House League General Information (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

PrintHouse League General Information

This page provides general information on the setup, structure, and scheduling of the Oakville Rangers House League. Please note this information discusses House League in general. Refer to the Registration Information Page for updates specific to the current or upcoming season.

The Recreational Stream, also known as House League, is a recreational level of play offered to players 7 years old and older. Typically House League consists of one practice per week as well as one or two games per week (depending on the Division). The season begins in early October, runs until late March, and is capped off with Playoffs, Championships, and Awards. Listed below is detailed information regarding the:

  • House League Schedule
  • Pre-Season and Evaluations
  • Team Formation and the Drafting Process
  • Tiers and Placement
  • Becoming a Volunteer

The House League Schedule
The ORHC works hard to post the House League schedule as early as possible and our goal is to have it posted to the ORHC website by the end of August or early September each year. With thousands of players on well over a hundred House League teams, on the ice an average of twice a week, and scattered across 8 arenas and 17 ice surfaces... Creating this schedule is a massive, lengthy project with many factors and several moving parts that all must be taken in to account. Please note that once the schedule is posted it will be tentative and subject to change without notice until October 31st.

The House League season typically begins in early October and runs until late March, with Evaluations and Pre-Season being held in mid to late September. The typical House League season can be broken down in to four components:

  • Pre-Season Evaluations (mid to late September)
  • Drafting and Team Formation (late September)
  • Regular Season (October to March)
  • Playoffs and Championships (following March Break)

Pre-Season and Evaluations
Player evaluation can be one of the most difficult tasks for a Minor Hockey Association to deal with. It is the foundation on which House League is built. Evaluations give our coaches a starting point to determine where players are at skill wise, thus enabling them to not only select players to the proper Tiers but also beginning the process of utilizing the evaluations as a tool for coaches to develop players based on their individual strengths and weaknesses.

The objective of the Evaluations is to provide a fair and impartial assessment of a player's total hockey skills. The goal is to ensure that players have a reasonable opportunity of being selected to a team appropriate to their skill levels. We provide coaches with the opportunity and flexibility to build a team based on their own coaching philosophy and knowledge of player skills and attitude, and our coaches understand that they must form teams that maintain balanced and competitive play where the kids can develop and participate equitably and have fun playing hockey.

The House League evaluations are a critical component to creating competitively balanced, fair and equitable Divisions within the Association. Whether your Division is conducting an Evaluation Skate or a Pre-Season, please ensure you make the effort to attend at your designated time(s). All Players will be emailed prior to the Evaluations with your exact Dates, Times, and details and the information will also be posted on the ORHC Website – check back regularly for updates. If your Division’s evaluation is within 48 hours and you have not received an email advising you of your exact details please contact the ORHC Office for assistance.

You must be registered for the current season to attend the Evaluations!

The ORHC primarily utilizes two methodologies to complete the House League Evaluations - Evaluation Skates and Pre-Season Exhibition:

Evaluation Skates

Evaluation skates are typically held for the younger Divisions, where there is not such a drastic difference between the top and bottom players and it is not as complex to evaluate the players, and in the older Divisions where the majority of the coaches have at least a few years experience in the Division and, for the most part, are already familiar with the players in the Division. The Evaluation Skates can be held in a number of fashions and will vary from season to season depending on ice availability and the number of players, but typically they will include a separate goalie session and one or two skates for the players. Players will be divided into groups for each session. The date and time range of the Evaluation Skates will be posted on the website a few weeks prior, and later each player will receive an email with their specific times and dates. If your Division's evaluations are 48 hours or less away and you have yet to be sent an exact evaluation time contact the ORHC Office for assistance ASAP

Pre-Season Exhibition

The ORHC Pre-Season was successfully introduced in the 2019/20 season. In the Pre-Season, all the Division players are divided into groups based on the previous season's Coach Evaluation to play a small series of Exhibition Games. Each of the Division coaches will be given an opportunity to look at every single kid in their Division, as well as the bubble kids between the divisions. The idea here is that this time will allow the coaches to become very familiar with all of the kids in the Division, which should make for an informed Draft and truly balanced teams following the Draft.

Ideally the Pre-Season will be held in a single weekend using a Tournament format, and the Division Drafts would follow immediately after. We would hold Goalie Specific Evaluations for the goalies and a Skills Session for the players on the Friday then each player would play 1-2 games on the Saturday and 1-2 games on the Sunday - all in the same arena. This approach allows all the coaches to come together in a single place, making for a very clean and smooth process. That is, of course, very dependant on ice availability. This structure is not a guarantee, but it is the template the ORHC will build on when planning the Pre-Season.

If your Division has a Pre-Season evaluation the ORHC will inform you of the schedule and the structure well in advance. All coaches are expected to attend all Pre-Season sessions for their Division. The date range of the Pre-Season will be posted to the ORHC website several weeks in advance, and a few days prior to the first game each player will receive an email with their specific Pre-Season schedule. If your Division's Pre-Season begins in 48 hours or less and you have yet to be sent your specific schedule contact the ORHC Office for assistance ASAP.

The objectives of Player Evaluation, both the Evaluation Skates and the Pre-Season, are to provide a fair and impartial assessment of a player’s total hockey skills during individual technical skills demonstrations and scrimmage/exhibition sessions. We must ensure that all players have a reasonable opportunity of being fairly assessed prior to the draft. Coaches are provided with the opportunity and flexibility to build a team based in part on their own coaching philosophy, and to form teams that will maintain balanced and competitive play within the Division, where the players can develop and participate equitably, while having fun playing hockey. The ORHC has the final say and authority in all player placement.

Which Divisions use which methodology can change from season to season, depending on the size and complexity of the Division. Be sure you are checking the website and the Registration Information Page for the most up to date information. Typically (but not always - there are exceptions) each season is:

  • U8 and U9: Evaluation Skates
  • U10 and U11: Pre-Season Exhibition
  • U12 and U13: Pre-Season Exhibition
  • U14 and U15: Evaluation Skates
  • U16, U18, and U21: No evaluation is completed

Tiers and Placement
Depending on the number of registrants in each Division, most House League Divisions are broken down into a few Tiers:

  • Tier One: Red
  • Tier Two: White
  • Tier Three: Blue

Typically, Red (Tier One) are the more advanced players, White (Tier Two) is intermediate, and Blue (Tier Three) is entry level or beginners - but it does not always work out that way. The only real difference between the Red and White divisions is quite simple – when the coaches are drafting their teams, the Red teams are picked first. The only difference between White and Blue is that White picks before Blue. All tiers all get the same jerseys and socks, they play the same amount of games and have the same amount of practices. One division does not get "better" coaches or referees than the other. As a result of this, the Red division does tend to be a higher skill level than the White division, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all the "best" players are in the Red division.

When the teams are being drafted the coaches are not picking from a pool of kids that have been specifically marked as "Red" or "White". They are looking at the entire selection of kids available in the age group and making their selections from there. They are not necessarily picking the 15-17 "best" kids available – they are picking 15-17 kids to create what they feel will be a strong team. Coaches are allowed to, can and will pass over players with a higher rating to select the players they want on their team. That is a combination of forwards and defence, of left and right-handed shots. Kids that have played together before and have a good chemistry, kids with attitudes that work well for the room. The evaluations and the individual skill of the players is only one small piece of the puzzle. Each coach has their own logic and values to help them decide who they select to build the team structure that they are looking for.

Depending on the number of registrants it is also possible that some Divisions will be amalgamated. For example, it is common that U16 White and U18 White are merged together to form a single Division. On the rare occasion that a Division grows too large, a fourth "Green" is added between Red and White.

Team Formation and the Drafting Process
Teams are drafted shortly after Evaluations are completed. The draft schedule will be posted on the website, and you will also be notified of when your Division is drafting in the same email that advises you of your evaluation schedule. You will be contacted by your coach within 24 hours of the draft letting you know which division and team your child has been selected to.

What Division will my child be placed in?

It is impossible to answer that question prior to the draft. It all comes down to who the coaches chose for their teams, and skill is only one small part of that selection. We will not know what division they are in until the teams are drafted, and the coaches have made their selections.

What is a Protection? How does this impact the draft?

Some of you may have heard the term "protection" before. There is a lot of misconception out there for what a protection is and how it impacts the draft. Have you ever heard the claim that a coach "has all the best players because he protected them" or that "non-parent coaches get to hand pick their teams"? That is not the case! That is not what a protection is, and that is not how they work.

A protection is the child of a parent who has been designated to be a part of the bench staff for a particular team. Each coach is allowed a max of three protections, including their own child, and a protected player MUST BE the child of a parent that has COMMITTED to volunteering on their Bench. Not a manager, not a tournament coordinator or anything like that. Bench Staff only. "Okay, but what if all three of them are the top three kids in the division?". That is also not allowed. Without getting too deep in to the nuts and bolts of how the draft works, we can break it down like this:

  • Prior the draft, each player is assigned a rating (that is part of the Evaluation process)
  • An "auto-draft" is run prior to the real draft – this auto-draft gives us a rough idea of what round each player could be drafted in
  • For each coach, the round their protection is drafted in gets filled by that protection based on their projection from the auto-draft
  • For example, let's say that Johnny is one of Coach Mike’s protections, and the auto-draft shows him in the sixth round. When Coach Mike is drafting his team, his 6th round pick will automatically be Johnny – the coach has no say in it
  • If two of the protections are shown to be in the same round the coach will have the choice of either dropping one of the protections or moving one up to a higher round (only up, not down)
  • If the overlap is in the first round the coach MUST drop one of the protections/li>
  • A goalie can only be protected if they are the child of the Head Coach, and the same coach can not protect both a goalie and a first round selection

Become a Volunteer!
Become a Volunteer!
Volunteers are the lifeblood and backbone of the Oakville Rangers. We are always looking for people to help out on the bench, during practice, as a Manager or Convenor, and more! You can help an hour or two a week, or you can really dive in and pick up some of the heavy lifting – it’s up to you! And you don’t have to be a "hockey person" to help – there are roles that need some hockey knowledge, of course, but there are administrative and managerial roles as well. If you are interested in volunteering, thank you!! Please click here to fill out and submit the Volunteer Application. We will get in touch with you soon to talk about how and where you can help out!

Additional Information

Click here for a listing of the House League Coaches and Key Contacts

Click here to download the complete House League Manual

Click here for information on the Select Program

Click here to submit a Friend Request or a Specific Coach Request

Click here for information regarding the Withdraw & Refund Policy

Click here to request a Tax Receipt