Welcome to the website for Bloomington Youth Hockey, home of the Bloomington Thunder. Bloomington Youth Hockey is located in Bloomington, Illinois and offers a competitive travel hockey experience for youth players in Central Illinois, with a focus on pla

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Welcome to Bloomington Youth Hockey - Home of the Thunder

Welcome to Bloomington Youth Hockey, Inc. (BYHI), home of the Bloomington Thunder. BYHI is an amateur, non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt youth hockey organization based in Bloomington, Illinois.  The Bloomington Thunder hockey program offers a competitive travel hockey experience for youth players throughout Central Illinois, with a focus on player development and a commitment to providing a great hockey experience.  BYHI provides opportunities from the Mite level to the Midget Major level and our teams participate in the Northern Illinois Hockey League.
 

HEADLINES  Subscribe to Bloomington Youth Hockey, Inc.
NEW: Update on Expected Team Numbers for Upcoming Season
08/28/2014
Each year, the Board continually forecasts the number of teams it...
NEW: Changes in Squirt and Mite Programs for the Upcoming Seaso
08/28/2014
The Board of Directors previously announced changes in the Mite program...
Mite Program for Upcoming Season
08/28/2014
Player development is important at every level, but not more so than...
Board of Directors - Member Change
08/19/2014
Darren Burns has served Bloomington Youth Hockey in many capacities,...
 
NEW: Update on Expected Team Numbers for Upcoming Season
by posted 08/28/2014
 

Each year, the Board continually forecasts the number of teams it will sponsor at each level.  The forecasting process is not an exact science, but experience shows that tryout registration trends are a good indicator of who and how many players will try out for a BYHI team.  Registration for tryouts is open and will remain open until tryouts begin.  However, parents are strongly urged to register now for tryouts, to enhance the forecasting process.

 

Parents can view the number of current registrants at each level during registration. While the numbers will likely change, current trends suggest one Mite team, two Squirt teams, three Peewee teams, and one or two Bantam teams.  Here is additional detail on each team level:

 

Mite:  current registration numbers are very low, but we understand several parents still plan to register their child, and one team seems probable.

Squirt:  current registrations show we are between one and two teams.  We expect to have more registrations, so two teams seem possible.  A third team is less likely, but still possible.

Peewee: current registrations show we will definitely have two teams and three teams remains a good possibility.

Bantam:  current registrations show 27 players registered, including goalies. It is desirable to have at least 15 skaters, plus goalies, on each team.

 

Again, parents can assist the forecasting processing by immediately registering their son or daughter for tryouts.


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NEW: Changes in Squirt and Mite Programs for the Upcoming Seaso
by posted 08/28/2014
 

The Board of Directors previously announced changes in the Mite program for the upcoming season.  Parents are urged to review the article about the change below, but in essence, BYHI will not have a team playing in Chicago-based NIHL this season, opting instead to begin the transition to the USA Hockey recommended Development Model for Mite players.

NEW FOR SQUIRTS

The Hockey Development Committee has recommended that a Squirt A team no longer play in the Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL), instead playing its games in the Central Illinois Hockey League (CIHL).  CIHL is, as its name suggests, a league based in Central Illinois, and includes teams typically within a one hour drive (instead of the 2-2.5 hour drive to Chicago).  This plan is similar to that used for A2 teams at various levels in the past. Not all games would be in CIHL, and parents can expect some travel, for example to tournaments, but not at the level of teams playing in the NIHL.

If there is an A2 team, it would play a similar schedule to that of a Squirt A team.  Any Squirt AA team will continue to play in NIHL.

Experience has shown that A2 players have a very successful development experience, and often form the core of teams they play on in the future.  And, the kids have consistently had an enjoyable and fun experience.  This change also provides another opportunity for families who were reluctant to commit to play in NIHL, with its attendant travel requirements, to have their son or daughter play competitive travel hockey.

The Board of Directors adopted this plan at its meeting on August 27, and it will go into effect this season.  Questions about this change may be sent to any Board member, using the Board Contacts button on the left navigation bar.


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Mite Program for Upcoming Season
by posted 08/28/2014
 

Player development is important at every level, but not more so than for Mites.  The BYHI Board of Directors, together with the Player Development Committee, spent considerable time over the past several months evaluating the best approach to development for Bloomington Thunder Mites.  The Board has determined that it should support the USA Hockey ADM program for Mites, beginning with the upcoming season.  Consequently, we will not field a NIHL team at the Mite level this year, but will instead sponsor a Mite team that primarily plays cross-ice games on an independent schedule (or perhaps through the Central Illinois Hockey League).  The team(s) will be eligible to play some full ice games, subject to the USA Hockey approved partial waiver on Mite play granted to AHAI, but full ice games will be rare and not the focus of the program.

Among the many factors the Board and Player Development Committee considered are:

  1. USA Hockey strongly supports the ADM Model.Substantial empirical evidence conclusively demonstrates that the ADM model results in a higher standard of development (including, for example, more touches of the puck, more time spent learning skating skills), than a program based on full ice practices and games. Moreover, retention is higher for those programs that have converted to the ADM program, because player burn out is significantly reduced. And, the kids have fun!

  2. NIHL and AHAI filed requests with USA Hockey for exemptions from the ADM model, which were not accepted as originally filed.It is clear that USA Hockey wants to move to the ADM model for all Mites throughout the country, including in Illinois (one of the few remaining states that has not yet implemented the model in full). The Board believes the transition is inevitable, with the only question being when the change will take place.

  3. Having players ages 7 and 8 spend four hours or more on the road to play a NIHL game in the Chicago Metro area was a questionable proposition for such young players. This is particularly true when you consider that the average Mite player spends about 12-15 minutes on the ice per game, and has relatively few actual touches of the puck during the game.

  4. There is a small number of returning Mite eligible players this season from last year’s BYHI Thunder Mite team.The transition was going to take place eventually, and some players would be in the situation of having played one year of full ice, then having to transition to ADM-based cross-ice play.The fewer players affected by this transition the better, which is a factor in the decision this year.

While some contend that having some Illinois teams play primarily cross-ice games while other programs are focused on full ice games will disadvantage the former teams and players later in their development, the evidence does not support this belief.

We are strongly supportive of sponsoring one or more Mite teams during the upcoming season, based on the program outlined above, and encourage all interested players to try out for a Mite team.  If you have any questions about this decision, please feel free to contact any member of the Board of Directors.  Thank you.


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Board of Directors - Member Change
by posted 08/19/2014
 

Darren Burns has served Bloomington Youth Hockey in many capacities, including as a valued member of the Board of Directors.  Due to outside commitments, Darren was recently forced to withdraw as a Board member.  The Directors express their thanks and appreciate to Darren for his longtime service.

To replace Darren, the Board has elected Tim Kirk to fill the remaining months of Darren's term, which expires at the end of March, 2015.  Tim has long been active in hockey and in local hockey programs, including as a parent of a youth hockey player and as a house league coach.  The Board welcomes Tim to his new position and we look forward to working with him.


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