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Welcome to NA Preps evaluation and selection process information page. NA Prep has put together an equal opportunity evaluation program that provides all players the chance to exhibit their hockey skills.  Skating ability, hockey knowledge and commitment to teamwork are some of the key elements reviewed and what ultimately determines where a player is placed.  NA Prep is committed to assigning players on teams that not only best improve hockey skills, but also self-confidence and love of the game.
Tryouts can be a stressful time, especially for parents who may not have a clear understanding of how their player is ranked.  Unfortunately, this tension can be detrimental to the player's performance and makes the game and the process not enjoyable.  By outlining our evaluation process on our website it is our hope that our families can focus on what is most important...encouraging our players to work hard and have fun.  Please take the time to read through this information and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. 
The NA Prep leadership believes that our evaluation process is fair and credible and we strive to help our hockey families better understand how a player is assessed. 
Thank You,
Jami "JJ" James
Director - North American Preparatory Hockey Academy

North American Prep's leadership, coaches, and staff are a group of individuals who love the game of hockey.  They dedicate their time, not only to this incredible game but to a program that prides itself on integrity and commitment.  We believe a hockey program is only successful if every player is fully dedicated to all aspects of the game.  By signing up for our development teams, we feel all players are committing to participate fully in all team activities on and off the ice. Unfortunately,  the evaluation process cannot always properly judge a player’s and their family’s commitment to hockey and North American Prep specifically. Players and parents at all levels should expect that hockey will require a significant time commitment and should discuss any attendance concerns with the Director prior to evaluations. 
General Information
To be eligible for evaluations, returning players must be paid in full from the prior season and an initial non-refundable deposit must be made for the upcoming season.
All skaters and goaltenders that wish to play for an NA Prep Development Team must attend an evaluation or the player will be placed on the lowest level team to start.  There may be an opportunity to move up, but placement on a higher team is only available if roster space and skill set allows. 


The number of evaluation sessions per level will vary.  Note - attending multiple sessions (i.e. callbacks) does not guarantee placement on any one team and should not be viewed as "making a cut" or "advancing to the next level."

The number of teams rostered in a season is determined by the number of players who commit to the evaluations.
No player, regardless of past affiliation, is guaranteed a position on a North American Prep Team.
Sibling, carpool or any other requests are not a reason for placement on the same team.
NA Prep takes pride in being a “youth hockey” program. We value, care and spend as much time on every one of our players and teams.
All evaluation scores are kept on file for 1 year and are only released at the discretion of the Director.
All players MUST attend evaluations in order to be placed on a team (see Absent Players section below). 
Absent Players 
In the event that a player is unable to make one or more of the tryout sessions to which he or she is assigned, the player or his/her parent(s) should promptly contact the Director, Jami "JJ" James, and explain the reason for the absence.  If the absence is excused, the player shall be placed on a team by the Evaluation Committee based on all available information about such player, including the level of the player’s current team, his/her coach’s view and placement of comparable players. Absences due to injury or illness and family emergencies shall generally be excused.  Unexcused absences may result in the player not being placed on a team or placed on the lowest team at that level. 
The board appoints 3-5 impartial selectors, consisting of independent hockey professionals, high school coaches, youth hockey coaches and/or parents that DO NOT have a child present at the tryout.
Evaluators are chosen based on past experience and appropriate hockey knowledge. 
Evaluators may not have a relative in the level they are evaluating.
Evaluators are instructed to not share comments regarding their observations.  Their job is to rate each player from 1 to 3, using a standardized evaluation system.

The Evaluation
Plan to arrive at evaluations at least 30 minutes prior to the start. All skaters are to check in with staff at the lobby.
Players will be given colored pinnies or jerseys with numbers. That number and color are assigned to each child and only the number and color are given to the evaluators. Names are withheld.
Independent Evaluators are on site and autonomously observe and grade each player on a scale from 1 to 3, using a standardized evaluation system rating the following:

  • Skating - (Players ability to execute the following on skates: balance, turn, pivot, forward, backward, inside/outside edge control, crossovers)

  • Vision - (The player's ability to see the ice and utilize its spacial relationships.)

  • Skill Set - (The key player fundamental needs of the game)

  • Character - (The Players Overall Etiquette and Mental Qualities)

  • VSS Proficiency - (The player is evaluated on their ability to utilize Skating, Vision, Skill at the same time.)

  • Timed Trial Events

3-5 Coaches and Assistants will be on ice running the drills and on-ice scenarios and maybe current coaches for those players on the ice.  They are not always involved in the initial selection process but are there to ensure a well-run evaluation. 
Evaluation sessions will consist of both skills and game scenario sessions. The skills component is typically four or five stations focusing on hockey fundamentals such as skating, passing, shooting, corner play and stick handling. The game scenario session will simulate a game setting and further evaluate skills with a stronger focus on game awareness.

Again, ratings are based on overall skill, performance, physical play and knowledge of the game.  In other words, simply scoring the most goals or playing overly aggressive (i.e. body checking) doesn't necessarily translate into a high ranking. 
Goalies will be evaluated on their balance and movement, agility and quickness, angles and positions, save selection, competitiveness, anticipation, intensity, concentration, and athleticism. 

Goaltender selections are based on discussion amongst coaches. There is a possibility of having a rotating schedule. Players being evaluated as goalies are expected to play goal for the team that they are placed on. Teams with two goalies will split goalie-playing time equally – as determined by the coach.

Players may be evaluated as both a skater and a goalie if they are not sure whether they want to commit to being a full-time goalie. Note - This is not encouraged at the PeeWee or higher levels. 
If any skater is interested in playing goalie but is not ready to commit to full-time status, then our leadership will decide placement based on ability.  He/she may be asked to attend a call back for goaltending placement purposes. 
Any player that makes a team as a full-time goalie must play as a goalie on that team. Should the player decide that he/she does not want to be a full-time goalie after the team assignments have been completed, then placement will be re-evaluated by the evaluation committee and determined by ability and roster availability. 
*Program fees for full-time goalies are discounted.  
Evaluation Results  
Following the Independent Evaluation ratings, players will be grouped into one of the following designations:


1) Locks
The top designated players or "Locks" after the first evaluations are placed on the higher team and, once approved by the evaluation committee, will not be further evaluated.  However, they will be required to attend any callbacks and they ARE NOT notified of their "Lock" status. (See Locks explanation below)  
2) On the Bubble 
The next tier or "On the Bubble" players are those that need further evaluation to determine which team best suits his/her skill level.  (See On the Bubble explanation below)
3) Lower Level Team
The bottom tier of players is those whose skills need further development and the recommendation is that they play for our lower level team. These players should not need further evaluation, but in rare instances could be invited to a callback.
Locks and On the Bubble Further Explained 
Roster sizes are determined based on the number of players being evaluated.  A predetermined formula provides NA Prep with a designated number of players who make the team “Locks” and a designated number of “Bubble” players.  In most instances, Locks will need no further evaluation.  However, Bubble players will be called back for coaches to evaluate to complete the selection of their team. 

Although Bubble players are determined by evaluation results, if multiple scores fall within a narrow margin, the bubble number may be increased to reflect this circumstance. If a player who has previously played on an upper level falls below the bubble after evaluations, that player will be placed in the bubble for re-evaluation. This will not affect the original, designated bubble number. If additional players in the bubble are within similar score ranges, they may be included in the bubble. If a player has a weak tryout or if evaluations seem to be off, it may be recommended that the player returns to a second evaluation/tryout. They will return as a Bubble player. All additions to the “Bubble” are approved by the Board.
Bubble players may be asked to attend a second evaluation. These selections are based on coach's recommendations.  Selections are presented at the Evaluators Meeting for approval. The Director will have the final say based on player evaluation and evaluators recommendations. 
Following the evaluation session, players may be asked to return for a "call back."
Typically, the “locks” and “on the bubble” players after the first evaluations are invited to attend the callbacks so that bubble players may be re-evaluated in comparison. Note – The “Locks” are not being re-evaluated, but they are vital to the callback process.
Any player could be invited to a callback and it’s important to note that a callback invitation DOES NOT guarantee your child a spot on the team.

NA Prep coaches and evaluators manage the callback evaluation. It is up to the coaches to run drills that help them best complete each team from among the bubble players.


Any players not selected for the tournament development team will be welcomed and highly encouraged to continue training at all development program weekends. Players not initially selected may also be invited to play on the development team if there are any tournaments where development team players cannot attend and an alternate player can be brought to the team to gain more experience and development opportunities. This is particularly true for the spring tournaments as we have many players who play lacrosse, soccer, and baseball in the spring and may have to miss a tournament for those other sporting or family opportunities. Our aim is to give as many young players as possible opportunities to expand their skills and compete at a higher level.

Once the spring evaluation process and callbacks are completed, and the initial rosters are created, the players and parents are then notified.
Notification generally takes place within a day or two from the date of the last evaluation with a goal of completing all calls prior to April 1st. 
This information is HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL and is to be communicated by COACHES ONLY. 
Roster changes made at any point are approved by the Board of Directors and then followed-up with notification to player or parent. 
It should be noted that inappropriate behavior by a skater or parent on/
off-ice during the evaluations will not be tolerated. Inappropriate behavior includes but is not limited to illegal checking, elbowing, tripping, and harassment of other skaters on or off the ice and use of foul language.


Departure from NA Prep's Development Program and/or Team
North American Prep invests a great deal of time and money into the evaluation process and in building teams as a result of the process. If a player withdraws from NA Prep as a whole or just from a team that they tried out for, they will forfeit their initial registration deposit.
Any parent who has a concern with the selection process and/or a player’s placement should contact NA Prep Director, Jami "JJ" James. The board will then review the grievance using coaches’ selection sheets. All grievances must be submitted in writing to the Director.

We hope that this summary of the evaluation and team selection process has been informative.  North American Prep is dedicated to conducting tryouts that are both productive and fair. 



The objective of the evaluation process:

  1. To provide a fair and impartial an assessment of a player’s total hockey skills as possible during the skating and scrimmage sessions. This ensures that players have a reasonable opportunity of making a team appropriate to their skill level as determined during the on-ice evaluations.

  2. Although it is impossible to eliminate all subjectivity or previous coach/player experiences, the selection process will attempt to only reflect on-ice performance during the evaluation period. Again, as an Association, our goal in team formation is to have players of similar ability playing together to maintain balanced teams where the athletes can participate equitably and have fun playing hockey during the season.

  3. The selection criteria developed at each level will be the same for all players at that level, from Initiation to Bantam and the evaluations will be documented. This ensures consistency in the evaluation process and provides consistency in player and parent/guardian expectations from year to year as players move through the various levels of NAPHA’s programs.

  4. A primary goal of the evaluation process is to form teams to maintain balanced and competitive play where the players can develop and participate equitably and have fun playing hockey during the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer season.

  5. Evaluations are documented and remain confidential. Individual evaluation scores and rankings are not released, as our purpose is to form teams, not to rank players on their individual skills. Under no circumstances will evaluation results be released to parent/guardians or players. The evaluation sheets and the ranking criteria are only made available to the Hockey Director of NAPHA.

  6. Any injury, illness or other absence which prevents a player from completing the evaluations will be dealt with by the Hockey Director. The Hockey Director shall be entitled to utilize prior season evaluations, prior season level of play and prior coach reviews in making a determination of placement. Please note however that all players are strongly encouraged to make every effort to attend evaluations as relying on previous season information is not as accurate and may result in your child being placed in a lower tier than expected.





  1. All registration and evaluation fees (if applicable) must be paid in full, or arrangement made to pay by payments prior to the player attending evaluations.

  2. Subject to the availability of ice players may receive one or more non-evaluation skates prior to the evaluations.

  3. In the event timed drills are utilized in a Divisional Evaluation Process reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that either independent technology such as laser timing gates are utilized or, in the event manual stopwatches are utilized, at minimum two timers are used on each player with neither be a parent/guardian or relative of such player.

  4. During evaluations, players shall be assigned a number and evaluations shall be completed utilizing that players number to identify them. Every effort should be made to ensure player remain anonymous to evaluators during evaluations.

  5. All non-timed evaluations such as small area games, skill evaluation, and grading games shall utilize a minimum of four (4) evaluators. The Association will make every effort to utilize evaluators without children in the division being evaluated but, should this be unavailable for any reason, the Hockey Director will make every effort to ensure they are unbiased and unrelated to the players being evaluated.

  6. Hockey Director must have an appropriate background to effectively evaluate player skills and performance. Preferable background characteristics can include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Experience with player evaluation and performance systems;

    • Suitable background in hockey either as a player or as a coach;

    • Knowledgeable persons that are not stakeholders in the division being evaluated;

    • Players or coaches from other levels of hockey programs;

    • A willingness to evaluate players in categories in which they do not have a child registered.

  7. As much as possible there should be a consistency of the hockey director for a given age group or division. This continuity ensures that the players are being observed by a group of evaluators who have a benchmark for performance and knowledge of the overall ability of the group that they are observing. Further evaluators should

    • Review all of the drills and skills to be observed so that you are clear on the on-ice process

    • Review the evaluation criteria prior to the process to ensure that all evaluators are evaluating the same skill with the same intent

    • Stay separate from the spectators and parents during the entire on-ice process

    • Make sure that all evaluators have the same evaluation page with the same tryout numbers and colors

    • Review your marks at the end of the session to ensure you have not made any entry errors

    • Evaluation documents should be gathered by a member of the NA Prep at the completion of each ice session

    • The evaluation shall not share comments or opinions with any players/ parents or other interested observers

    • The evaluation staff shall refer questions, comments or complaints that they may receive to the Evaluation Committee without offering comment on the question or complaint.

  8. The evaluation format will consist of timed skills evaluation only at the Initiation Level and a combination of timed and/or subjective skills evaluation and grading game(s) at all other levels.

  9. Goaltender evaluations will only be at the Atom Level and above and will consist of separate goaltender specific skills evaluation sessions and the full team scrimmages.

  10. All questions concerning the decision of the Evaluation Committee shall be the first directed to the Evaluation Committee via the Divisional Director. Player evaluation and placement are not subject to the right to appeal. Any deviation from this Policy will be dealt with in accordance with the NAPHA General Policies and Procedures.

  11. The Association shall review this Policy on an annual basis prior to the next hockey season to ensure the procedures and practices contained herein in accordance with the principles of the Association in regards to evaluations.

  12. The Evaluation Committee shall be entitled to adopt the initial Divisional Evaluation Process for each Division and modify or amend the Divisional Evaluation Process for a particular Division with the approval of the NAPHA President provided such is completed by August 1 prior to the commencement of a season. Once adopted in accordance with this provision such Divisional Evaluation Process shall be attached to and form a part of this Evaluation Policy.

North American PrepARTORY


29 Golden Eagle Street

Columbia Falls, MT 59912


Tel: 1-844-NAPREP1

Mob: 406-885-2028

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