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Important Information

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NEW Waiver Policy

As you are aware, Minnesota Hockey has implemented a new Waiver Rule, which will be effective starting the 2024-25 season. The waiver process is a MN Hockey required process that is specific to skaters at any youth association level who do not live within the Orono School District boundaries and desire to register as a skater with the Orono Youth Hockey Association (OYHA). This rule is crucial for us to understand and navigate.

OYHA would like to clarify key elements of this new process to ensure you are fully informed and prepared for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

  • All registered OYHA players who received a waiver exemption before the upcoming 2024-25 season are grandfathered in and remain eligible to play for OYHA.
  • However, effective immediately, if a registered OYHA player on a waiver exemption elects to leave Orono public schools to attend another school outside the district or does not play for OYHA, the player will revert to the youth hockey association of their residence.
  • ExIf a player who lives in Wayzata Public School District, but open enrolls in Orono Public Schools, elects to leave Orono for another school outside the district, this player will fall under the purview of the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association
  •  Under this scenario, if a previously OYHA registered player reverts to their youth hockey Association of Residence but wishes to continue playing with the OYHA, the player may apply for a waiver exemption, but only before the beginning of their first year as a Squirt or 10U.
  • Important NotePer Minnesota Hockey's new waiver rule, Mite players ARE NOT ELIGIBLE to apply for Waivers permitting their release to another Association.
  • Ex. If a Mite-aged player lives within the Wayzata School District, but open enrolls in Orono Public Schools, this player is expected to play within the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association and cannotapply for a waiver until his/her first year of Squirts or 1OU.
  • Possible OYHA Exemption: For all Mite-Aged players with siblings registered with OYHA, OYHA recommends following this Discretionary Waivers process described below.
  • For players impacted by the process described above, but wanting to play within OYHA, a conditional process of Discretionary Waivers may apply. This process is as follows:
  • The player must initiate contact with the Registrar from their Association of Residence and formally request a waiver releasing the player to OYHA

NOTE: OYHA has no control or influence over another Association's decision to sign a waiver permitting a player's release to OYHA

  • Once an Association signs the waiver form and permits their release, the signed form must beforwarded along with proof of enrollment at Orono Public Schools to
  • Once the OYHA Registrar receives the signed waiver form, OYHA will confirm the player's release from their Association of Residence and conduct its due diligence, including verifying all paperwork andinformation, before forwarding it to District 3 Officials for approval.

Note: if all requirements are not satisfied and/or incorrect information is provided, OYHA will not seek District 3 approval. If it is found that a player is registered using a fraudulent address or fraudulent school enrollment, the player will not be allowed to play Orono Hockey and all ice fees and registration fees will be forfeited.

  •  OYHA reserves the right to evaluate this new process, and these recommendations will be subject to change after the 2024-25 season.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the mechanics of this new rule.

Neck Guards

The USA Hockey Congress approved legislation at its Winter Meeting on Jan. 28, 2024, that will require use of neck laceration protection (sometimes referred to as neck guards) for players in all age classifications, other than adults, in games and practices -- as well as for on-ice officials under the age of 18 -- beginning August 1, 2024. For clarity, this includes youth, girls and junior age classifications. USA Hockey continues to strongly recommend the use of neck laceration protectors for adult players. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

When does the requirement for neck laceration protection go into effect?

USA Hockey will require the use of neck laceration protection on August 1, 2024, for players in all age classifications, except adults, in games and practices – as well as for on-ice officials under the age of 18. 

What age levels is the requirement for?

Neck laceration protectors are required for players in all age classifications except adults. For clarity, this includes youth, girls and junior age classifications. Please see page 14 of the 2023-24 USA Hockey Annual Guide for the birth years associated with each age classification for the 2023-24 season. The requirement also includes on-ice officials under the age of 18. 

Are neck guards required for players competing in USA Hockey’s six disabled hockey disciplines?

Neck laceration protectors are required for all six disabled hockey disciplines.

Where is the best place for me to buy a neck laceration protector?

When registering for team apparel this year, neck guards will be available to all players to purchase. Pure Hockey is an additional resource.

What is the penalty for not wearing a neck laceration protector?

Rule enforcement will be the same as any other equipment violation: an initial team warning followed by a 10-minute misconduct penalty for any violations after the initial warning.

How can coaches and parents help with this new equipment requirement?

Coaches and parents will play an important role in helping make sure that players and officials are properly equipped before heading out to the ice for both practices and games, including wearing appropriate neck laceration protection that is not altered.

Why is USA Hockey now requiring neck laceration protectors? 

USA Hockey has always been concerned about lacerations from a skate blade to all vulnerable areas including the neck and has recommended wearing a neck laceration protector that covers as much of the neck as possible along with cut resistant socks, sleeves, and undergarments.  

The USA Hockey Safety and Protective Equipment Committee (SPEC), at the request of the USA Hockey Board of Directors, started looking at potential rule modifications related to neck laceration protection in November 2023 and ultimately the USA Hockey Congress passed new legislation related to neck laceration protection at its January 2024 Winter Meeting.

What is the best neck laceration protector to use? Does it matter what kind I buy?

Choose a neck laceration protector that covers as much of the exposed neck area as possible and is worn properly without alteration.

If my parent signs a waiver giving me permission not to wear neck laceration protection, can I play without it?


Will a neck laceration protector prevent me from getting cut?

There is still risk of injury when wearing a neck laceration protector, as with other protective equipment. No one piece of equipment can 100% prevent an injury from happening, but we can reduce the risk of injury by wearing proper fitting equipment without altering it in any way.

Can I make my own neck guard?

Players are required to wear a neck laceration protector that is commercially designed and manufactured for that purpose.

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