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Golden State Elite Bantam: A Four-Year Success Story

05/06/2013, 12:45pm MDT
By Tony Khing

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- When Mario Morrissette became coach of the California Cougars Peewee A in 2009-10, he knew he was in for a challenge. Most of his players, who came up from the Squirt level, had never played travel hockey before.
The inexperience showed that first year. The team had a losing record in the regular season and won just one of six games in the Northern California and state (California Amateur Hockey Association) championships.
The next year, as Peewee AAs, they dominated the regular season and did well in the postseason. Last year the Cougars became Bantam AAs, again dominated regular season play, but saw their season end in the CAHA Playdown.
This past year, the Cougars morphed into the Golden State Elite Bantam AA Eagles. All they did was go 13-2-0 in CAHA play and outscore the opposition by a 90-goal differential — the second highest at their level.
Their 31-11-0 overall record earned them a No. 13 national ranking from among Bantam ‘98 Tier II teams (just one of two from California to rank in the top-15). Most importantly, the Eagles won their first state championship. Then they advanced to the elite eight of the recently completed USA Hockey Tier II Youth 14-and-Under AAA championships, where they lost to the eventual national champion Ohio 98 Selects.
According to Morrissette, there’s only one reason why his players have progressed: hard work.
“I knew we could do it if we paid the price,” Morrissette said. “These kids have worked for 10 weeks every summer for four years. They got up at 4:30 in the morning every day just to come and skate.”
While a lot of kids were spending the summer at the beach or playing video games all day, Morrissette’s kids were on the ice three hours a day doing things such as scrimmaging, working on breakouts and skating.
“The secret [to being the best] is simple,” he continued. “We work harder than everybody else. We had more ice than everybody else. The kids showed the guts to work hard, which is very important. And they had good teachers to teach them the right way.
“We told them [the kids] that if we did all of the right things, this is what’s going to happen,” Morrissette added. “If you work hard, this [a championship season] is what it’s going to give us. All of that is a good recipe for success.”
The tremendous amounts of time on the ice, travel and doing dryland also created life lessons the kids can take with them forever.
“We became a family because we were always together,” Morrissette said. “When you become a family, the passion is there. You love what you’re doing because you’re winning. It’s more fun when you’re winning. You see that when you pay the price, you get results. The kids will do whatever it takes because they know if they pay the price, they’ll get more than what other kids will get.”
For most of Morrissette’s players, the time has come to move forward. It will be prep school hockey for some, or perhaps Morrissette will continue to coach them at the Midget level within the Golden State program. But one thing is for certain: the kids haven’t reached the pinnacle of their young hockey careers.
“I have to sit down with them to see what they want to do,” Morrissette said. “Maybe we’ll stick together for another year or two, or it could be time for them to go their separate ways.
“This is a time for them to realize they’ve accomplished something big,” he concluded. “But they still have a lot more to accomplish.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Update on 2015-16 USA Hockey Officiating Registration

07/08/2015, 5:15pm MDT
By David LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief

District Referees-in-Chief implement changes to registration procedures

As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.

For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.


Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.

This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.

This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.

The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.

While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.

If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.

During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.

Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.

We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.

As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

  • Register online with USA Hockey
  • Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
  • Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
  • Pass the open-book exam at their registration level
  • Pass the closed-book exam (no closed-book exam at Level 1) for their registration level
  • Complete their online USA Hockey SafeSport training at the end of every two-year cycle


Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward.  Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process.  Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.

Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.

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