Columbus Capitals Travel Program

The following information is provided as an overview of the Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey program. 

***IMPORTANT NOTE*** Due to COVID-19, the plans and expectations for Travel Hockey may change throughout the season and the below information may change as CAHA and our Travel Hockey teams adjust to government guidelines and restrictions. 


What is the Columbus Capitals travel hockey program?

What is the cost to play Columbus Capitals travel hockey?

How are coaches selected?

How many teams will the Columbus Capitals field this season?

How are players evaluated during tryouts?

Do all players have to attend tryouts?

When will we be notified if a player has or has not made a team?

How many games and tournaments will a travel team play?

How many practices will there be for the travel teams and where do they practice?

Will there be traveling every weekend?

How long does the season last?

What kind of commitment are the coaches looking for?

What is Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey’s position regarding “ playing up” to the next age category as defined by USA Hockey?


What is the Columbus Capitals travel hockey program?

The Columbus Capitals travel hockey program is designed to complement the house league program by allowing players to further develop their skills; improve their knowledge and understanding of the game; and nurture their desire, dedication and discipline to play the game of ice hockey. The CAHA Board, the Travel Director and the Travel Committee oversee the program. 

Most players at CAHA develop through our house, select and travel programs and advance on to high school JV/Varsity or club JV/Varsity. Some players who have developed through the Capitals travel program have gone on to play at higher levels of competition like the AAA Ohio Blue Jackets, Junior hockey in the U.S. and Canada, collegiate club hockey at Ohio University, Kent State, University of Dayton, Wright State University, and varsity level hockey at universities such as The Ohio State University, Eastern Michigan, Rochester Institute of Technology, Notre Dame, Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio. Some of our players have returned to youth hockey to coach, serve as volunteers, become members of the Committee, or even have their children join and play in our programs.

Columbus Capitals travel hockey strongly supports the principles and guidelines of USA Hockey, Inc. regarding house and travel programs and we firmly believe in a balance between winning, learning the game, and having fun.  No player, team, coach, parent or supporter is more important than the program and the enjoyment of the game by the players. And our goal is to ensure kids are playing at the right level for development.

What is the cost to play Columbus Capitals travel hockey? The cost will depend upon a variety of factors: age level, number of games, whether the team plays in a league, etc.  Typical expenses are ice time, league fees, referees, tournaments, coaching fees (if applicable) and administration fees. A typical season ranges from $2,000 to $2,500. 

Home and away uniforms are required and not part of the monthly fee. As well, all hockey equipment that is required (pants, gloves, skates, sticks, etc.) is not a part of that fee. All players of Columbus Capitals teams must have navy blue pants and/or navy blue shells, a navy blue helmet and either Navy/White or Navy/Red/White gloves. 

The first fee that is due is a deposit of $300 to accept a spot on a travel team.  This will be due within 24 hours of receiving the offer for a roster spot on a team. After that, the amount due is split up and paid over 6 months, starting in June.  Failure to maintain payments will result in removal from the certified roster and will make the player ineligible to participate. 

How are coaches selected?

The Travel Director oversees the placement of coaches along with the assistance of the Travel Committee. Members of the committee are individuals who understand and agree with the Columbus Capitals overall philosophy concerning youth hockey. The applications are examined based upon the “Four C’ s” required to be a coach:

Communications including the ability of a coach to communicate with both parents and players,
Character including willingness to abide by USA Hockey’s Coaching Code of Ethics,
Commitment to the USA Hockey and Columbus Capitals travel program philosophy and to the time requirements to coach,
Competency including knowledge of the game and ability to teach the game.


USA Hockey, CAHA and the Columbus Capitals requires all coaches to be certified by attending appropriate coaching clinics; coaches may be certified at the Associate, Intermediate, Advanced or Masters level by USA Hockey.

How many teams will the Columbus Capitals field for the upcoming season?

The Columbus Capitals travel program is designed for players who play above the house/select level and are ready to progress to the next level by playing on a team with other similarly skilled players against a higher level of competion than at the house levels. Under the tutelage of more experienced coaches, players will have the opportunity to improve those skills and improve their knowledge of the game by playing against high level opponents. 

The classification of teams (AA, A etc.) will depend on the talent and skill level available at a particular age division. Each year the Travel Committee will release information on the number of travel teams and the levels (AA, A) expected at each birth year and/or age group. Most travel teams are formed by players from the same birth year. However, sometimes we will have an A-level mixed birth year team. That mixed birth year team will still be within the same age grouping (U10/Squirt, U12/Pee Wee, U14/Bantam).


How are players evaluated during tryouts?

The head coach of the team, independent evaluators and the Travel Director work hard to objectively assess the skills of each player at the tryouts. Using a set series of drills and scrimmages designed to help demonstrate the skills needed to play the game, the evaluators will be looking for a variety of skill sets to evaluate players: skating ability, stick handling, shooting ability, and knowledge of the game.  They look at: forward and backwards skating, turning, crossovers, stopping, transitions, lateral movement, passing/receiving a puck, endurance, shooting techniques, weight transfer, wrist shots, snap shots, and slap shots along with shooting accuracy. Every effort will be made to provide a fair, impartial evaluation of the players.

Quote from U.S. Olympic team and Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations GM. Brian Burke on selecting the players for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team:
"You can't just take the best 23 players; we have to take players who can perform specific tasks at a high level, even if that's a grunt task, even a blue-collar task if people can do it well.”
“If you look at the course of a hockey game, the jobs that players are called on to perform, some of them aren't glamorous, winning the key face off in your own end, killing penalties or blocking a shot at a key time. These are the things we're going to need to be successful."

Hockey is a team sport and individuals with stronger skills but who are selfish can often times be counterproductive to achieving team goals and upset team chemistry. Hockey is a long season and the right team chemistry (on and off the ice) is crucial to a successful program. Coaches will keep this in mind when making team selections.

Do all players have to attend tryouts? All players who wish to be considered for a travel team are required to attend tryouts. If there is a conflict or special situation, the issue should be presented to the coach, the Travel Director or Travel Committee prior to the tryouts.  

Tryouts are open to all players in the Central Ohio area.  Tryouts are not by invitation.

Coaches are not allowed to form teams prior to the tryouts.  Coaches are not allowed to select parent assistant coaches prior to the selection of the team.

When will we be notified if a player has or has not made a team?

Coaches are urged to make their selections and notify all players as soon as possible after completion of a tryout session.  Sometimes this is done within 24 hours after the last tryout has been completed and sometimes it may take a couple of days to work through offers to complete the rosters of teams. If a AA team and an A team are being formed at a birth year, it may take 3-4 days to get the rosters set. CAHA will do all we can to communicate in a timely fashion and we will notify parents, usually via email, if their player did not make the team. 

How many games and tournaments will a travel team play?

In general, the number of games will range from 40 to 45(max) for U10/Squirts, 50-55(max) for U12/PeeWees and  55-60 (max) for U/14Bantams.  These games include tournament games.  The A-level teams and Minor AA Squirt teams are encouraged to compete in the Buckeye Travel Hockey League or another approved organized league. Leagues typically have between 15 and 25 league games.  Any team that desires to play an independent schedule will be  required to have ADVANCED approval from the Travel Director.  

How many practices will there be for the travel teams and where do they practice? ?

The number of practices will vary, but in general our goal is to have the travel players on the ice at least twice a week during the season plus games on the weekend. Some practices are full-ice practices and some are shared with other teams. We use the Fairgrounds Coliseum as the major rink for travel hockey practices and the Chiller ice rinks as our additional ice venues. Some coaches may try to have off ice practices using parking lots, gymnasiums, or roller hockey rinks to supplement the costly on ice practices. 

Will there be traveling every weekend?

Most travel teams will not be traveling every weekend.  Each team should be playing approximately half of their league games at home and half on the road. If possible, teams will try to schedule two games during a road trip to help minimize the amount of travel. Some teams may have several overnight weekend trips while others may not have any. A team could go a full month without any “away” games and then travel during the next three weekends. We have a travel geography recommendation in place for the the AA Teams to not to exceed a 5-6 hour radius of travel time and A Teams to a 3-5 hour radius.  ANY trips to Canada must be approved and a travel permit needs to be obtained before a team can participate.

How long does the season last? ?

For players selected to Columbus Capitals travel teams, coaches may begin off-ice conditioning over the summer depending on the schedule and interest of the players. On-ice activities may begin as early as July. Generally, all of the travel teams will begin practicing two times a week by Labor Day and will end their season in February or March.

What kind of commitment are the coaches looking for?

All the coaches are looking for players who have the desire, dedication and discipline to play travel hockey. This includes a willingness to attend all practices, off-ice conditioning, games, and tournaments for the Columbus Capitals team. Coaches expect players to have the self-discipline to notify the coach or team manager of any conflicts, perform well in school and budget their time to avoid excuses for homework or tests, and, above all, be respectful of others. While we understand that every player must balance their home, school, and hockey life, a commitment to a travel team implies a commitment and a responsibility to teammates and the coach.  Discipline is also expected on and off the ice regarding proper behavior. Fighting, profanity, and disrespect for other people (including teammates, opponents and game officials) and disrespect for property will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action including suspension from games or practices or suspension from the team. Columbus has a long history of fielding teams that will play the game with dignity and respect whether they are winning or losing and we will not allow this tradition to be compromised. In this regard, and in the best interests of the program, players and coaches, Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey may exercise its right to deny participation to a player or parent based on prior incidents involving the player and/or a parent. Players and parents will be provided a “Code of Conduct” that they will be required to sign. This “Code of Conduct” will detail what is expected from them regarding their responsibility to the team.

What is Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey’s position regarding “ playing up” to the next age category as defined by USA Hockey?

USA Hockey discourages youngsters from “playing up” in the next age category.

Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey Play Up Policy:

While USA Hockey generally discourages "playing up" into the next age category, CAHA recognizes that there are some situations that may warrant an exception. CAHA will consider allowing a player to Play Up for the Columbus Capitals Travel Hockey program ONLY from 8U-MAJOR to 10U-MINOR.  No other PLAY UP requests are offered within any other Travel Division. (Play ups for house are handled in the fall during evaluations). If you believe your child should be considered, please contact Travel Director