Hello current and prospective HADP families,

On behalf of the staff and Board at Whitemud West Hockey Association, we wanted to communicate some updates to our HADP program for the 2024/25 Season.  We previously sent out our changes for the tryout process this year and you can refer to that on the website https://www.whitemudwest.com/u11-hadp-information/ at any time. 

We are looking forward to welcoming players to our spring evaluations which are starting on April 2nd, 2024.  As of right now, the evaluation sessions are completely sold out. While we are excited to see all of the talent on the ice, we also want to be transparent about all that is being considered so every family can make informed decisions moving forward. 

We want to ensure that everyone in our association understands what we are working on behind the scenes.  We spend many hours meeting to discuss this program as a board, with Hockey Edmonton and with the Edmonton Federation Hockey League (EFHL).  We are constantly evaluating how our HADP teams are performing, our competitiveness, and most importantly, whether our families and players feel like they are improving and getting the best hockey experience possible.

We have discussed within the league the idea of tiering the HADP program exactly like the U13AA leagues, meaning there are metro and rural pools, however you still play out of your pool throughout the season.  This is simply at a discussion stage and may never move out of that stage.  Tiering is an ongoing dialogue amongst the league to ensure competitiveness is always a priority..  What works one season, may not work the next.  Any decision like this must be voted on by all associations in our league and is not our decision alone. 

We acknowledge that we are competing with non-sanctioned hockey programs for players and that families may be considering options on where to play.  We strongly believe that our HADP program offers better player development value than unsanctioned options in all aspects (i.e., on-ice games & practices, skills development, off-ice conditioning, reduced travel & accommodation , significantly lower fees and better access to family support at home). Additionally, there is a proven development path and opportunities within Hockey Canada that are not available elsewhere.    

The HADP program is designed to enhance elite player development, but Whitemud West also acknowledges that families and players in all tiers also value competitiveness. At this point we are still planning to ice Two (2) HADP teams, however, are considering only putting in One (1) team.  We want to evaluate the skill level of players at our April tryouts before making this impactful decision.  We know it will be a difficult decision to make and have heard from many coaches and parents on the pros and cons of this.  We hear you and will make the best decision in April that makes sense for the organization, families and players for the 2024/25 season. Should we decide to move to one HADP team, the development resources that would have been allocated to the second HADP team will be shifted to the Tier one level.

As you’ve seen, we have strategically shifted our evaluation and tryout processes to better inform how our HADP teams will be selected. While we will be selecting some players after the April evaluations, we are very excited about how our changes will benefit all players – not just those who are initially selected.  Any participant not selected after the spring evaluations can review their evaluation results, allowing the player the chance to focus on areas of improvement over the spring and summer, with the goal being to earn one of the remaining roster spots at our fall tryouts.  Not being selected doesn’t mean your player can’t make the team.  In fact, we think it will help focus our players on how to be better and what to work on. Our weekly development sessions in June and July will further allow the player to focus on these areas so that fall tryouts can remain their key focus. 

Players who are currently on the waiting list for spring evaluations are still eligible to attend the summer weekly skates and the fall tryouts in August. Missing the spring evaluations does not mean that the player cannot make the HADP team(s). 

Whitemud West is committed to continually increasing its development opportunities across all age levels and tiers. For example, the 2024/25 season will see increased player and goaltender development programming for the U9 and U11 Tier 1 levels. We will also continue to make skill development opportunities such as our shooting & offense clinics available to all ages and tiers so your decision to choose Whitemud West Hockey is even easier.

In summary, the U11 HADP landscape continues to be a dynamic one. Whitemud West feels that it is delivering the best product possible and remains committed to strengthening its program going forward. Knowing that these decisions are challenging, I felt that it was important to provide transparency about our processes to our players and families. Having considered this messaging, if there are any families that would like to remove their player from the April evaluations, we have no problem offering a full refund before March 21st, 2024.  Please contact the office to do so at registrar@whitemudwest.com or 780.486.6486. 

Lastly, we will announce our Head Coache(s) by early next week.  We have had many great applicants and want to thank those that have put their names forward.  We are carefully considering everyone and want to make the best choice for our program.



Codie Richard