January 19, 2023
Ice Dog Families:
As the 2022-23 season ends, we want to thank all the parents, coaches, managers, and players for making this season a great success, especially amid all the changes the Club has faced. We hope that everyone enjoyed their experience, and we are thrilled to see the interest in the spring season so far. We hope everyone will take advantage of the few remaining openings available.
This letter provides information about what the Club intends to offer for the 2023-24 season and what families can expect. Despite the Club’s limited ice availability during the Mt. Vernon and Ft. Dupont renovations, the Board is working to provide the best experience for as many Ice Dog skaters as possible. Please read the entire message for information about the Ice Dogs and other area programs.
As the Board communicated earlier this year, we had to make the difficult decision to suspend the Club’s participation in the co-ed Chesapeake Bay Hockey League (CBHL) due to limited ice availability. Participation in CBHL requires more practice and game ice than other leagues and the Club will unfortunately not have enough ice time to support these teams. We fully intend to support teams in the Capital Corridor Hockey League (CCHL), girls Chesapeake Bay Hockey League (CBHL), and 8U program. Providing an opportunity for as many skaters to participate and develop over the next two years is a top priority.
The Board is finalizing plans to support the CCHL, Girls, and 8U programs, and has been working with USA Hockey and partner rinks in the area to secure the necessary ice. The Club plans to continue using Tucker Road Ice Arena as its primary practice facility with practices on weeknights and weekends, and we expect CCHL teams will have weeknight practices. The Club will use ice at other rinks in the area to host games for the CCHL and Girls teams and, on occasion, some practices. Depending on the available ice, the number of home games and jamborees the Club can host may be limited. Based on our analysis, we believe we can support the following teams for the 2023-24 season:
- CCHL: one 10U team, one 12U team, one 14U team (expect 1 weeknight practice and 1 game per weekend)
- Girls: one 12U team, one 14U team, one 19U team (expect 2 practices per week and at least 1 game per weekend)
- 8U: one all-inclusive team that will participate in jamborees throughout the area (expect 1 practice per weekend, and jamborees on weekends)
Unfortunately, many of our partner rinks will not make final determinations on ice allocations until later this summer. As additional ice becomes available to the Club, we will explore expanding our CCHL offerings for next season. The Board will continue to work with rinks to secure ice and we will provide new information to Ice Dog families as it becomes available.
The Board has also spent the last few months talking with Ice Dogs coaches to ensure each team in each league has experienced coaches that can provide a fun, and developmentally sound experience. To date, the Club has commitments from enough returning coaches to provide each team with two experienced coaches. We know families have had questions about the coaching staff and we want to assure you that many longstanding Ice Dog coaches plan to return to help the Club through this transition period.
Due to the limited availability of ice, we recognize we may not be able to support enough teams to provide every Ice Dog a spot on a team. We also know some families have already begun considering other clubs as a temporary home for the next two years. To help families plan, the Club anticipates the following schedule leading up to the start of the 2023-24 season. We are also providing information about other Club’s opportunities to help families plan.
- Ice Dogs Girls CHBL team tryouts – April 28 and 30
- Ice Dogs CCHL Registration – opens the first week of July
- Ice Dogs 8U Registration – opens the first week of July
As we secure more information and ice commitments from area rinks, we will provide updates so people can consider their options. If you want to play hockey at the CCHL level, we encourage you to continue with the Ice Dogs and register with us this summer. Other clubs do not offer registration for CCHL teams until July and August so families should have time to consider their options based on what ice availability the Ice Dogs will have at the start of the 2023-24 season. At this time, we feel confident we can host the teams previously mentioned.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions and we will be happy to talk with you. Info@novaicedogs.org is the best email address to send questions, but please feel free to reach out directly to a board member listed on the Ice Dogs website. We appreciate your ongoing support during this period of renovation, and we look forward to the opening of our new Mt. Vernon facility with two new sheets of ice.
Ice Dogs Board of Directors
Frequently Asked Questions about the 2023-24 Season
Why are the Ice Dogs offering so few teams next season?
With the closure of our two principal partner rinks (Mt. Vernon and Ft. Dupont), the NoVA Ice Dogs are reliant on available ice at other partner rinks to run our programs. Of note, other programs that utilized MVIA and FDIA are also seeking ice at these same facilities. Given this supply/demand challenge, the Board has proposed the level of programming we believe appropriate to the available ice. If more ice becomes available, we hope to expand our offerings.
When will the number of teams available be finalized?
Teams for the CBHL Girls, CCHL and 8U programs will be announced shortly after team registration closes. We will keep a waitlist to capture additional interested players, and hope to add additional programs for those players once ice allocations for partner rinks are finalized, likely late summer this year. There is no guarantee additional ice will materialize or that we will be able to add additional teams.
What partners rinks is the Club considering using for games?
Our primary partner rink will be Tucker Road, with potential supplemental game and practice ice anticipated at the following rinks – Prince WIlliam, Laurel, Cabin John, Wheaton and Ice World.
What rinks will the Club use for practices?
The current plan is to accommodate all practices at Tucker Road, which will necessitate weeknight practices for both CBHL Girls and CCHL teams. Supplemental practice may be needed at other partner rinks as well.
What pricing do you expect to charge for registration next year?
We have not finalized pricing for each league because we are waiting on the costs of ice at various rinks that we may need to use.