As a former president of our organization... tryout fees go to pay for the ice as well as the consultants doing the evaluation. With travel hockey, there is no guarantee, or at least shouldn't be, that you will make the team. It's competition, not recreation. Too many clubs use the parent/coach as the evaluator, and that isn't fair to the other kids trying out. Took awhile to break that at our club. One of our rules, no parents with kids on the ice can evaluate. We also added outside people to come and help evaluate, to keep those of us doing the evals honest. We have a nominal fee of 100 bucks for our tryouts. Helps defray the costs of the practice jersey we give the kids as well as ice and evaluator time.