COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey will host its 2013 Annual Congress Wednesday, June 5, through Saturday, June 8, at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs, Colo. The four-day event provides USA Hockey's various councils, committees and affiliates the opportunity to conduct the business of the national governing body and celebrate the year's accomplishments. In addition, two dinners will be staged to honor those who have contributed to the success of USA Hockey and celebrate the 2012-13 season.
USA Hockey will honor its service award recipients and various players of the year on June 5 at its annual Night of Tribute Awards Dinner, while other top award winners will be recognized during the President's Awards Dinner June 7.
Wednesday's award recipients include Adult Ironman of the Year Sue Ring-Jarvi (Anoka, Minn.), Bob Allen Women's Player of the YearAmanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Taylor Cammarata(Plymouth, Minn.), Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Charlie Lindgren (Lakeville, Minn.), College Player of the Year Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.), and Disabled Athlete of the Year Christy Gardner (Lewiston, Maine).
President's Awards Dinner honorees will include Adult Member of the Year Tom Cline (Sylvania, Ohio), Bob Johnson Award winner John Gibson(Pittsburgh, Pa.), Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Phil Housley (Stillwater, Minn.), and Chet Stewart Award honoree Kevin Upton(Washington, D.C.).
Also recognized on Friday will be Excellence in Safety Award recipient Doug Abrams(Columbia, Mo.), Walter Yaciuk Award winner Al Bloomer (Red Lodge, Mont.), and Wm. Thayer Tutt Award honoree Doug Ackley (Massena, N.Y.).
Media are invited to attend both awards dinners. Please contact Rob Koch (email@example.com 719-538-1169) in USA Hockey's communications department by Friday (May 31) for accreditation and seating. Athletes, coaches and dignitaries will be made available for interviews upon request.
Widely recognized as a pioneer in Minnesota women’s hockey, Sue Ring-Jarvi organized the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Hockey Club Team in 1974 and initiated girls’ hockey programs throughout the metro area from 1976-78. She was also part of the movement that led Minnesota to become the first state to recognize girls’ hockey as a varsity sport in 1994. Ring-Jarvi was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s National M Club Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was recognized with the Joe Burke Award in 2007, presented annually to the person who has given outstanding contribution, support, and dedication to women’s ice hockey. She also remains an active player in the sport, most recently competing with the Minnesota Blue J Bandits at the 2013 Toyota-USA Hockey National Championships.
It is hard to imagine a more successful season than Amanda Kessel enjoyed in 2012-13 as she won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, helped her University of Minnesota team to an undefeated season capped by winning the NCAA championship, and earned a gold medal as a member of Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship. With the Gophers, the junior forward led the nation with a career-high 101 points (46 goals, 55 assists), becoming only the fourth player in NCAA history to reach 100 points in a season. She also became the 24th player in NCAA history to reach 200 career points and only the ninth to do so in three seasons. Kessel, a First-Team All-America selection, was also named WCHA Player of the Year and was selected to the All-WCHA First Team and WCHA All-Academic Team. At the IIHF Women’s World Championship, she scored the game-winning goal in the gold-medal game to help Team USA secure its fourth gold medal in the last five world championships. She was named U.S. Player of the Game and earned recognition as one of the top three players of the tournament for Team USA.
Taylor Cammarata is the third player from the Waterloo Black Hawks to earn USA Hockey’s Junior Player of the Year Award after emerging as the top offensive threat in the United States Hockey League in 2012-13. Cammarata was named both the USHL’s Forward of the Year and Player of the Year after leading the league with 38 goals and 93 points in 59 games this season. His 55 assists placed second overall in the league. The high-scoring forward notched at least one point in 48 of 59 games played and tallied 29 multiple-point games, including a six-point effort on Oct. 28 at Youngstown. He was plus or even in 53 of his 59 games and placed fourth in the league with a plus-39 rating. Cammarata was also a member of the U.S. Junior Select Team this past fall that earned first place at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge. He recorded four points in the event, including a goal and three assists in four games.
Netminder Charlie Lindgren helped the Sioux Falls Stampede to the United States Hockey League’s Western Conference crown and a second-place finish overall in the league with a 35-14-2 regular-season record. He led the USHL in wins and played in all but 12 of the team’s 64 games. His 35 victories contributed to 72 of Sioux Falls’ 92 total points in 2012-13. Lindgren allowed two or fewer goals on 24 occasions, including a pair of shutouts, and finished the regular season with a 2.80 goals against average and .900 save percentage. He was fifth in the league with 1,198 saves and appeared in all 10 playoff games for Sioux Falls, posting a 5-5 record along with a 2.52 goals against average and .921 save percentage. Lindgren will take his talents to St. Cloud, Minn., in 2013-14 where he will play for the St. Cloud State University Huskies.
Eric Hartzell enjoyed a stellar season anchoring Quinnipiac University, with his 30-7-5 record helping the Bobcats to the ECAC Hockey regular-season title, the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Men’s Frozen and a national runner-up finish. The senior goaltender was selected to the 2012-13 American Hockey Coaches Association CCM Division I All-America East First Team and was also the 2012-13 USCHO Player of the Year. His campaign also earned him ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and ECAC Hockey Ken Dryden Goaltender of the Year honors. Additionally, he was named to the All-ECAC Hockey First Team and NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team. The Hobey Baker finalist allowed two goals or fewer in 35 of his 42 starts and led the Bobcats to the top overall team defense in the nation. He posted a 1.57 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage and led the nation with 2,522 minutes played. His five shutouts tied for third overall. Hartzell also backstopped the Bobcats while Quinnipiac went 18-0-3 during a 21-game unbeaten streak that ran from Nov. 9 to Feb. 9. Hartzell leaves the Bobcats with an all-time record of 58-27-17, along with a 1.96 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
An accomplished high school athlete, Christy Gardner participated in many different sports throughout her life and earned a scholarship to Long Island University for field hockey and lacrosse. After college, she enlisted in the army and was stationed in Korea, where she suffered injuries that ended her ability to play standard sports and almost left her unable to live on her own. After successful rehabilitation, and with the help of a faithful service dog named Moxie, Gardner was able to regain her life and independence. She has also rediscovered her inner athlete through the sport of sled hockey. Now, she acts as a mentor to younger disabled athletes both on and off the ice. She not only encourages them to practice and learn as much as they can about the sport, but also models how to be a tremendous friend, teammate and athlete. In January, she organized an event to bring her sled hockey team to her hometown of Lewiston, Maine, where they played a series of games against the team from the University of New Hampshire. She is also the only female player on the military sled team, the USA Warriors.
As the general manager of Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter Sports, Tom Cline has been involved with the sport of ice hockey since he began playing at that facility as a youngster in 1972. Hired as operations manager in 1991, Cline has been instrumental in the expansion of the facility through the addition of a second ice surface in 1993 and an indoor turf field in 2001. In the past three years, his responsibilities have grown to include direction of both the house/recreation and travel hockey programs, along with the recent acquisition of two businesses vertically integrated into the overall operation. Under his guidance, the number of adult leagues has doubled with the introduction of an over-35 league in the early 1990s and a subsequent over-50 league, complete with a waiting list. In addition, the youth hockey department has increased the number of skaters at the facility, expanded program offerings, provided a stronger base for girls' hockey and codified player development across both house and travel teams as a means of retaining and creating a better player experience.
The Adult Member of the Year Award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions during many years of service to the ice hockey community as an adult player and/or volunteer.
John Gibson enjoyed unprecedented success on the international stage during a memorable 2013 and has quickly built an impressive resume with Team USA. Gibson began the year backstopping the U.S. National Junior Team to the gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship. He posted a 5-0-0-2 record and was selected Most Valuable Player of the championship. Gibson also received the directorate award as the tournament’s best goaltender, was selected to the Media All-Star Team and was named one of Team USA’s best three players of the tournament. He set the U.S. record for save percentage (.955) for a single World Junior Championship and his 1.36 goals-against average ranked third by a U.S. goalie in a single tournament. The 19-year-old netminder proceeded to help the U.S. Men’s National Team earn a bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF Men’s World Championship, where he finished second in goaltending with a 1.56 goals against average and .951 save percentage. He became the second-youngest netminder in world championship history to win a playoff game with an 8-3 victory over Russia in the quarterfinals before backstopping Team USA to a bronze medal shootout win over Finland.
The Bob Johnson Award recognizes excellence in international hockey competition during a specific season of play.
Kevin Upton has been associated with USA Hockey for more than 35 years as a coach, administrator, on-ice official and supervisor throughout Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. As an administrator in the 1970s, Upton established the Hampton Roads Youth Hockey Association, was a co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Youth Hockey League and organized the first local officials association in Virginia. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he concentrated on officiating and was eventually elected president of the Southeastern Hockey Officials Association in 1989. Several of his programs and policies are still in effect today. Upton worked as an on-ice official for numerous USA Hockey district and regional championships and has been a supervisor of officials for six national championships. He is noted for implementing a culture of integrity and accountability among officials that resonates from his career in the military, from which he retired a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.
The Chet Steward Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the USA Hockey Officiating Education Program during many years of service to the hockey community as an official or volunteer.
In 2012-13, Phil Housley helped the United States capture medals at two international competitions. As head coach of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, he guided Team USA to the gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in January and then in May, as an assistant coach, he was part of Team USA’s bronze-medal-winning effort at the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Housley also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team in 2007 and 2011, helping each team collect a bronze medal. In addition, he was an assistant coach for the 2010 U.S. Men’s National Team. A nine-time member of the U.S. Men’s National Team (1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003), Housley earned a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, and also helped Team USA win the first-ever World Cup of Hockey in 1996. Housley enjoyed a 21-year career in the National Hockey League, where he finished with 1,232 points (338-894), the most ever by an American defenseman.
The Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to a U.S. citizen who has made hockey his or her profession and has made outstanding contributions on or off the ice to the sport in America.
Doug Abrams, a University of Missouri law professor, coached youth hockey for 42 years. Now he speaks and writes law journal articles, book chapters, newspaper editorials, and regular blog columns about player safety and the role of youth sports in America. Abrams played a major role in creating mid-Missouri’s organized youth hockey teams beginning in 1991. During his 11 years as the new mid-Missouri youth hockey association’s first president, enrollment grew from 25 players to 185 by assuring fair and equal opportunity, providing need-based scholarships, and stressing citizenship education. His teams’ community service projects won national, state and local recognition. With royalties from his four books about family law and juvenile law, he created Happiness for Health, a permanent endowment that provides toys, stuffed animals, games, and parties for the sick and injured patients at the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital. He also served on the Missouri Bar’s Children and the Law Commission, and he wrote several pediatric health and safety statutes. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Missouri Division of Youth Services, one of the nation’s foremost juvenile justice treatment agencies. He also serves on the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association’s board of directors and is a Fellow of the Missouri Bar Foundation.
The Excellent in Safety Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to make hockey a safer game for all participants.
In more than 30 years involved with the game, Al Bloomer has been associated with USA Hockey in many capacities and played an integral role in the growth of the sport. Bloomer is USA Hockey Director Emeritus, and was the National Coach in Chief and led USA Hockey’s Coaches Section from 2004-10. During his tenure with USA Hockey, Bloomer has served as a member of the Youth Council and the Legal Council and is currently a member of USA Hockey’s Player Development Committee. He also was a regional scout for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program from 2008-12. He has been a guiding force with Billings Bulls junior hockey club since the franchise began in the American Frontier Hockey League in 1992. The Bulls also played in the America West Hockey League and North American Hockey League. As a player at St. Lawrence University, Bloomer won a pair of ECAC titles, was co-captain his senior year and received All-ECAC honors. Following graduation, he continued his hockey career in graduate school with McGill University, where he was the first U.S.-born skater elected team captain and honored as the team’s MVP.
The Walter Yaciuk Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a consistent commitment and contribution to the education and development of USA Hockey coaches.
Doug Ackley has spent some 40 years of his life helping grow the game of hockey at local, state and national levels and has been a leading proponent of building the grassroots initiatives that USA Hockey has made the foundation for successful programs throughout the U.S. Ackley first got involved with coaching when he was in high school in 1973 and became heavily involved in 1983 after moving to Oswego, N.Y. He has coached at the learn-to-skate, Squirt and Pee Wee levels, and run clinics and skills camps for all ages. In his home state of New York, Ackley has held several administrative positions with the Oswego Minor Hockey Association, the New York State Amateur Hockey Association and the Massena Minor Hockey Association, including terms as president with each. During his tenure, Ackley has been a guiding force for coaching development and the advancement of officiating. He has also played a vital role in growing girls’/women’s hockey. Additionally, Ackley developed the criteria and selection process for the NYSAHA’s Bob Allen Scholarship program, which financially assists high school or prep school seniors going on to college. Ackley has served in different capacities on the USA Hockey Board of Directors from 1993-2005 and since 2005 has remained active, serving as NYSAHA’s webmaster and Director Emeritus.
The Wm. Thayer Tutt Award is presented to a volunteer who, during many years of service, has displayed a selfless dedication to the enhancement of ice hockey at the grassroots level in America.
For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials.
USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?
Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.
USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season?
Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that.
The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.
USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?
Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.
USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official?
Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.
USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career?
Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.
USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?
Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.
USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?
Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.
USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career?
Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.