How to properly get a release from a hockey team in Michigan?

You might be in an unfortunate situation where you need to get a release from a team, there are many reasons why parents might request a release from a team.  I don't believe anyone signs up to play for a team not expecting to finish out the season.  However, events happen and situations arise that might change that view as the season goes on.  This article is to help get you all of the information to get a release in one easy place for Michigan players.

What many families don't realize is a release isn't always initiated by the player or player's family; a team can also request a release.  Very unlikely but teams can also release a player.

In Michigan, they follow USA hockey as most do.  Michigan's district/affiliate rules and bylaws are run by Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA).  In order to get a release, all the rules are set forth by MAHA.  If you want to skip the article and just read their rules here are the 2019-2020 MAHA Rules & ByLaws.

When doing a release there are a few important dates that you should be aware of:

November 30th - Last day for a team initiated release (Section II T, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)

December 23rd - Last Day for Roster Changes to be Eligible for Districts / States (in case you are joining a new team) (Section II T, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)

December 31st - Exceptions to the above provision can be made in extraordinary circumstances by a two-thirds majority approval of the State Playoff Committee prior to December 31st. (Section II T, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)

Once you decide that you want an official release from your child's current team, here are the steps.

The Steps:

1.  Call or if you can have an in-person meeting with your Head Coach.  These conversations are sometimes uncomfortable depending on the reasons why you are requesting the release.  Be honest; you want a release for some specific reasons, let the coach know exactly what those are.  It might have everything to do with the coach or nothing to do with them at all.  The hockey community is a very small world; you want to leave your current team on the best terms you can.

2.  Once your official request to be released has been asked you wait.  Be patient, don't be pestering the coach or manager, most of these positions are voluntary and they will need to take the appropriate steps to make sure you are able to get a release.  A good rule of thumb is to wait 72 hours before checking on your release with the team.

3.  A release from a team must be granted if the hockey player is current on their fees as outlined in their Association/team player contract.  If your team doesn't have a fees contract then a prorated amount must be paid before the release will be granted.  (Section II U, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)

If your team doesn't have fees outlined in their Association/team player contract MAHA has a provision in their Rules & ByLaws that they will need to go by:

(1) After written contract is signed, but never participated in any activities - $300

(2) Through September 15th - 25% of total yearly fee is owed

(3) Through October 15th - 50% of total yearly fee is owed

(4) Through November 15th - 75% of yearly fee is owed

(5) Through December 15th - 100% of yearly fee is owed

4.  All equipment belonging to the team such as shells or bags must be returned prior to the release as well.  (Section II U, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)

5.  If all of the conditions above have been met then the Coach or Manager should supply with you a filled Player Conditional Release Form.  Once you are released from your current team, you can fill out the bottom portion if you are joining a new team.  This completed and signed release form officially removes you from all commitments to that team.

What happens if my current team doesn't send me the release paperwork?:

The steps above outline a professional way of getting release paperwork for your child.  But what happens if your current team is dragging their feet and does not send you release paperwork, or is not responding to your hopefully polite and professional inquiries.  MAHA has the authority to release a player who is refused a release by his/her team or Association.  (Section II U, MAHA 2019-2020 Annual Guide p.28)  This is obviously not what we would expect out of most teams or Associations but the rule is in place because it has probably happened over the years.

In order to contact your District Council, you need to know what District you are in.  In case you do not know; here is a MAHA District Map to use for Reference.  Once you determine what District your team is in, you will need to contact your District Council.  Please click on your District to have a link to take your right to the contact list you will need to use.  District 2 Directory | District 3 Directory | District 4 DirectoryDistrict 5 DirectoryDistrict 6 DirectoryDistrict 7 DirectoryDistrict 8 Directory

We hope that this article helps make the process easier and while there are plenty of reasons to leave a team.  We strongly suggest taking your time and making the best possible decision you can for your hockey player and your family.  We wish you the best on your hockey journey.

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