The Evanston Jr. Wildkits manages the 8U (Mite) travel program, which offers 8U players the opportunity to play competitive, full-ice games against other programs from northern Illinois. The Jr. Wildkits compete in the Chicago United Hockey League that is affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Our 8U travel players have two practices per week (typically weeknights), plus usually one but sometimes two weekend games. Our 8U travel players also participate in 1-2 out-of-town tournaments.
Each practice and game typically lasts one hour or less. The program skates out of the Robert Crown Center in Evanston.
Registration and Season Information
There is a fall/winter season (typically September-March) and a spring season (typically March-May).
Conditioning for travel for the fall/winter season begins in August; tryouts begin in early September. There is typically a two-week break during the winter holidays.
Registration typically opens about 4-6 weeks before each season starts and will be available on evanstonhockey.com.
If you would like to be added to our mailing list to find out when registration opens, please email
Evanston Hockey and the Evanston Jr. Wildkits work hard to keep season fees steady. Hockey fees are announced in advance of sign-ups with discounts available for goalies and multiple siblings. On average, 8U travel hockey costs $2,850. Discounts are available for goalies and multiple siblings.
- practice and game ice
- league fees
- 1-2 game jerseys
- practice jerseys (that kids keep)
- game socks (that kids keep)
- branded giveaway item (that kids keep)
- end-of-season trophy/plaque
- coaching fees
- referee fees
Financial aid is available for those who demonstrate need. The dues adjustment form should be requested from the
. It should be completed and forwarded to the Evanston Hockey treasurer. The Evanston Hockey Finance Committee will consider all requests.
The schedule for all teams can be found on evanstonhockey.com. You can view the master calendar to see the schedule by week or you can view individual team schedules on the team pages. To stay current, you can download the most up-to-date schedule, which would include any changes as they happen, to your mobile devices and online calendars by clicking on the "options" drop down menu on each team's page. If you have more than one player, you can access multiple schedules by clicking on one of the team's pages and then clicking on "multi-schedule" where you have the ability to select more than one team to view schedules simultaneously.
Tryout Philosophy and Process
Evanston Hockey makes every possible effort to ensure that our tryout process for travel hockey has integrity, inspires confidence from parents and players and builds competitive teams that challenge players. Travel hockey provides players with a more intense practice and playing schedule geared toward a higher level of competition. It involves more ice time, significant instruction by a professional coaching staff and games played against other teams generally of a similar skill and commitment level.
Evanston Hockey travel tryouts are closed. This means that only skaters and coaches are allowed into the main ice area during tryouts. Our preference is to have the kids focus exclusively on the coaches’ directions, particularly since coachability is one of the primary criteria used to evaluate players.
The hockey director and multiple coaches use a ranking system to evaluate players during tryouts. The criteria used to assess players relative to their peers include the following:
- Skill: What is the player’s level of competence in core skills — including skating, passing, puck control and shooting?
- Attitude: What is the player’s attitude on the ice — toward the coaches, toward other players and toward himself/herself?
- Coachability: How receptive is the player to instruction from the coaches? How well does he/she apply that instruction?
- Hockey Sense: What is the player’s level of understanding of positional play and does he/she demonstrate an awareness of the game and positive decision-making abilities?
- Work Ethic: Does the player demonstrate the willingness to put in sustained effort necessary to improve his/her own skills as well as the team
- Athleticism: What is the player’s individual athletic ability — including speed and strength?
- Positional Needs: What position will this player most likely play — and how does that factor in with team needs at that position?
The hockey director and all coaches meet in person after tryouts are complete to review the number rankings and discuss each player. Input from previous coaches also may be considered. Teams are then finalized with input from all coaches who performed evaluations, as well as the hockey director.
Rosters are usually posted within 72 hours of the final tryouts. Teams may be divided by skill level or by birth year at the discretion of the hockey director.
Our coaches and hockey director work hard to get it right. We know that tryouts can be a stressful part of the season. We want every child who plays for Evanston Hockey to expand his or her skills and continue to love the game. Is it possible that we don’t get it right 100 percent of the time? Yes. We can assure you, though, that we care about our players and do everything we can to place each athlete at a level that will be challenging, advance hockey development and be fun.
If you have questions about your child’s team placement, we are happy to address them. Please contact Del Morris at
, and we will set up time to talk to you about your child’s strengths, development opportunities and how he or she can build skills in the year ahead.
If you want to understand the progression of playing hockey in Evanston starting with lacing up skates for the first time through high school, please view this document.
You can also send an email to
with general questions or contact the Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris at