Southern Tier Hockey Association: New Players

Sunday, September 21

 Information for New Players

Welcome new players to the STHA!!!!   

This is the place to start for players that are beginning their ice hockey careers.

Below are some answers to questions frequently asked by parents of new players:

1)  What team will my son/daughter play on?

Answer:  USA Hockey splits players into divisions, each division being approximately a 2-year age span.  Below is the divisional split per age group:

2014/2015 Season Age Classifications
Year of Birth Age Category
1996 18 Years Midget: 18 Years or Under
1997 17 Years
1998 16 Years Midget: 16 Years or Under
1999 15 Years
2000 14 Years Bantam: 14 Years or Under
2001 13 Years
2002 12 Years Pee Wee: 12 Years or Under
2003 11 Years
2004 10 Years Squirt: 10 Years or Under
2005 9 Years
2006 8 Years Dyno-Mite: 8 Years or Under
2007 7 Years
2008 or Younger 6 Years & Under Mini-Mite: 6 Years or Under

2)  When do they play?

Answer:  Most new players enter the STHA by participating on a house team (instead of a travel team).   House teams practice and play games normally on weekends, beginning the 1st week in October and ending in March.  Some weekday sessions may occur throughout the season. 

3)  Where do they play?

Answer:  We utilize the 4 rinks in our area - the Chenango Ice Rink (CIR), the Broome Community College (BCC) Ice Center, the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, and the Cortland Sports Complex (J.M. McDonald).   For more information on rink locations refer to the "Rink Locations" tab.

4)  Is it ok if my son/daughter doesn't know how to skate?

Answer:  Absolutely.  The STHA coaches will assist your child to learn how to skate.

5)  How much does it cost?

Answer:  In addition to purchasing your own equipment, there is a player fee that varies per division.  In general, the older the player, the more practices and games and the higher the fee.  Each year, a budget for the upcoming season is derived and fees presented at the Annual Meeting.  The biggest cost drivers in the player fees are ice rental and jerseys.  For more information on this year's player fees for each division refer to the "Fees" tab.

6)  What equipment do I need?

Answer:  This is the most common question asked by many parents.   Below is a list of the BASIC items you will need before stepping onto the ice:



Hockey Pants

Shoulder Pads

Elbow Pads

Shin Pads

Hockey Gloves

Itech Shorts with Integrated Protector

Neck Guard

Equipment Bag


Practice Jersey

Hockey Socks

Mouth Guard (Peewee and above)


Skates are lighter and have better performance features than ever.  They come in Youth (8-13), Junior (1-5) and Senior (6 and up) sizes.  Some models also have different widths for wider feet.   Some allow for thermal heating to custom-fit the inner skate to your feet.   Prices vary greatly. 


Helmets are the most important piece of equipment you can buy.  They come in a variety of colors and sizes.   Careful fit is a must.  Cages or clear plastic face shields are required.  


Pants protect the waist and thighs with padding.  Most can be held to the waist with an integrated belt or with over-the-shoulder suspenders.

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads have plastic protection above the shoulder and protect down to the waist.  They are meant to protect the collarbone, shoulders, bicep and ribs.  Velcro straps around the chest and biceps hold the shoulder pads in place

Elbow Pads

Elbow Pads provide hard foam or plastic protection for the  elbow.  They also provide protection to the bicep and forearm.  Velcro straps above and below the elbow are used to hold the pad in place.   

Shin Pads

Shin pads have plastic outer shells to protect the shin from pucks and sticks.   Newer versions have a wrap-around liner that protect the calf area.  Most attach to the shin with elastic Velcro straps. 


Gloves have low-density foam on the backside and soft leather on the palm side for easy grip.   Sizes vary.

ITECH Shorts with Integrated Protector

ITECH shorts come with a removable integrated protector cup on the inside and 4 Velcro flaps (two front and two back) to hold the top of your socks up.   A similar version is available for women.

Neck Guard

Neck Guards are mandatory in the STHA.  They provide soft protection below the helmet and above the shoulder pads for stray sticks and pucks.  They attach with Velcro.

Equipment Bag

Bags come in all shapes and sizes.  The newest bags have telescopic handles and wheels for easy pulling instead of just straps for carrying on your shoulder. 


Sticks are identified by their shaft diameter.   Junior's are the smallest, Intermediate the next size and Senior (Adult) are the largest.  Most Squirts and Mites will be best with a Junior stick.  For 1st time players who are not sure if they need a lefty or righty curve, a straight stick can be purchased until they decide. 

New, lighter composite sticks are replacing the older 1-piece wooden sticks.  Composite sticks come in 1-piece or 2- piece (blade and shaft separately).  Composite sticks cost more and tend to break easier.  

Practice Jersey

Needed for 1st time players at the beginning of the season.  After the season starts, house players will get a team jersey that can be used for all practices and games. 


Hockey Socks are made of heavy knit that stretches.  Some have loops at the bottom to slide your foot through.  The tops can be attached with a garter belt or to the Velcro straps on  ITECH shorts.

Socks are needed for 1st time players at the start of the season.  After a few practices, house players will receive 
a pair of matching socks to go with their jersey.

Mouth Guard

Mouth Guards are required for Pee Wee divisions and above when checking is allowed.  The strap attaches to the face mask.  The mouth piece can be custom heat-fitted to the player's mouth.

7)  Where do I purchase hockey equipment locally?


  • Hockey Shop, Front St, Binghamton

  • Dick's Sporting Goods, Vestal Towne Square Mall