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Girls’ Hockey Day in White Bear Lake, Minn. a success

02/05/2013, 2:15pm MST
By Mike Scandura

Without question the first Girls’ Hockey Day hosted by the White Bear Lake Area Hockey Association in Minnesota was an unqualified success.
“On a normal day, the bleachers [at Vadnais Heights Sports Complex] would be half full,” WBL Girls’ Hockey Director Steve Snyder said of the Jan. 12 event. “On this day, the bleachers were all full and people were standing around the boards. This definitely was outside the norm.
“Throughout the day, because there are two rinks at this arena, people who were at a boys’ game trickled over. Throughout the entire day there always was a large group of people.”
The event in the Minnesota community consisted of seven girls’ hockey games played consecutively throughout the day. Besides teams from the WBLAHA, neighboring communities such as Highland, Stillwater and Forest Lake also sent youth teams. In addition, games were played between the varsity teams of White Bear Lake High School and Cretin-Derham Hall.
“The idea was a collaborative between our White Bear Lake High girls’ coach Jerry Kwapick and me,” Snyder said. “We asked ‘What can we do to celebrate girls’ hockey?’ The intent was the promotion and recruiting and how to get more girls involved in girls’ hockey.
“It morphed into a celebration because we had hockey associations from the area come into town and play.”
Overall, approximately 200 girls participated, commencing with Under-10 all the way through the high school level.
“When we first started talking about it two years ago we were opening a new arena [Vadnais], which offered us two additional sheets of ice,” Snyder said. “Prior to the rink being built, it would have been difficult to host this event.
“I didn’t want to throw this on a calendar so we wouldn’t be able to make this a competitive event.”
One of several reasons why the day was a success was because of the work of a dedicated group of volunteers who helped plan and coordinate the event. One person, for example, secured ice time. The group as a whole was in charge of creating and distributing marketing material.
“We had people solicit items to be donated to the event,” Snyder said. “As we talked one of the main goals was — because there were going to be seven games throughout the day — we wanted a girl who played at 10 in the morning to stay all day.”
As a result, every hour a drawing was held only for girls from the White Bear program, and the lucky girls received a $10 gift card.
“Besides that, every game that a person attended received a raffle ticket, and we had another drawing during the second intermission of the high school game,” Snyder said. “The big prizes were headphones, plus a bunch of stuff that was donated by the University of Minnesota women’s national championship hockey team from last year — things like signed hockey sticks and posters.
“We wanted people to stay throughout the day. At the end of the day we had almost 600 raffle tickets in the bucket.”
In addition, every girl who participated received a gift bag.
Snyder didn’t exactly have to twist arms to persuade other organizations to participate.
“After we secured ice time, nobody had to be coaxed into participating,” he said. “We reached out and said, ‘We’d like your participation. Here’s the date and the teams you’ll be playing.’”
Another factor in enticing people to fill Vadnais almost to the rafters was the amount of marketing material that was distributed around town.
“One thing we really tried to capture is girls’ hockey has been booming,” Snyder said. “But over the last year and a half, we’ve seen a decline in the number of girls playing hockey. I was trying to re-energize our local community and help other communities.
“The bottom line is I want girls’ hockey to remain front page news rather than being stuck on the last page of the sports section.”
Parents from the aforementioned communities were urged to bring their girls even if they never had played hockey.
“We wanted them to see what this truly is about in hopes that they might say, ‘Hey, this is something I want to be a part of because it looks like it is fun,’” Snyder said.
In the same vein, player retention and recruitment were goals for the Girls’ Hockey Day.
“Luckily in White Bear Lake we’ve had a high retention rate,” Snyder said. “In our younger ages, we’ve seen a decline in new girls signing up. But I’m hoping come registration time, we’ll see a spike in numbers.”
Not surprisingly, Snyder has expanded his vision when the second annual Girls’ Hockey Day is scheduled for 2014.
“This year we considered it a baseline,” he said. “Next year we would like to make this bigger. What I’d like to do is find associations outside our district — outside of the Twin Cities area where they’re struggling for numbers.
“Bring them down into our area for this day and try to energize girls’ hockey. We want to have a farther reach than in the Twin Cities area.”
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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