The Date is August 3rd, 2020 And You Can No Longer Register Your Hockey Team For Winter In Calgary

Stanley Cup in October? How about them apples. No one would have predicted this at the start of the NHL season last year. But yet here we are, strange times indeed.

Everyone has had to adjust to the new realities, and we are no different. Ideally we would have opened registration on May 1st, which is what we usually do, but at that time we literally had no understanding of what hockey may look like in the winter.

Our understanding is a little better now, though there is plenty of uncertainty still. We are planning to start the winter season on time, the week of September 1st.

What does this mean?

We need about 30 days before the start of the season to prepare for the launch, this includes making up the divisions (it takes a while to get all teams to submit their skill survey so we can place them in the best possible division), finalizing the ice times for the season (we need to know how many teams will play so we can match the booked ice times for the season to the number of teams playing) and all other related tasks.

Once we have all this information we can prepare the schedule draft ice matrix to share with the team GMs. And finally we’ll hold the schedule draft and build the schedule. (if you want to know about how the schedule draft works, contact us).

Based on these timelines we have to cut off team registration on August 3rd, 2020.

Sure, we are aware of the potential futility of all this (regulations could change again) but we think things are moving in the right direction, and other jurisdictions do not have cohort restrictions in place right now.

Either way, if we are not able to start the season the way we normally do we will take care of all our teams and players, much like we did when we had to abruptly and prematurely finish last winter hockey season and cancel the summer hockey season all together.

There are three possible outcomes for this winter hockey season. We are readying contingency plans to address two of them, but essentially they are either the season goes ahead as planned, season needs to be modified because there are new regulations and restrictions placed on us, or the season is cancelled.

If the season is modified or cancelled, and we are not able to deliver the league experience to you as we are planning, we will offer teams the option to play the modified season under the new regulations or receive a full refund.

If the season is cancelled we will refund all registration fees (you will have the option to keep it as credit on account if you wish). In other words your money is safe with us, we guarantee it.

If your team is registered already, awesome, thank you for being on top of it!

And if you still need to register, please do so now. Why? Because right now monthly payments are interest free for your players on most plans.

Links to Pages You Want To Read

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!


If you are a player, please bug your team GM to register your team so you can set yourself up for winter. Otherwise see how you can become a FreeAgent and still have a team to play for this winter.

Playing Winter Ice Hockey In A COVID World – Registration Information For Calgary Teams (AKA – The Plan)

As far as plans go, someone once said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face (Ok it was Mike Tyson and we are paraphrasing). Mike did get one thing right, with all this uncertainty surrounding us during the great calamity called COVID-19, how can one plan anything right now? Yet we somehow have to proceed with life and hockey.

While no one knows what will happen in the future, we are operating under the assumption that hockey will be back to some kind of normal without the draconian restrictions placed on it by the vagaries of the pandemic.

Other jurisdictions do not have cohort requirements right now, in Manitoba players can play on as many hockey teams as they want and there is no limitation on team sizes as a result. The same is true in some places in BC (we heard through the hockey grapevine that in Victoria people have been playing beer league hockey for the past 6 weeks without cohort restrictions – could be just a rumor though).

So the trend seems to be moving in the right direction in regards to what winter may look like. And thus we have decided to offer a regular winter hockey season to all our teams that will include:

  • Choose Your Schedule Option (only in the NCHL)
  • The NCHL Experience – playing hockey in a safe, fun, competitive and well organized environment
  • 30 Regular Season Games
  • 1 Guaranteed Playoff Game (every team makes the playoffs)
  • Best of 3 finals (way more games for your team)
  • 3 stop time periods, 15 minutes each
  • 2 Referees and 1 Scorekeeper at Each Game (or you get a team credit)
  • Online Stats For All Teams and Players
  • Individual Payments for Players (only in the NCHL)
  • Payment Options – one, two or monthly
  • Season Start – After September 1st, 2020
  • Season End – Before April 30th, 2021

See full season details …

“But you just said no one can tell the future, so how can you offer this and be sure it will actually happen?” you may be wondering, and rightly so. This is our plan for winter. If for whatever reason we are not able to offer you hockey in this manner come winter, we will need to adjust so we can still play. It will come down playing hockey vs not playing hockey, and we think playing hockey is always the better choice.

So here is our promise to you, if we are not able to offer the season as outlined above, and have to adjust or cancel hockey all together you will always have the option to either get a refund for the remaining games you did not get, or keep the team fees as a credit until hockey returns.

We will work with each and every team to make sure we take care of you and the wishes of your players. The same way we did this past winter season when it was abruptly cancelled, and the summer season that never happened. All teams that wanted a refund for games not played have been taken care of.


Today we are releasing the season and pricing information for winter. Some plans stayed the same, while others had to be adjusted a little due to increased costs from arenas. Ice costs did go up in some places, because the arenas must now sanitize surfaces more often, purchase additional PPE and have more staff.

Here is the link to Calgary Winter Team Fees and all available schedule plans. This year we are again offering 4 schedule options, Home Ice Premium (you get to draft your schedule ahead of everyone based on the order of your deposit), Home Ice (half the games same rink, same day and same time), Regular (choose your schedule) and Budget (do everything on your own to collect team fees, the cheapest league hockey option in Calgary but you don’t get to choose the schedule you get).

Registration will open on Monday July 6th, at noon MST. Pre-registered teams will have until Wednesday July, 8th at noon MST to complete the registration and join the Winter 2020-21 NCHL-Calgary Hockey Season. We strongly encourage you to provide us with a deposit at the time of registration or instructing us to apply any unused team credits on account towards your deposit. Teams that have enough credit on account are assumed to have their deposit fully paid at the time of registration.

See important deadlines here …

If you pre-registered your team earlier when we did not know which way was up, thank you for your support! That means you now have a 48 hour advantage over any other team that did not do so, and you can complete your registration ahead of these teams. Why is this important?

Teams that want to get the best possible ice times we can offer for winter (we picked up a few good ones this year) need to be at the top of the deposit order because this order determines the selection of your schedule in the schedule draft. Teams that chose Home Ice Premium option will be choosing first in the draft ahead of any other team that chose a different schedule option but we will be looking at the deposit order as well.

For example, if the first overall team in the deposit order bought Home Ice or Regular as their schedule option, it will be given a chance to upgrade to Home Ice Premium on the spot and will then be able to choose the best ice time for them, out of all available ice times or not.

If an upgrade is not selected by this team, we will go through all of the Home Ice Premium teams first so they can select their schedules, and then come back to Home Ice teams, the team that has the highest placement in the deposit order at that point will choose first, and we will continue this process until all Home Ice teams chose their schedule for the season. After that teams that bought a Regular schedule will choose their schedule in the same manner.

That being said, you get the most choice with Home Ice Premium, then with Home Ice and finally the least amount of choice is available to the teams who bought the Regular schedule option. Finally the Budget teams do not get a choice, and are simply assigned a schedule for the season. What does this mean for you?

If choice is important to you, buy Home Ice Premium and get your deposit in as quickly as you can. If you buy Home Ice, you will need to wait until teams with Home Ice Premium schedule packages have chosen their ice times.

Otherwise, if you do not care about what you get so much, and want to save money please choose the Regular schedule, because what may happen is this. Teams with either of the home ice schedule options may end up in your division, and if you are the only Regular team in that division, you will not have a choice but play on the home ice chosen by these teams. It could be good, it could be bad, so you are taking a gamble.

Oh and one more thing, we can only physically accommodate half the league for Home Ice Premium or Home Ice, because in order for us to guarantee at least half the games at the same rink, at the same time on the same day, the cut off is 50% of teams. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. So if this is important to you, please do not wait, complete your registration ASAP and put your deposit down (it is $1500 for either of the home ice options). Once we sell out, all we will be able to offer is what is left.

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

World Cup of Hockey Summer 2020 FAQ

How many teams or divisions will be able to play in your season?

  • The amount of teams that are able to sign up is only limited by ice availability. Teams will then be assigned to cohort groups containing a total of 4 teams in order to abide by the current AHS regulations.

How will you be ensuring that players only play in one cohort group as per AHS regulations?

  • The NCHL will be doing their due diligence by locking rosters and IDing players prior to the game. Teams will not be allowing spares outside of the cohort group.

What happens if we are unable to find a goalie for our game?

  • Our regular goalie rules do not apply. If your goalie is unable to make it and you are unable to pull a spare goalie from within your cohort, a team could dress a player or play six players on the ice for the duration of the game. Teams will not be forced to forfeit if they are unable to dress a goalie.

What happens if we put this team together for the season and are unable to all have matching jerseys?

  • Our regular jersey infraction rules do not apply. We only ask that teams are able to wear light (away) or dark (home) jerseys based on who is listed as home or away on the schedule. However, players should still all have their own individual numbers.

Help, my team is short. Can I bring out a spare?

  • In short, no. Groupings are limited to those already assigned to the cohort. All spare players must be sourced from the other teams within your cohort group. If you are having difficulty finding this information please reach out to the league and we will do our best to put you in touch with available players.

What tier should I sign up for?

o Tier I – No accumulation penalty shots (after 6 penalties)

o Tier II – Standard NCHL rules

o Tier III – Three goal max per player

o Tier IV – Three goal max per player & Fair Play rule (for beginner players and teams)

Summer Ice Hockey Is Set To Come Back To Calgary Amid New Stage 2 Relaunch Restrictions

Another day goes by and we have more information we can share with you about the summer hockey season in Calgary (if you are in a different city and are reading this, we do not yet have information on when we can offer a summer season where you are).

The good news is we can offer a limited summer season as of July 20th in Calgary starting with the West Hillhurst Arena. This is the only facility we are able to confirm ice with at this time.

We are working on confirming our ice in the south with Cardel Rec South, formerly known as South Fish Creek Recreational Association (SFCRA) and Trico. If we are able to confirm our ice contracts this week we will be able to start the season in the south as well, possibly sooner than July 20th (there is a possibility ice could become available as of July 6th, but we would need some time to get everything set up before we can start playing).

Given the new rules and regulations placed on organizers by AHS, the following restrictions will be in place.

World Cup of Hockey Season (our version)

  • Bubble cohorts of players who can not social distance on the ice are limited to 50 players, this includes on-ice officials
  • As a result divisions will be limited to 4 teams.
  • Team rosters will be limited to 11 players (10 skaters and a goalie)
  • Each cohort will play out of a specific arena
  • Once a cohort is set, NO REALIGNMENT of teams will be possible
  • Players can ONLY PLAY in ONE BUBBLE COHORT during Stage 2 restrictions
    • This means that all spares must come from the same cohort and can not be brought from outside, including goaltenders
    • It also means that players in one cohort can not play in another cohort with us or elsewhere for the duration of Stage 2 restrictions.
  • The season will consist of five games to be played in a World Cup format
    • Three round robin games against the other three teams in the division
    • One semi final game
    • One final game for gold/silver or bronze/4th place
  • Games will not be forfeited due to a goalie not being available, teams will be allowed to play with 6 skaters on the ice.
  • Games will be played on any day of the week, with the exception of the long weekends (games can still occur on Mondays of the long weekend)
  • Season team fees are set at 1699+GST per team. (there are no schedule packages or early bird/returning team credits for the limited season)
  • Registration will open on Breakout at 1:00PM MST Wednesday June 17th, 2020 – please choose World Cup 5 Game Season – Calgary 2020 (see this and this on how to join a new season on a mobile device, for existing teams, or see this if your team is new).

Parity of each cohort may not be ideal under these circumstances and this is why we settled on a shorter season of 5 games.

11 players per team does not add up to 50 total players in the cohort because we need to have room for at least 4 officials to be part of the cohort to make sure we can staff games properly. The last 2 spots will be buffer spots to be used by teams in a cohort in case of absolute emergency, and once used no other players will be allowed to play in the cohort.

Unfortunately we are limited by the new rules and restrictions announced by AHS for Stage 2 relaunch, we have published an interpretation of the new rules earlier. The arena facilities will also have additional rules on when players can arrive, how they need to enter and exit the building and lots of other new procedures (we will keep you informed once we know what each arena requires – these may not be uniform across all arenas)

This means we can accept less teams, smaller teams, and will need to have ice on weekends. We will be balancing the schedule for the season so it is fair for everyone.

If we are able to confirm ice in the south we will offer teams to be part of a different cohort that can play in the south, provided the season has not yet started, because once the season starts we are not able to modify any of the cohorts we create. All cohorts must stay together for the duration of the season during Stage 2 restrictions.

Parity of each cohort may not be ideal under these circumstances and this is why we settled on a shorter season of 5 games. Your team will play every other team once and then play the semis and final, so if there is an issue with parity we can address it in the next cycle of the season.

Instead of locking everyone into a longer season where you will have to play other teams more often, which may not be well suited for your cohort from a competitive perspective, we decided to proceed with caution so we can fully digest the new restrictions and come up with solutions once the rubber hits the road (or in our case, the blades touch the ice).

A shorter, 5 game season is also safer from our perspective as the exposure will be more limited to other players, as opposed to when the season is longer. More games = more exposure. As we progress and find out how the new loosening of restrictions affects the spread, we’ll know if more games are possible in the next season.

It would be a shame to sign up for a long season, then find out that AHS has new rules and restriction, or worse has to shut down arenas again and move their reopening into the next stage.

It’s hard to say how things will progress in the future, and we would rather have the flexibility to adjust by doing a shorter season so we can work out the kinks for winter. This way we will be able to start Winter 2020-21 Season on time in September. Similar restrictions may still be in place then, no one knows this right now and if anyone is saying otherwise, please do not take this at par value.

These are uncertain times, and while we are trying our best to come up with a way for everyone to play hockey safely, things may change tomorrow and we will need to adjust everything again. This is the reality of the new normal, so please be patient with us as we navigate these uncharted waters ahead.

Let’s get out there, safely, and play some puck!

The NCHL – A Better Way To Play!

5 Reasons You Can’t Miss Out On Summer Ice Hockey This Year In Calgary

Ice hockey is more than just a game, it is a lifestyle. If you don’t play summer hockey yet, you need to read this because you won’t be able to take another summer off!

#1 – Amazing Start Times

Did you know that games in the summer start and end much earlier than during the winter season? It is quite normal for hockey games to start around 8-9PM and sometimes even earlier during the summer season. Awesome right?

The reason for this is simple. There is no minor hockey taking place between the months of May and August, and this means all of the best ice times are available for us, the adults.

So if playing in the winter seems like working the graveyard shift, summer will feel amazing with the kinds of starts we are talking about. We the adults deserve good ice times too, right?

#2 – Only Once A Week

One day a week isn’t too much to ask is it? After all if you really love the game, you can spare one day out of your week to play it, right? Actually it is not even a day, it is mere hours.

Think about it, if your game starts at 8PM, you can be there at 7:45PM, dressed in 15 and hop on the ice for the warm up. Play for 75 minutes, hop off the ice, shower in 5 and you are back to the patio somewhere by 9:45PM. The night is young, party on!

Or if you are more like us, you showed up early for your game to meet the team for pre-gamers, take your time getting dressed, enjoy the game, hang out a bit more in the dressing room with everyone and then slowly transition into the parking lot with the team. The night is still young, you are in flip-flops and shorts with a cold one in one hand, a dog in another, what could be better?

This is your night, and the hall pass was issued a long time ago when you got your weekly summer schedule in May. The funny thing is, you will still roll home well past midnight, but you had way more quality time along the way. What’s not to love?!

Bonus, you still have 6 other days to do all the things you want to do in the summer, like golf, BBQ, softball, etc.

#3 – Zero Weekend Games

In the winter hockey season games can fall on any day of the week, including the weekends, which is ok. You probably won’t be going camping when it is -30° C outside.

Of course things are different in the summer. As soon as May Long hits, everyone is rushing out of the city to their favourite camp site. Understandable. Who wants to be cooped up when it is “warm” outside ;).

This is exactly why there are NO weekend games at all during the summer, including playoffs. Sweet! Now you can still play the game you love, go away on the weekend and enjoy the summer. Best of both worlds, right?

Are there games on Fridays since technically it is not the “weekend”, you ask? Nope. No games on Fridays. So you can safely plan your summer weekends starting now. All games will be played on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer ice hockey season.

#4 – Staying With It

Let us ask you this. How many times did you swear under your breath that is after you caught it during your first shift back on the ice and wished you would have never taken the summer off? Every year it becomes a bit harder to come back in mid-season shape if you don’t continue playing hockey in the summer.

What is worse, your hands aren’t getting any favours from your either. The timing is off, the legs are lead and so it continues until you get back to where you were before you stopped. Each year it takes a bit more time. But what if you never stopped?

We are not saying you suddenly will develop McDavid-esque type speed and your hands won’t be silky smooth like Johnny Hockey if you play summer hockey, but the decline will be slower and you won’t be swearing as much as you would have. The timing will still be there, your legs won’t feel like bricks and it wont take any time to get back on the horse, because you never got off it in the first place.

The other thing to consider which is maybe even more important is this. You camped all summer, golfed, BBQ’d and consumed conspicuous amounts of beer, may you be a prime candidate for a heart attack when you step back on the ice?

The mind is willing but the flesh is weak, as the saying goes. Lots of guys push themselves as hard as they did during the winter season on their first shift. Not smart if you did not play in the summer.

So don’t lose your hockey shape, don’t lose what little hockey skill you may have remaining 😉 and stay safe by playing summer hockey. Do yourself a favour, your body will thank you for it, even if it is only once a week.

#5 – Time For Yourself

If you are not yet convinced that you should not stop doing what you love during the summer hockey season consider this. Winters are busy, especially if you are coaching minor hockey like a lot of us do. If you are a head coach, hats off to you! It is busy, busy!

When do you get to enjoy yourself? In the summer. The weather is nice, the ice times are early, the beers are cold, games are only once a week and there are no weekend games. You can hang out with the gang, play the game you love without having to run around all over the place. So take back summer, and enjoy hockey. It is your time!

Bonus Reason #6

You probably know this one already, but the league fees are quite a bit less in the summer. Yes there are less games overall, but in absolute terms, it is much easier on your wallet to play summer hockey than winter hockey and that is a fact.

The playoffs are identical to winter, so right there you are getting a better value in the summer, no doubt. Heck, if you go all the way your team could get 3-4 bonus games to finish off the season, and if you are in the right division, go all the way to Provincials!

So let us ask you, is there a reason why you are not playing summer hockey this year? Please let us know, because the way we see it, there should be none!