King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey’s tryout and team placement process is thorough, well-structured, anonymous and meticulous, meant to assess all players critically relative to their peers.
Players in most divisions participate in three separate sessions — typically a skills session followed by two scrimmages — where they will be evaluated by KPW’s experienced coaches.
Like all other youth hockey programs, KPW rosters teams based on skill and experience, so our ‘A’ teams are composed of the most experienced and skilled players, while the 'B' and 'B2' teams are composed of players with less experience. This policy is meant to provide each player with the appropriate level of competition, since the leagues in which we participate and the teams we play are organized similarly.
Here are some other frequently asked questions about KPW, our coaches, the tryout process and other key items.
Why should my player join King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey?
KPW is a non-profit, community hockey organization for boys and girls from Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole and Wrentham, Mass., with a history dating to 1970. Our players range in age from pre-kindergarten through high school, and we offer a range of teams at each age level to allow players the opportunity to play at an appropriate skill level, up through highly competitive 'A' teams. Each year, our teams regularly contend for state, district and league championships, at every age group and level, while our coaches focus on the individual development of every player.
KPW strives to provide each player an opportunity to play the game they love with their friends, neighbors and classmates, in a fun, safe and competitive environment, and improve their skills and hockey knowledge along the way. We take pride in representing our local communities and work hard to build strong bonds between our program, our families, our towns and our local high schools. We are committed to providing the best hockey experience for each child who pulls on a KPW sweater and every year we take strides to continue improving the program.
In particular, KPW seeks to...
- Provide the appropriate level of competition for each player in the program as part of our affiliation with the South Shore Conference, Middlesex Yankee Conference Girls Hockey League and Metro South Hockey League.
- Encourage teams to participate in local and travel tournaments that range from events in Foxboro and Needham, to those held in Lake Placid, NY, Jay Peak, VT, Waterville Valley, NH, and other locations.
- Supplement team practices with additional skills development from professional hockey organizations such as Driscoll Skills, StopIt Goaltending, and others.
- Partner with local high school programs to build community bonds and support our extended ice hockey community.
- Improve the skills and knowledge of all our coaches through the USA Hockey certification and education process.
- Participate in the Massachusetts Hockey district and state tournaments.
- Ensure all tuition money is invested into the program and the players – all our board members and coaches are non-paid volunteers.
Tuition, payment and eligibility
How much will the season cost?
Tuition varies based on age group, and will be released by mid-March.
Does the entire tuition need to be paid at once?
No. KPW requires an initial payment of roughly 40 percent of the total in early April, and no players will be placed on teams without this first payment. The remaining tuition will be due in equal payments May 31 and July 15.
Can I pay with a credit card?
Yes, and this is the easiest method. After submitting your credit card payment information for the first tuition payment, the credit card processing system automatically charges your credit card for the ensuing payments.
What if I would like to spread my payments out over a longer period of time?
If you have a financial hardship or unique situation that presents challenges in meeting the payment schedule, the Board of Directors might consider offering an extended payment play. Please contact our treasurer to make arrangements.
Do I have to purchase any other equipment, such as jerseys, pant shells, helmets or warmup gear?
No. Any color pants, helmets and equipment will be fine. Jerseys and socks are included in the KPW tuition. Other merchandise, such as team warmups, are available for purchase separately.
What costs does the tuition pay?
As a nonprofit program, KPW is diligent about controlling the costs our families bear so our children can enjoy playing youth hockey. We don’t spend frivolously and do not pay any overhead costs to hire people like hockey directors or other support staff who do little more than cost money without adding value. All of KPW’s board of directors, coaches and team managers are volunteers, allowing us to focus on the essential elements of youth hockey — such as ice rental and equipment — as well as introducing other specialized features that add value to the hockey experience — such as professional coaches to run skills sessions or goalie training.
I don’t live in Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole or Wrentham. Can my player still join KPW?
Yes. USA Hockey and Mass Hockey rules allow for players from outside our member towns to participate in KPW, and we often have players from neighboring towns join us.
Who coaches the teams?
KPW believes our coaches are first and foremost teachers of life, who happen to teach on a frozen sheet of ice. All teams are coached by volunteers who must complete rigid USA Hockey standards, which include a variety of in-person clinics, on-ice training, off-ice study materials, CORI certification and SafeSport education about other issues related to player development and team dynamics. In addition, the KPW board of directors holds in-person coaching development sessions and provides a library of materials to help with practice planning, skills development and coaching theory.
Volunteer coaches? Aren't paid coaches better than volunteers?
Many privately owned programs tout the value of paid coaching staffs, but as a community-based nonprofit organization, KPW believes volunteer coaches provide a higher level of dedication and commitment to our players and families. This reduces the cost of hockey for all players, since all tuition money is used to cover only necessary costs, such as ice rentals, uniforms, equipment and specialty coaches to help with skills sessions.
What are the coaches' playing backgrounds?
KPW coaches, like those of any other program, have mixed backgrounds, whether they previously played professionally, in college, in high school or on frozen ponds. In collaboration with USA Hockey's high standards and robust coaching education program, KPW strives to ensure all coaches, regardless of their background, can serve as role models for our young student-athletes.
Tryouts and team placement
What is the tryout and team placement process?
The tryout and team placement process includes five general steps:
- Register for tryouts
- Participate in the skills session and scrimmages. Some levels only have scrimmages
- Register for the upcoming season
- Submit initial tuition payment
- Team rosters are announced in early April
Note: Registration for tryouts is separate from registration for the season, and players must do both to be placed on a team.
How are players assessed?
Each player is evaluated by KPW’s experienced coaches over the course of the tryout sessions. Six coaches typically participate in each session, ensuring all players are thoroughly assessed. In addition, current players are evaluated by their current coaches to provide as complete a picture as possible of every player.
Why are tryouts held so early?
Properly preparing for the coming season demands a significant amount of time and effort, and everything begins with the teams we will have. By completing the team assignment process at the end of this season, players are competing at their highest level and the program can be prepared for the season to begin in late August.
What group should my player join?
To ensure teams are properly balanced, players will be assigned to specific groups for the first two sessions (the skills session and first scrimmage), and players are re-assigned for the second scrimmage. We usually post the initial assignments two or three days before the first day of tryouts, and expect to post the assignments for the final scrimmage games two days before that date.
My player is injured and cannot participate in tryouts. How does team placement work in this case?
Each year a number of players unfortunately are injured and cannot participate at all in tryouts. In these cases, we have to rely more on the evaluation of the player’s current season and attempt to place the player on the same team as his or her peers. If players joining KPW for the first time cannot attend tryouts, we typically wait to place them until the beginning of the season, so they can regain their health and skate with the teams already composed to determine the best fit.
What drills do you use during the tryout skills sessions?
You can view the tryout drills here.
Will my player be penalized for missing a session?
No. Whether because of injury, sickness or some other conflict, we know players do miss sessions. The scores are averaged, not incremented, so missing a session does not penalize a player. Attending all of the sessions, though, allows our coaches to get a more thorough view of each player.
How are players placed on teams?
Coaches' assessments for current players, weighted based on how a player ranks on his or her team, are computed along with the average score of the evaluations from each of the tryout sessions. These data points are combined and players are rostered based on the number of teams appropriate for the number of players who will be participating.
How many teams will KPW have at each division?
The number of teams we offer in each division depends on the number and composition of players who join the program. Depending on the age group, we typically have 12-16 players per team.
Do coaches choose the teams?
No. Placing players comes first, and coaches aren’t assigned until after the teams are completed.
When will team rosters be announced?
The board of directors expects to have team rosters announced by mid-April.
Why do I have to pay next year's tuition before my player is placed on a team?
KPW is committed to the players who are committed to the program. The tryout and team placement process takes hundreds of volunteer hours to complete, and KPW’s long-time policy is to place only those players who want to play on a KPW team. This policy prevents roster disruptions that follow when players have to be removed, replaced or moved.