Note: Many of these questions are answered elsewhere on the site, but we wanted to give members a chance to see some of our most frequently asked questions answered in one place.
Who are the St. Peters Spirit?
We are a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of Missouri Hockey, which is part of USA Hockey. Other organizations under MoHockey include Affton, Chesterfield, Twin Bridges, Mid-Missouri, the St. Louis Rockets, Meramec, Kirkwood, Southern Illinois, Springfield (Mo.) and Springfield (Ill.). The club where you play is determined by your ZIP code. These are Spirit ZIP codes: 63301, 63303, 63304, 63332, 63338, 63341, 63346, 63348, 63365, 63366, 63367, 63368, 63373, 63376, 63385, 63386. We are the biggest club in the area, with about 600 skaters, boys and girls.
How do I get started?
Most kids start with our Learn to Play program after they know how to skate. Kids ages 4 to 12 (and sometimes older) can take part in this program. We run LTP sessions in fall, winter, spring and often summer. After going through one to two sessions, players can join one of our teams based on age.
The 2016-17 age breakdown is:
6U: Birth year 2010 and younger
8U: 2009 and 2008
Squirt or 10U: 2007 and 2006
Peewee or 12U: 2005 and 2004
Bantam or 14U: 2003 and 2002
Midget: 2001 and older
Where do we play?
Most of our home games and practices are at the St. Peters Rec-Plex, which is owned by the City of St. Peters. We buy ice from them. The people who work at the Rec-Plex aren’t Spirit people and often won’t be able to help you with Spirit matters. We may also use the Lindenwood Ice Arena in Wentzville. Teams typically travel to other rinks within the St. Louis metro area for games. Teams may also vote (with 75 percent yes required) to travel out of town for tournaments or to play in local tournaments.
How much does it cost to play hockey and how often will my child be on the ice ?
For Learn to Play, does my child have to take skating lessons first?
No, but he or she needs to be able to skate without holding onto anything and with limited falling. We recommend 2-3 sessions of skating lessons at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
Can I register for Little Blues if my child has done Learn to Play?
No. You cannot have participated in any hockey program. In short if your child has had a USA Hockey number, they are not eligible.
Why is it so expensive to play hockey?
About 80 percent of your fees go to buy the ice. The rest goes to administrative costs, referee fees, equipment and the fees we pay to Missouri and USA Hockey.
Why do I need a USA Hockey number?
As the National Governing Body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States, USA Hockey’s mission is to promote the growth of hockey in America and to provide the best possible experience for all participants. But in short, one of the most important things it does is provide insurance for the club and the players.
What equipment does the club provide?
You must provide your own equipment (skates, stick, shin guards, elbow pads, chest protector, helmet, gloves, pants, mouthguard) and pay for your own jerseys. Some tournaments require neck guards.
Do you require players to get certain color helmets, gloves, pants, etc.?
No. We do not.
What about equipment for my goalie?
In 6U and 8U we provide goalie equipment (we “pass the bag”) to encourage kids to try the position. For squirt and up, you are responsible for providing your own goalie gear.
Where can I buy warmups and other Spirit gear?
We are working on that now. Please see the home page for future announcements. But anyone can use our logo to have something made.
Who are the coaches?
For most of our teams, we rely on parents to coach. It's a volunteer position, but one we value very highly. We also have other volunteer opportunities available (board member, team manager, fund-raising). Our highest level teams have paid coaches. If you have an interest in coaching, fill out this form. If you have an interest in helping with the club, contact a board member.
Do girls play hockey with boys?
Yes! We have several girls in our program. St. Louis also has a couple of all-girls hockey teams. They play against the other teams in Mo Hockey. Girls may ask the rink guards for a girls locker room, if one is not already provided.
When does the season run?
League play (and 8U) runs from evaluations in mid-August to the state tournament in late February and practices into mid-March. Our. 6U program starts just after Labor Day. We run several Learn to Play programs throughout the year, usually a fall, winter, spring and summer program. We also usually do a fun game-only program in the summer and often skills sessions in the spring.
What’s the difference between travel and rec hockey?
The rec program is for players who aren’t willing to fully commit to the time and expense of travel hockey. Rec players get two ice times a week used for practices and home games. As in travel hockey, there is no set schedule. Players will be evaluated and play in the Missouri hockey leagues, probably at gold or silver level. See more info here. Travel hockey is for players who want more ice time, usually 2-4 times a week. You may have to travel to clubs within Missouri Hockey outside the St. Louis metro area (Springfield, Decatur, for example). Your team can also vote (with 75 percent approval) to go out of town.
What if I vote no on an out-of-town tournament. Do I still have to go?
No, but you do have to pay your share of the tournament fees and any per diem/hotel for nonparent coaches.
What are evaluations?
It is our goal that kids play with and against like-skilled players so that kids can learn and grow together. League play (squirt-bantam, or 10U to 14U) skaters will be divided into teams by the evaluators, who will then determine what level they play. They are in descending order: AA, A1, A2, B, Gold and Silver. For 8U, its red, white and blue. There can be several teams at each level, or even no team at a level. We make every effort to have even teams if there are two teams playing at the same level. For 6U, kids are divided evenly among teams after the coaches watch them skate for a few weeks. So 6U teams may not be formed until early October.
What can I expect to happen at evaluations?
There are usually four evaluation dates. For the first one, the players are divided alphabetically. For the second and subsequent ones, players are grouped by skill. Players may be moved between groups throughout, so be sure to check the website. In addition, a player may be asked to stay to skate with a later group. Players should always bring plain dark (navy blue or black) and white jerseys. Players may be sent home for bringing gold, gray or other colors. There can be no names on the jerseys, but often turning them inside out does the trick.
Do rec players go through the same evaluation?
Yes, they do. Goalies included. (Note: This could change based on numbers.)
Do goalies have a separate tryout?
Goalies try out with their age group but they also have a special goalie-only tryout.
Can my player play up or down a year in age?
Players can never play down, but you can play up an age level (8U to squirt for example) if he or she makes A1 or higher. 6U players may request to play 8U. If a player makes “red,” he or she will play on a red team. Otherwise, consideration is given based on number of kids trying out and ice allocations.
Who are the evaluators?
We have an evaluation committee that determines that, but for the 2016-17 season, the evaluators will be Mike Zuke, coaching director; Ryan Kane, skills director; and the two paid coaches at each level for squirt, peewee and bantam. The 8U evaluators will be determined by the 8U director and the evaluation committee.
Will prior coaches be asked about former players during evaluations or before team formation?
Previous season coaches will not be asked about players. This allows players to be evaluated for the new season without any biases.
If we sign up for rec hockey and there aren’t enough kids on a team, do we get our money back?
Yes, you can. Or you can choose to join one of our travel teams.
Can you tell me what my practice schedule will look like?
The practice schedule looks different week to week for every team. We do a rotating schedule so that kids wouldn’t have to miss say a Wednesday PSR every week. In addition, we have a few practice times that aren’t very popular. This ensures that no team has to have it every week.
When will we know our schedule?
Once teams are formed, just after evaluations at the end of August, we usually announce the first few practices. By the end of September, teams usually have their full practice schedule. Team managers may change some of these dates, though and will add games and tournaments.
When will we know our game and tournament schedule?
You won’t know your full game schedule until after dec seaon.
What is “dec” season?
It’s short for declaration season. For a period of time set aside by Missouri Hockey (usually a few weeks in October), Mo Hockey asks teams to play teams from other clubs to make sure everyone is in the right division. The divisions for hockey are AA, A1, A2, B, Gold and Silver. After dec season, Mo Hockey can choose to move a team based on the game results and input they receive from coaches after each game.
How much money should I plan on spending on hockey, in addition to the regular fees?
The next biggest expense is often the jersey or gear that you are responsible for. But teams can also vote to go out of town for tournaments, so the fee for the tournament as well as hotels, gas and food are possible expenses. In addition, each team is responsible for some referee fees and hotel and per diem expenses for nonparent coaches. Your team manager will often ask for $100 at the first team meeting to get an account started to pay for these things.
Are there ways to offset these costs?
Yes, each team can choose to do group fund-raising (requires 75 percent team vote), individual fund-raising (just needs someone to organize) or our sponsorship plan (team manager or other individual needs to agree to head this for each team).
What are preskates?
The purpose of preskates is to give players who have taken time off of hockey an opportunity to get back on skates prior to the start of evaluations. These skates are not run by evaluators and have no impact on player placement. They are optional and only available for 8U to bantam. Please note: Every year they fill early; there is limited space available.
Do I need to register first before attending a jersey fitting?
No you do not. But you will have to pay for your jerseys there.
How can I make sure my child gets the jersey number they want?
Read about our jersey policy here.
Where can I find info about what’s going on with the club?
The website, the Facebook page, the Twitter account and emails usually have the information you will need. You can also come to the board meetings (usually the first Monday of the month) or read the minutes from those meetings. If all else fails, feel free to email a board member. Their info can be found under Organization >> Board of Directors.
I registered but don’t remember something I put down. Is there a way to look that up?
Yes, go under dashboard at the top left of the website. Hit players and then view registrations.
At what age do players start body checking?
Under USA Hockey rules, players can start body checking at the bantam (14U) level. That may be changing to 16U for the 2017-18 season.
How do players who cannot participate in evaluations get placed on a team?
When a player is unable to participate in normal evaluations, your age level coordinator will schedule a special evaluation to take place during team practices to ensure the player is placed at the correct level.