FAQs - Team Program

Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions we get from parents. If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

What does Split Season mean?

Split season is a term which also means half-season. Their club season runs from late August to mid-November. Players in High School start tryouts after Thanksgiving.

14U Full Season seems interesting. Tell me more how it works.

There are very few clubs in the Boston area that offer full-season 14U but the Boston Imperials are one of them. We play a full-season schedule divided into 2 halves in the E9/BHL. The past 2 seasons we have had a full-roster and a waiting list of alternates for this program. For the upcoming season we will offering 14U full season spots to 2009 and 2010 players in 7th or 8th grade and for Freshman who know that their school team is not going to be enough. For 9th graders who want to opt-into split season, there is a separate team for that.

14U is such a confusing age group. What if I'm not sure? Help!

14U is such a confusing age group for families because it's a transition from youth into midget hockey which is a completely different experience. The reason is that 14U is usually made up with 8th graders and 9th graders and some may be good enough or think they are good enough to make their HS varsity team and the leave after the first half of the season. This leaves 14U teams in many programs in chaos because the build their teams assuming everyone is coming back but doesn't ask families to commit to a full season. This is why we have leaned into a full season experience, but also offer a split season option for those that know they will only play a fall schedule. A 14U Full Season team provides commitment to all the families and our program that there is commitment for the entire season.

Most parents opt into 14U Full Season due to demand and it secures a spot for their child if their school tryout does not go as planned. For families that are unsure of what to do, we have a consultation to discuss what happens if they opt-in and then leave for their HS team. We often are able to provide some kind of refund for the second half if we have a player to replace the roster spot. We discuss this with the families up front. We also have players who are doing both Freshman/JV and doing games for us in the Winter.

How big was your waiting list this year?

We had over half a dozen players want to participate with us in the winter and we had no room to accommodate them due to the interest in 14U Full Season.

Do your league requirements include parity?

Yes. Our league requirement require our teams to participate in parity for final placement in league or divisions. That is why we don't guarantee what league or divisions our team plays in.They control their own destiny in where they end up.

What is your Varsity Prep Team. I'd like to know more.

This is for players, typically in 10th or 11th grade who need the extra development and training to make their school teams. These are typically players started late in hockey or have areas of their play that need specific work and training to give them the best chance to make the school roster. These players will play on a HS Varsity Prep Team will receive extra coaching and training and will most likely play an 18U Valley League or Independent schedule that mimics a HS Varsity experience. We had some success with this last season and all of the players were able to make a Varsity roster. This year this is being expanded to a second half offering for players 15 and older who do not make varsity but want more training and experience to make varsity next season.

What REALLY is your philosophy?

This is an excellent question and we will defer to our owner, for his perspective.

"My son started hockey quite late around 8 and it wasn't until he was 10 or 11 when he really wanted to work on his game. Up until then he was always on the Town "C" or "B" team with dad coaches (including myself) who were doing the best they could. I met a Russian father and son duo over in Somerville who had a program that would accelerate my son's development. The program was called "Ten Steps" and within 2-3 years at age 14, my son shot up to the "A" level of town and was playing on a good club team. He worked on his skills over and over and while his club team was not Tier 1 going all over the country, he was getting games and getting experience so he would make his HS team. He was able to make his HS team as a freshman and while he didn't always play a lot, made Varsity by sophomore, but still playing games at JV until he was a junior, but by his Senior year ended up having an enjoyable career and is now playing for fun at school at UMass-Amherst and on track to get his business degree in 2023. I remember that time and how much I enjoyed seeing him just play even though I was stressed about whether he was on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th lines. I worried less as he got older. In hindsight, it was all the memories of going to those rinks in the car with him, watching him work his tail off to even be able to play and I can see how that work ethic play out in his school work and the new business he just founded. I am so proud of him!"

"I have another story about my daughter. She started young and was a good skater at a very young age and in the learn to skate and intermediate skating class with mostly boys. She wanted to play hockey but the coaches would never pick her to go over to the Learn to Play even though she wanted to. She started seeing the boys being pulled out ahead of her to go to Learn to Play and she was a much better skater than them. I remember her after skating crying one day that she wasn't being given an opportunity and she immediately stopped wanting to play hockey after that and it's something she's angry about to this day.

I learned that I don't ever want a child not to be given and opportunity which is why we focus on helping ALL players get better. No-one should be left behind. Many competitive clubs take the best kids. You go to a tryout, pay the money and what you don't know is the roster is already filled so they cut you or put you in something, like my daughter experienced that doesn't make sense for what they need. At the Imperials we make room for everybody because we are inclusive and it doesn't matter what club you play for in any league, because at the end of the day, all roads end at the beer league and we want kids not to be excluded because they are "cut" or told they are not good enough when they are at such a young age. We place kids on our teams at their level where they belong and we discuss it with each family, but everyone can have a home here. Once an Imperial, always an Imperials. We have some players who have been with us since 2019 and finished played in our club their entire Midget career. That makes us so proud."

As I noted above with my son, 95% of all hockey players will follow a similar journey as he did, so our philosophy is to help a player develop to the highest level they seek to play. As you can see from our Advancements and Alumni page, some of our 5% have done very well but we are truly proud of our 95% who go to school every day, work hard, get good grades and have an enjoyable HS playing experience so at the end, they are able to make a choice whether to keep on playing or say, 'I really enjoyed playing hockey as a kid and I can't wait to teach mine.' We want parents to say the Boston Imperials treated us with fairness and respect and took care of our child when everyone else said he wasn't good enough.

That is our philosophy. We focus on preparing your player for the big picture. There are many other clubs out there who are very good and have been around alot longer, but we know who we are, what we stand for and we are proud of it. We hope you try us out."

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