Frequently Asked Questions
About Young Foxes Hockey ….
1. Q -- My child has never skated before, can he/she still join your program?
A – Yes. Prior skating experience is not required for YFH. Our dedicated coaches will work to develop your child’s skating skills through the program, irrespective of your child’s age. Please remember, however, that the YFH program is only once per week. For an older child, it is normal that he/she may feel “behind” as compared to other children in his/her age group. The coaches will work with your child to develop an individual plan, which may involve additional skills time with one of the other YFH groups. Remember, the more hours that your child is on the ice, the quicker his/her skills will improve … and become more confident in his/her abilities.
2. Q – My child may be interested in joining Young Foxes Hockey next year, but I want to know more, other than what is on your website, about the organization and what you do through the course of the season. Do you have any sort of informational materials available?
A – Yes. One helpful example is the “Welcome and Introduction” memo that is given to all players’ families at the beginning of each season. Please see the 2018-19 introduction here: YFH 2018-19 Season Memo
3. Q – Do I have to live in a particular school district to join Young Foxes Hockey?
A – No. Young Foxes Hockey is an independent program, not associated with any school district or amateur team. There are children registered in YFH from all over the Pittsburgh area. All are welcome to join YFH!
4. Q -- How many children participate in YFH each year?
A – Since 2013, YFH registration has averaged about 70 – 75 children per year. Of this total, about half are in the age 5-8 (mites) and half are 9-14 (squirt, peewee, bantam).
5. Q – My daughter wants to play ice hockey. Are there other girls who participate in YFH?
A – Yes, definitely! Each year, more girls join YFH at every age level. This season, more than 20 percent of the total participants, at all ages, are girls. Every year, this number increases and YFH is excited about, and actively, encourages participation. YFH does not have any “girls-only” teams. All YFH teams are comprised of hockey players, both boys and girls. Many girls have excelled in YFH’s developmental format. YFH alumnae have participated in PAHL AA / A hockey, Pens Elite, high school and many other hockey programs. YFH alumnae have “grown up” to become USA Hockey coaches, as well.
6. Q – My child is 8-years-old and in the last year of the ADM/mite program with an amateur team. As such, my child is currently playing “cross ice.” To get full-ice experience, can my child join Young Foxes Hockey and “play up” to the YFH squirt team?
A – Yes, it is possible. Individual written requests to play-up may be considered by YFH, and reviewed on a case by case basis. YFH recognizes that in certain situations it may be appropriate and/or beneficial to a player’s development to play-up to the next age level. YFH will consider and evaluate a player’s development potential in his/her actual age level versus potential for success in an older age level. YFH will also consider the fine balance between the best interest of a player requesting to play-up and the YFH teams and players in both their actual age level, as well as older level.
A player will not be permitted to move up/down more than one year in age. For example, at the 8U/Mite level, a player who has more than one year remaining in the Mite level cannot be moved up to the Squirt level. However, a Mite player who is in his/her last year of playing at the 8U/Mite level may be rostered on a Squirt team.
Please contact YFH for more detailed information.
7. Q – My child plays ice hockey for an amateur program, can my child also join YFH?
A – Yes, absolutely! For ice hockey, every hour of ice time is extremely valuable. One’s skating skills – let alone, hockey skills – only improve with time spent on the ice. Plus, it is always a great to be exposed to different coaching styles, as well as different positions and players. Such diverse exposure will make your child a more versatile player. While some amateur players feel pressure (whether from external or internal forces, or both) to perform or play amateur games in a certain manner (worried about wins and losses, rankings, etc.), such pressure is not a part of the YFH program.
In YFH, the players have more freedom to try different positions and experiment with different plays as the goal isn’t just to “win”….while winning is nice, YFH is more focused on development and growth. As such, It is quite common for a player to play forward for YFH (because that’s what he/she wants to play), but defense for the amateur team (because that’s the position he/she was told to play). Similarly, we have had situations wherein a child is a goalie for an amateur team, but “skates out” for YFH. We have also found that, with the right guidance, many dual YFH/amateur players take a “mentorship” role with respect to their younger or less experienced counterparts. It is wonderful to see constructive mentorship and leadership develop naturally in a peer-to-peer setting … a novice defenseman may understand a certain strategy in a during-the-game setting when explained by an on-ice peer defensive partner far better than just getting after-the-shift feedback from the coach on the bench.
8. Q – My child wants to play hockey, but the equipment is so expensive and I am not sure whether we can afford it. Can YFH help us?
A – It is the goal of YFH to give every child the opportunity to play hockey, who wants to play hockey. With respect to equipment, we can assist you in locating second-hand gear (whether donated by other YFH families or through retail). Moreover, if there is a demonstrated need, YFH will work with families to establish an appropriate payment plan.
9. Q -- My child wants to play goalie. Do we need special equipment?
A -- Yes. Goalies require special equipment that is, of course, generally more expensive than that of a normal player, including pads, blocker/gloves, helmet and stick. So that novice YFH goalie parents do not have to incur these expenses unless (and until) the child makes the determination that he/she “IS” a goalie, YFH has several sets of goalie equipment, appropriate for the mite and squirt age groups, that can be loaned to any child who may be interested in the position. This equipment may be loaned out to a YFH goalie on a game-to-game basis, or even for the whole season.
10. Q – Why does hockey cost so much?
A -- Simply put – ice time. The bulk of the seasonal fees you pay for your player go towards the overhead involved with renting the ice at Alpha Ice Complex (nearly $30,000 per year), as well as player hockey jerseys & socks, game costs (fees charged by referees and EMTs), third party professional skills clinics, the end-of-season banquet, and player gifts (trophies). YFH also incurs annual accounting/tax preparation and insurance fees. YFH is an ALL volunteer organization. Our Board of Directors does everything possible to keep the cost to play at YFH to a minimum. Our goal is to give any child who is interested an opportunity to play hockey in the greater Pittsburgh area.
11. Q -- What “legally” is Young Foxes Hockey?
A -- Pursuant to its Articles of Incorporation, as filed and approved October 3, 2013, Young Foxes Hockey (YFH) is a Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation. (Prior to its incorporation, and since 1990, YFH had existed as an unincorporated nonprofit association.) The corporation, Young Foxes Hockey, is organized and operates exclusively as an approved exempt organization within the meaning of Section 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. This section grants tax-exempt status to clubs organized as not-for-profit entities and operated for the enjoyment or recreation of their members, such as social, recreational or sports-related clubs. Generally, such clubs are membership organizations primarily supported by funds paid by their members. While YFH is a tax-exempt not-for-profit, it is not a charity. “Dues,” i.e., regular season or summer camp fees, paid to YFH are not tax-deductible. Likewise, one cannot claim that the dues or other amount paid to YFH constitutes a deduction as a business expense. One may certainly make donations of time, money or goods to YFH – such as new or used youth hockey equipment or the funds necessary to purchase goods or retain services relevant to the YFH mission – but such donations cannot be claimed as a charitable IRS-recognized deduction by the donor.