The Indianapolis Racers were a franchise in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1974 to 1978. Competing for five years, they unfortunately folded 25 games into the 1978-1979 season. Most often they are best known for being the first professional team to hire NHL greats Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
Through the recent merger, IYHA has added an elite travel hockey program which is committed to developing players competing at the highest level possible. One AAA team and one AA team will be fielded at the U14 (Bantam), U12 (PeeWee) and U10 (Squirt) levels. The U16 (Midget) level will field one AAA team. All Racers Elite Travel teams will play an independent schedule of games and tournaments.
At each age level (U10 to U16), the Racers will field mixed-birth year teams. This is a change from the Indy Strong's previous format of birth year-specific teams (e.g. every player on a team's roster was born in the same year). Under the new format, players will benefit through a more competitive tryout environment and more variance of rosters from year to year.
At each age level except U16, AA and AAA teams will combine for a majority of their practices, enabling more players to regularly skate with our best coaches. This also keeps the cost to each family as low as possible. Practices will be held two to three times a week, depending on the age group. There will be two to four games on most weekends.
At each age level, one tryout will be held to select the AAA and AA teams. The tryout groups and their respective birth years will be as follows:
There will be no pre-determined number of players from each age group (e.g. it is possible for the entire U12 AAA, team to be comprised of all 2005 players). A player's birth year will have no impact on which team he or she plays for within his or her age level.
If it is determined at tryouts that there are sufficient travel-level players after the AAA and AA teams are selected, the IYHA will consider additional travel teams.
Racers AAA and AA tryouts will be held in May.
The Racers Select program gives house players who qualify an opportunity to participate in competitive games and tournaments in addition to their house team activities. Racers Select players must fulfill their house commitments – games and practices – in order to remain eligible to play on a select team.
IYHA has found the “blended experience” of house and select competition to be a tried and true way to develop skill and character in our players. Our emphasis is on fundamental skill-development, teamwork, sportsmanship and – most of all – fun.
House select is IYHA's first level of Indianapolis Racers hockey. The Squirt, PeeWee and Bantam levels will each have at least one team competing in the Buckeye Travel Hockey League. The BTHL's pre-season seeding tournament will determine the division in which each Racers team competes. Tryouts for Racers-select will be held in August.
Racers select players, in addition to their house commitment, will have one additional practice and at least two additional games (BTHL) on most weekends. All Racers-select games are scheduled so that they don’t conflict with the house-league schedule.