Frequently Asked Questions
1. What program is right for my skater?
The right program will depend on your skater's age, skill level, and interest. Amherst Hockey Association (AHA) has many programs for interested skaters.
Learn to Skate and Learn to Play (beginner programs, 8 years old and younger): These programs start the first weekend in November and end in March. Learn to Skate takes place on Saturday afternoons primarily at the Mullins Center practice facility at UMass. Learn to Play takes place on Saturday afternoons with cross-ice games on Sunday mornings at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, MA.
Co-Ed Travel Teams (age 6 to 17): These teams compete in the Greater Springfield Junior Hockey League (GSL). Each team typically plays 35-50 games and has more than 100 hours of ice time during the September through March season. This includes tournaments and independent games that are scheduled throughout Massachusetts, North Central Connecticut, Vermont, western New Hampshire, and northeast New York.
Girls In-House Team (ages 8 and up): The girls in-house team is for older girls who are new to hockey and are not yet ready to play on a travel team.
Girls Travel Teams - part-time (ages vary from year to year): These teams will be part-time for the 2018-19 season to allow girls to continue playing on their existing co-ed or girls' travel teams. Teams compete in the Connecticut Girls Hockey League (CGHL) and will typically play 15 games. Teams are open to newer and advanced skaters.
Girls Travel Teams - full-time (14U): Starting in the 2019-20 season, we offer a full-time 14U girls’ team to compete in the Connecticut Girls Hockey League (CGHL). Evaluations will be held in March. For more information on this team, please contact our Girls Division Director, Karen Skolfield [
2. When does hockey season start and end?
Our travel season runs from September through March. Learn to Skate, Learn to Play and Girls In-House programs run November through March.
3. What is the time commitment? How many times will each team skate each week?
Learn to Skate players practice 1 hour every Saturday. Learn to Play players pactice 1 hour every Saturday and play 1 game on Sunday morning.
Girls In-House players should plan on 1-2 practices per week and 2 games per season.
Travel players should plan on 2-3 practices per week and 1-2 games per week. In most cases, practices will take place during the week and games take place on the weekends. Part-time teams practice 1-2 times per month.
4. What rinks does Amherst Hockey Association use?
Our programs are conducted primarily at the Mullins Center Practice Rink and Mullins Main Arena on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Other rinks used include: Orr Rink at Amherst College, Fitzpatrick Rink in Holyoke, and Collins-Moylan Rink in Greenfield.
5. Do you have to live in Amherst to skate for Amherst Hockey Association?
No. Our program serves youth from a wide range of Massachusetts communities, including Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Hatfield, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, Hatfield, Ware, Northampton, plus additional surrounding towns.
6. What if my skater cannot make it to every game or practice?
We understand that youth hockey might not be the only activity that your child is involved in. We do ask that players on youth travel teams communicate to their coaches any conflicts with a practice or game in advance to provide adequate time to make adjustments.
7. What equipment will my skater need?
All skaters must have an HECC approved hockey helmet with cage/face mask, shin pads, elbow pads, gloves, ice skates, hockey stick and jersey (practice jerseys are provided; however, travel players must purchase home and away game jerseys). Learn to skate players may use regular winter gloves.
Learn to Play, Girls In-House and travel players must also have: shoulder pads, hockey pants, and hockey socks (provided for Girls In-House and travel players). Hockey under-shorts with athletic supporter/cup are strongly encouraged (the shorts will have velcro patches that serve to hold up the hockey socks).
AHA will hold 2-3 used gear sales in late summer/fall. The dates will be announced on the AHA homepage and through email communications to the members.
8. What color should my skater's equipment be?
The official AHA uniform is a white helmet, red pants, and red, white, or blue gloves. Socks are white with red and blue stripes.
9. Are there required fundraisers?
Yes, our fundraising efforts help us to control association fees and allow us to defer other organizational costs incurred throughout the course of a season.
10. Will I have to volunteer my time to the Association?
The AHA is a non-profit organization that relies on parent and community volunteers. Your help is a great way to get involved and meet other families in the Association. We operate a coffee table at Amherst College hockey games that we ask families to staff. Additional volunteers are needed throughout the season for tournaments and community events.
11. How can I be more involved with the Association?
Coach: We are always looking for coaches at all levels. All coaches are volunteers. Even if you cannot skate we can use your help on the bench during games.
Team Manager: This individual helps with team communications and ad hoc team/game preparation.
Contact the board for opportunities to help!
12. I have more questions that are not covered on this FAQ list. Where can I go for answers?
Visit our AHA Contacts web page to find additional contact information.