The Natick Comets hockey program was established in 1952 and has been providing a positive youth hockey, learning, social, and sportsmanship experience for Comets participants for 64 years.

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The notice below is to inform you about the Natick Comets Hockey Club Travel Program.  The Travel Program is a fun and competitive program for players who desire to bring their hockey skills and interest in hockey to a higher level. Players in this program will typically skate 2 to 3 times per week, with practices or skill sessions on weeknights and games on weekends. Travel teams may also participate in tournaments and playoffs (League, District or State).

The Comets offer both a Youth and Girls Travel Programs. Youth and Girls Teams for the Mite, Squirt, PeeWee, Bantam, Midget, U8, U10, U12, U14, and U18 season will be selected by tryout in March/April before the start of the season.  All practices are at the William Chase Arena while most games will be played at rinks in the Eastern Mass area.  The travel program emphasizes individual and team skills development, as well as sportsmanship and character development.

General Information

Travel-team tryouts will be open to all players with basic skills upon fulfillment of registration requirements. The registration/tryout fee is non-refundable unless a player is unable to be placed on a team. If a player is placed on and becomes a member of a team, a portion of the registration/tryout fee will be credited against the total tuition cost for that team.

Players wishing to play travel hockey should make the Comets Travel Program their primary commitment from September through March. Travel hockey requires a significant commitment of time and effort by not only the players, but also parents and, especially, coaches. If you make a team, we expect you to be a part of that team and attend a reasonable number of practices and games.

Registrations will be accepted up to and including the first day of Tryouts. After the first tryout session for a specific level, players may not be allowed to register and tryout.

Skaters can only tryout at their age level.  You may also check the Comets Website, and signs posted at the rink, for travel team tryout dates, times and locations.

The number of teams the Comets will field for Travel at each level will depend on BOTH the number of players who register/tryout for Travel Hockey, player ability and available ice time (practice and games). Furthermore, the number of travel team slots available at each level may not coincide with the number of players trying out.  This and all player placement decisions are solely at the discretion of the Player Evaluation Committee and the Comets Board of Directors.

Tryout Process

Each tryout session will be run by the Player Evaluation Committee, who will choose at least two independent evaluators for each level. The evaluators may be past or present Comet coaches or hockey qualified Comet members. Outside evaluators may be hired to assist with the player evaluation. 

Initially, players may be split alphabetically by last name and group assignments will be posted on the Comets web.  All players will be given numbered practice jerseys to wear over their hockey jerseys during the tryout. Players will return the jerseys after each tryout session but will keep the same number for each session.  Groups may be rearranged following each of the tryout sessions.  After each tryout session, group assignments will be posted on the Natick Comets web-site. 

The first session of tryouts will be skills. After the first skills session there will be two scrimmage-type sessions.  During each of these three sessions the players will be rated. 

In order to maximize the use of the ice, each player should be dressed and ready to skate 10 minutes prior to his or her session.

Ratings

Players will be rated on a variety of skills depending on the level. The following is a list of skills, which will be used to score players. The following list is all-inclusive therefore; skills may be combined in any variety depending on the drills used for evaluation and/or each individual evaluator. 

Forward Start – Acceleration – Forward Skating – Backward Skating – Balance - Crossovers – Stopping –Turns – Shooting – Puck Handling – Situational Play - Ice Sense/Vision – Read and React – Anticipation – Positional Play

Note: The number of goals a player scores during scrimmage play does not necessarily mean he/she will receive high ratings for that tryout session. At the higher levels, ratings are based on overall skill, performance and knowledge of the game. All of the factors listed above contribute to the overall rating. The same holds true for physical play. Body checking and aggressiveness are but two of a myriad of factors to be considered.  Encouraging your son/daughter to play more physically aggressive than would be the norm or appropriate for game like situations or to focus on scoring goals will not be advantageous to their rating. In fact, overemphasis on one or just a few aspects of the game will lead to an overall decreased rating as the tryout is designed to identify the complete talents of each player.

Tryout Absences

The number of teams at each level has not been determined. Therefore, players should not miss tryouts as the number of teams as well as the teams themselves will be formed based on both the number of players registered for tryouts and player ability.  

Any player who registers and misses two tryout sessions without a valid reason or any player who is forced to miss all three tryouts due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. a valid reason), will be placed by the Player Evaluation Committee.  

All reasons for missing tryouts must be submitted to the Natick Comets in writing before tryouts begin.

Any player who fails to register or pay the registration fee, misses tryouts or any player new to the program after tryouts are complete, and is without another place to play hockey, will be placed on the lowest team for his/herlevel– if there is room.  There may be an opportunity to move up during the season.

Any player who withdraws from the Travel Program after tryouts are complete and teams have been formed may not rejoin the Program for that season unless there are extenuating circumstances as concluded by the Board of Directors and the player has no other place to play hockey.

Excused absences will consist of:    

- Medical Reason: Injury or illness must be accompanied by a physician’s note.  If a player becomes ill during the week of tryouts, please notify the Natick Comets.

- Planned Vacation or other Prior Commitment: Notify the Natick Comets in writing.

Player rating with Excused Absence:

A player who misses a tryout session with an excused absence will receive 75% of his/her best nights rating from the sessions they were present. 

Goalies

Players trying out as Goalies are expected to play goal for the team that they are placed on. Teams with two goalies will split goalie-playing time equally – as determined by the coach.

Players may try out as both a skater and a goalie if they are not sure they want to commit to being a full-time goalie.  This is not encouraged at the PeeWee or higher levels.  Anyone deciding to tryout as both must attend all goalie and skater sessions.  After tryouts are complete, the players/parents will be asked which position should be considered for placement. 

Any player trying out and making a team as a goalie - must play as a goalie on that team. 

Should the player decide he/she does not want to be a goalie after the teams are made:

- First year players (new to the level) will be placed on the last team as a skater regardless of where he/she placed the previous year – providing there is room.  There may be an opportunity to move up during “parity”.

Example:  Player A played Peewee 1 this year; he's moving to Bantams and wants to tryout as a goalie. He makes the Bantam 2 team. One month into the season he decides he does NOT want to play goalie anymore.  He will be placed as a skater on the lowest Bantam team.

- Second year players; will be placed one team LOWER than what he/she played the previous year – providing there is room.

Example:  Player B played Squirt A this year. He wants to tryout as a goalie for next year. He makes the Squirt C team as a goalie. One month into the season he decides he does NOT a want to play goalie anymore.  He will be placed as a skater on the Squirt B team.  Any player trying out as a goalie and making a team other than the LAST team, will NOT be allowed to choose to play solely as a skater on that team.

Should the player decide he/she does not want to tryout as a goalie after tryouts have begun:

- After the first night – will be given 75% of his/her highest score as a skater
- After the second night – will be given 75% of his/her third night score for the previous two nights.
- After the third night – will be placed by the player selection committee – if there is room.

Siblings

Parents of siblings that make different travel teams may elect to have both siblings play together on the lower of the teams. Siblings can also be left on different teams.

Team Creation

Player selection for Travel teams will be conducted by the Player Evaluation Committee based on these player tryout ratings and coach evaluations.  Teams will be posted on the Natick Comets web-site. At each level, teams should consist of no more than 15 skaters and 2 goalies. The Player Evaluation Committee and the Comets Board will only divert from these guidelines if circumstances prove unavoidable to alter the number of players per team. The determining factors for the number of players per team will be BOTH the number of players trying out for spots on travel teams and players skill level.

Other factors may impact the placement of players and creation of teams.  Each season, coaches fill out player evaluations, which include ratings on: game and practice attendance, team attitude and behavior.  These player evaluations may be used in order that we may put the best possible team together at a given level.  Primary player position may also be considered at Pee Wee and higher levels.

The previous year’s team assignment does not guarantee a spot at that level or a higher level, although the Comet Program makes every attempt to make it possible for players to progress to higher levels to match their player development. Any case when a player moves to a lower level will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The Comets will do their best to properly place all the players.  In cases where a level increases the number of teams from one year to the next, going from the lowest team to the new lowest team is not considered moving down.

Second Year Players

If a player is entering his/her second year within a level and scores substantially similarly in the tryout process to a player entering that level for the first time, added consideration will be given to the second year player. 

Coaching

Coach selection is based on a number of factors including, hockey experience, coaching experience, coach evaluations, interviews (as needed) and the number of applicants. 

Travel team coaches will be required to have the appropriate certification with USA Hockey. 

Immediately following the player selection process, the Coach Selection Committee will meet to finalize the coaches for each team. The Coach Selection Committee will contact the head coach of each team and offer the opportunity. If accepted, the head coach will be provided the list of his/her possible assistant coaches and roster. It will be the responsibility of the head coach to select his/her assistant coaches (pending Board approval) and notify the players.

General Comments

We recognize that there is no perfect tryout process and the guidelines documented above do not cover all possible conditions or scenarios. We understand that some players tryout well and others don't and some players that don't tryout well may have intangible attributes that make them good hockey players. Each year a few players end up disappointed in their placement and questions persist regarding the evaluation process in general. This is the case as tryouts are by nature, subjective. We look forward to seeing you at tryouts. Please refer to the main page and “Forms” section via this site for registration details. If you have any concerns or questions about tryouts (excused absences, illness, etc), please contact the Vice President of Player Development.