RI Panthers: Player Manual

Wednesday, September 1

The Rhode Island Panthers are a Member Association within the Rhode Island Amateur Hosckey Association (RIAHA). The RIAHA is a member of the New England District of USA Hockey.

The Panthers Girl's teams play in the New England Girls Hockey League (NEGHL), a highly competitive New England regional league.

The Panthers Women's teams play in the South Shore Women's Hockey League (SSWHL), a Massachusetts based regional league.

The Girl's teams are Tier II competitive hockey programs. Practices, games, and tournaments are planned to meet the objectives of this level.

The Women's teams are USA Hockey C & D level programs. Practices, games, and tournaments are planned to meet the objectives of this level.

All teams have well-qualified coaches teaching higher-level skill development for players who have the desire and ability for a competitive experience and ambitions to play at the highest possible level.  We emphasize a balance of winning, teamwork, fun and sportsmanship. Travel for competition is necessary.  Every effort will be made to allocate ice time equally however power plays, penalty kills, and the last five minutes of a game at coach’s discretion. Team objectives include elite tournaments, regional playoffs, and national championships.

Girl's teams may be declared nationals-bound, meaning they are eligible for participation in USA Hockey’s Regional and National Tournaments. USA Hockey rules prohibit players from being rostered on more than one national bound team in a season.

The Women's C team is a nationals-bound team.

 Annual evaluative tryouts are conducted for all players who wish to join a Panthers team. All players are welcome to open tryouts. All players must fulfill registration requirements and pay a tryout fee (where applicable).

Player selection is conducted based on demonstrated skills, demonstrated understanding of the game and individual player conduct. Parents of prospective players do not participate in any team evaluations for which their child seeks to qualify.

After a team roster is set, a new player may be placed on a team, provided an opening exists, pending an evaluation of their skills by a minimum of the Division Director and the Head Coach of the team. Head coaches may not unilaterally add players to teams. The Division Director must approve all late team additions.

The Panthers shall notify players of their team placement in a timely manner and the Player Agreement (signed by the player) and Parent Agreement (signed by parents/guardians) must be received within a specified deadline to ensure a roster position on her team.

Panthers Players Expectations

Players who seek to qualify for the Panthers teams must understand that expectations for players accepted at this level are the highest in our program. These teams require the greatest time commitment by both player and the parent. Parents and players must be prepared to accept this level of commitment.

Panther’s players are expected to:

·   possess strong fundamental hockey skills (skating, puck handling, reading plays, executing plays) and understand hockey terminology

·   maintain their hockey skills and fitness (strength, speed, stamina), during the off-season by attending camps and clinics or summer team practices or by participating in other off-season sports  

·   be committed to developing team camaraderie and open communication

·   demonstrate exceptional work ethic and dedication to continual improvement

·   work with the Coach and team to establish individual and team goals for the season, and make a dedicated effort to achieve those goals

·   participate in all team activities and tournaments


Tournament Participation and Rosters

The Panthers 16U & 19U teams participate in the Connecticut Polar Bear Tournament and in the Panthers Thanksgiving Tournament. Teams shall not be charged an entry fee for participation in the Panthers Thanksgiving Tournament.

The 14U team will participate in 2 -3 tournaments each season.

Teams may, at their discretion, participate in other girls’ hockey tournaments. All teams attending tournaments must submit a request for approval at least four weeks prior to the event. Requests must be submitted to and be approved by the Vice President and the Division Director. This is to ensure that the funding is available, the appropriate rosters are being used, provide the club time to verify it is a USA Hockey sanctioned event and that it is an appropriate level tournament for the team.


Registration and Payment

All players, parents and/or guardians must complete the required forms and provide a copy of a birth certificate for the player prior to a player being assigned to a team and/or participating in on-ice activities. The forms are: a registration form, USAH Waiver of Liability, USAH Consent to Treat, USAH Code of Conduct, Panthers Player Agreement and Panthers Parent Agreement. In addition to these forms, a payment election contract must be completed. If annual hockey fees are not paid in full by final payment date based on the requested payment plan, the player will not be allowed to participate in practices and games until final payment has been received. A fee of $25.00 will be charged to your account when a check is returned for non-sufficient funds. All monies are non-refundable.

Ice Time

Coaches are expected to adhere to equal ice time except the last five minutes of the game and during penalties and power play situations, which is at the Coach’s discretion. During regional and national playoffs, ice time is at the Coach’s discretion throughout the game.


The Panthers require that players not miss any practices or games without an excuse satisfactory to the Head Coach. Occasional absences for illness, school obligations and family or religious obligations are considered excused absences. However, these absences are only considered excused absences if the Head Coach or Team Manager is informed in advance of the impending absence. If no advance notice is given, the absence will be considered unexcused. If a player has one or more unexcused absences in any month, the following shall occur:

·   If one practice or game in any month is missed without excuse, the player will be required to sit out one (1) period of the next game.

·   If a second practice or game in any month is missed without excuse, the player will be required to sit out two (2) periods of the next game.

·   If a third practice or game in any month is missed without excuse, the player will be required to be in attendance but sit out the next game. In addition, there will be a discussion with the player and her parents as to the player’s commitment to the program.


Unless otherwise notified, practices and games go on as scheduled and coaches and players are expected to attend. The closure of school on any given day does not mean a weeknight practice will be canceled. If travel conditions are considered good two hours prior to the time players are expected at the rink, absence from a game or practice will be considered unexcused. If a majority of a player's teammates manage to attend a practice or game, the player's absence from the practice or game will be considered unexcused. A Head Coach must request cancellation for a practice or game from the Division Director.

Holiday Weekends

Certain holiday weekends occur during the hockey season, from September through March. Unless otherwise notified, all players and parents should anticipate games on holiday weekends. Teams wishing that no games be scheduled on any given holiday weekend must notify the Division Director by Sept. 15. Teams wishing to participate in a tournament on any weekend after Dec. 31 and prior to March 1 of the hockey season must notify the Division Director, Vice President and Tournament Coordinator and identify the tournament by November 15.

Individual Team Fundraising

The Panthers make every effort to raise funds to defray the costs of tournaments. Individual teams may engage in fundraising, but must report their fund-raising activity plans to the President.

All individual team fundraisers must be approved by the President. All teams must notify the President of fundraising efforts four weeks prior to the event and must receive approval prior to commencing with the fundraiser. This is to ensure it does not conflict with other fundraising activities and that the activity is deemed an appropriate fundraiser for the Panthers. This also allows for the entire program to support this activity for a greater success. An accounting of all fundraising money must be submitted to the Vice President after the completion of the fundraiser activity for the program accounting records.

Coaching Certification

All Panthers coaches may be reimbursed for the fee associated with the USA Hockey certification. A Coach must be certified for the level they are required to maintain per USAH for their team age classification. Coaches pay for their certification and submit a request for reimbursement to the Coaching Director, including a copy of their certification. 

Club Representation

All members of the Panthers are expected to represent the program in a positive and responsible manner while participating in practices, games and program -sponsored events.

Rink Facilities

The Panthers are responsible for any damages to or within the rinks we utilize. Parents, along with the help of coaches and Team Managers must take the responsibility to monitor our players while in these facilities. All Panthers members must follow the rules of the facility. Any reported violations of this policy may result in a hearing before the Disciplinary Committee as inappropriate behavior while representing our Club is not tolerated.

Hotel Etiquette

When a team must stay in a hotel, the person responsible for making the reservations should request that all Panthers members stay in rooms within the same area of the hotel. Players should not be roaming the hotel corridors and the pool area unsupervised. All players must adhere to the curfews recommended by the Coach(es) and Team Manager(s), which should never allow players to be in the hotel corridors after 10:00pm. The team (players, parents and coaching staff are personally responsible for the destruction of any hotel property. Reports of destructive behavior while representing the Panthers will result in a Disciplinary Committee hearing.

Drugs and Alcohol

The Panthers do not tolerate or condone drug use or alcohol abuse by its players, coaches or club members during games or practices. It is our policy to maintain an environment free from drugs and/or alcohol abuse and its effects. The possession, use, sale or distribution of drugs and/or alcohol and/or being under the influence of either substance by members during Panthers practices, games and program-sponsored events, will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination from the program.


We are committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and from conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Failure to adhere to our policy against harassment by a Panthers member could result in disciplinary action including termination from the program.

Zero Tolerance

The Panthers have a Zero Tolerance policy with regard to violations of USA Hockey regulations as well as RIAHA policies, rules and guidelines. It is the responsibility of every member to ensure compliance with this policy. The USA Hockey Zero Tolerance policy is included at the end of this handbook.  Violations will result in disciplinary actions or sanctions that include, but are not limited to verbal reprimands, written reprimands, community service time, game suspensions, season suspensions, and (in extreme cases) termination from the Panthers.

 3         Disciplinary Committee

As a member of the RIAHA and USA Hockey, we endorse the policies and procedures of those organizations, including their disciplinary rules and regulations, and will follow those rules in all cases for players, coaches, parents, spectators and representatives of the Panthers. The Board of Directors also reserves the right to appoint a disciplinary committee impose further penalties it may deem appropriate.

In an effort to make ice hockey more desirable and rewarding for all, all players, coaches, officials, parents, and spectators are required at all times to observe, obey, and respect the USA Hockey Zero Tolerance Policy.

Disciplinary Committee and Officer Responsibilities

The Disciplinary Committee shall consist of three members. There shall be a Chair, a Secretary, and an at-large member. The Chair shall preside at all meetings. The Secretary is responsible for collecting all evidence for orderly presentation at the hearing and for notifying all “charged” individuals no later than three days before a hearing of the charges against them and the time, place, and date of the hearing. The Secretary is also responsible for issuing a written report documenting decisions made by the Committee.  The procedures for Disciplinary Committee meetings and hearings shall be as set forth below unless otherwise agreed by all concerned.

Meetings and Hearings

·   The Disciplinary Committee shall meet as required. 

·   At least three (3) days notice of each hearing is given to all parties.  Notice may be verbal, written, or electronic.  

·   Hearings should be “formal” in the interests of the Committee and all participants.  

·   Each case is heard separately. Only those individuals associated with a particular case will be in the hearing room at a given time.  Parents of a playing member charged with an offense may attend their child’s hearing.  

·   Each hearing begins with the Chairman reciting the charges or offenses alleged.  

·   The individual charged is expected to make a brief statement regarding the charges.  

·   Coaches, managers and parents are also permitted to make statements, but only as they are recognized by the Chairman.  

·   The Committee may make inquiries for clarification.  

·   The Committee meets in closed session to decide what actions, if any, shall be taken.  

·   The individual is advised of the Committee’s decision.  

·   Decisions are documented in writing and distributed to the individual, Coach, Panthers President and all Disciplinary Committee members.  

·   In the event that a Disciplinary Committee member or family member is the subject of a charge or hearing, that member does not participate as a member of the Committee for that particular deliberation. The President shall appoint a replacement for that deliberation.