costs: House league fees for the full season can range from approximately $350 (6U), $500 (8U) to $600 (10U, 12U, 14U).  These figures can change per season depending on ice costs and the number of league participants.  The Fall Camp runs in September/October for IYHL House league players who want an early start on the winter season.  It costs an additional $160.  Payments are made with a required deposit at registration and scheduled auto-payments before the season starts (an option to pay the entire amount is available during registration).


Full-Time Travel (AA & A Rover's): The IYHL offers full-time travel hockey teams. These teams play in the Northern Illinois Hockey League (www.nihl.info) and are available to players in the Squirt (ages 9-10), Pee Wee (ages 11-12) and Bantam (ages 13-14) age groups. Tryouts are held at the end of August and the travel schedule will run from September until March. Players can expect to play 35-45 games in a season along with a minimum of 2 practices during the week.  Parents should expect to have games every weekend of the season (this is not always the case but it should be planned for).  Most games will be played in/around the Chicagoland area (in addition to possible tournaments in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio).  NIHL places teams in either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Elite divisions based on team ability. The IYHL strives for the Elite division each year. Based on interest levels, the IYHL may support a second full-time travel team in each age division.

Expected costs: Full time travel hockey can reach $2000 or more per season (ice fees, USA hockey dues, NIHL dues, tournament entry fees, uniforms, etc.).  Players must register online for tryouts.  If a player makes a team, uniforms will be measured and paid for before the season starts.  In addition, they will register online for their team and pay a $500 deposit along with scheduled monthly auto-payments for the travel season (base fees for travel is $1350 - $1500 total).  A final assessment may be needed at the end of the season to pay off each individual's outstanding balance if the team goes over it's original budget.  Each travel team's costs will vary with the amount of ice they use (practices/games) and the number of tournaments they participate in.  Travel and lodging are the guardian's responsibility.  They are not included with the cost.


Part-Time Travel (Select Teams "Blue" and "Green"): The league also offers a part-time travel hockey program or Select Travel Hockey for the Mite, Squirt, Pee Wee and Bantam divisions. The Select teams are made up of IYHL house league players with only 1 team guaranteed to be formed per age division (depending on participation levels).  Players can expect an additional practice per week (separate from their House League obligations) outdoors as weather/schedule allow.  Tryouts occur in November after house league has started play and the teams will participate in 4-5 regional tournaments (one which is outside the South Bend area).  In addition, the Select teams will play other programs from the region (Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Kalamazoo) that will match up evenly from a skill standpoint.  Players should expect an additional 15-18 travel games in addition to their regular house league commitments (normally 14-16 games).   Mite teams can expect more out of town tournaments as competition is difficult to find locally.  All teams should expect a few overnight stays during the select season at minimum.

Expected costs: Select players can reach $700 per season (select team fees, USA hockey dues, tournament entry fees, uniforms, etc.) in addition to their house league fees.  If a player makes a team, uniforms will be measured and paid for before the select season starts.  In addition, they will register online for their team and pay a deposit along with scheduled auto-payments for the select season (November - February).  A final assessment may be needed at the end of the season to pay off each individual's outstanding balance if the team goes over it's original budget. Each select team's costs will vary with the amount of ice they use (practices/games) and the number of tournaments they participate in.  Travel and lodging are the guardian's responsibility.  They are not included with the cost.


Roles on the Travel Team's:
Head Coach
Asst. Coach(es)
Team Manager - the team manager helps coordinate scheduling of ice time (league games and tournaments), travel arrangements/hotels and other logistical parts for the team.  They will post the schedule on the website for the team.  The team manager works with the coaches, IYHL and NIHL to make sure everyone is on the same page.