GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- James Ruffner, who coaches Bantam travel hockey for the Bowling Green Youth Hockey Association in Ohio, was among the more than 500 coaches who attended the five day Symposium here at the Amway Grand Plaza.
And when he was asked after the event ended what he enjoyed most about it, Ruffner was stumped.
Where do I start? he smiled after spending five days listening to presentations by coaches from the NHL, college, minor league, junior and other levels. The wealth of information we received was unbelievable. The NHL head coaches and all of the coaches were great, starting with the keynote speech from (Hockey Hall of Fame coach) Scotty Bowman," which opened the Symposium on Wednesday night.
Hockey people always have stories to tell. It was fun to keep up with everything you heard from the coaches. Youd hear that they had also experienced some of the things you would see on the Bantam travel level. When one speaker was done, you thought he was the best one. Then someone else got up. It was phenomenal.
Ruffner said team preparedness and mental toughness were two key areas covered by coaches that hell take home with him for use at the youth hockey level.
Thats why I really liked the breakout sessions they offered, he said. They were outstanding and gave me ideas on drills and charts to use.
Dan Lorentz of Six Lakes, Mich., coaches various levels of teams in the Crystal Youth Hockey Club and said he came to the symposium looking for ideas on how to coach different avenues of the sport.
I was trying to learn more about the personal relationships of hockey, he said. I was hoping to get some insight from other people who obviously have more experience than I do. It just surprised me that a lot of things you have to deal with from Mites players are almost about the same as you do with the pros. People are people.
The more you talk hockey, the more you learn about the game, said Gordon Bowman, vice president of coaches for the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association in welcoming remarks Wednesday. Good people pass along good ideas.
Mark Tabrum, director of the Coaching Education Program for USA Hockey, couldnt help but flash a wide smile while recapping the Symposium.
The response has been tremendous, very positive, he said. When you put up a lineup like we did with six NHL head coaches and several college coaches, you cant give anything but a quality presentation. They had the coaches in the audience sitting on the edge of their seats. There has been just a great wealth of knowledge that the coaches are passing along. They enjoy the game. They have passion for the game. They can supply us with a lot of knowledge.
Tabrum said he was confident the coaches got what they were looking for.
I always ask the presenters what they want to talk about, he said. Weve learned a lot of things this week in skill development, as much as we have in the Xs and Os. All the speakers we had were tremendous.
Tabrum said hes confident the attendees were able to take plenty of information back to their home bases.
It means a lot to them to know what some of the top NHL and college coaches are saying, he said.
Bob Barrett of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., who coaches Midgets and Squirts, echoes Tabrums thoughts.
Someone like Barry Smith has so much experience on the world stage, Barrett said, referring to the associate head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, who was one of the presenters. He brought us a much different perspective on what we should concentrate on.
Listening to a presentation of some members of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. Men's Olympic Team, was really neat, Barrett said. That was a big part of the nations mindset. Being able to hear some of the stories about Herb Brooks and the other experiences they had was excellent.
Dave Fischer, director of media and public relations for USAHockey, said he was deeply impressed with the response he received.
When we were done, I must have had 200 people come up and thank me, said Fischer, who added that there were 504 Symposium registrants from across the country. There was also a waiting list of more than 100 people.
Fisher said a 2006 Symposium is set for July 11-15 in Rochester, N.Y., and will coincide with USA Hockey's Boys' Select 16 Festival.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Long days, great games and high intensity – it’s tournament time. Gary Cutler is the USA Hockey supervisor of officials in Western New York. He’s officiated countless tournaments at both the local and national levels. Cutler sat down with USA Hockey to discuss teamwork, tournament-time preparation and what officials can do to be selected as postseason officials next season.
USA Hockey: What does your current position entail? What are some key responsibilities?
Gary Cutler: My current volunteer position as supervisor of officials entails many different responsibilities throughout the season. It all starts immediately after national tournament week, with organizing local seminars in the fall, participating in summer camps, and solving any registration issues an official might have. We are also identifying those officials that potentially can work in postseason tournaments, the Junior Officiating Development Program or a USA Hockey summer camp. We also communicate with leagues about rule changes or rule interpretations and solve any issues that arise during the year with officials.
USA Hockey: What do you like most?
Gary Cutler: The most enjoyable part of my position is seeing officials improve their officiating skills from their very first seminar they attended up to the level they are presently officiating at, whether it is getting a postseason assignment, working in the Junior Officiating Development Program, college assignments, international assignments, or even working in professional leagues.
USA Hockey: Tournament time. What is your initial reaction when you hear those two words?
Gary Cutler: Long days. Most postseason tournaments consist of 12- to 14-hour days of being at the rink observing officials and making sure the officiating side of the tournament runs as smooth as possible.
USA Hockey: What are some unexpected duties or responsibilities that come with tournaments that officials might overlook or forget?
Gary Cutler: Throughout the entire tournament, the officiating program is a team more than ever. Every official should be helping their teammates so everyone can do the best job they are capable of. A lot of officials have more than one rulebook in their referee bag. An official should have complete knowledge and understanding of the rulebook that they are using, whether it is a regular-season game or a postseason assignment.
USA Hockey: Do officials tend to feel more pressure during tournaments, especially semifinal or championship games? How should they cope with that and stay focused on the task at hand?
Gary Cutler: Most definitely a semifinal or championship game brings a lot more pressure on the officials that have been selected to work these games. The officials that do these types of games generally have these attributes that give them the opportunity to succeed?
USA Hockey: Can you feel the intensity ramp up during tournaments, from the players, coaches, parents, etc.?
Gary Cutler: When tournament time comes around, everyone’s intensity level is increased. As each day of the tournament passes, the intensity level grows until the conclusion of the championship game.
USA Hockey: What can young officials do to position themselves for consideration as officials for next year’s tournaments?
Gary Cutler: It all starts in the summer. Start a physical fitness program over the summer, so when the season comes around, you are in the best physical shape you can be in. Go to summer development camps. When you attend a seminar, come with a positive learning attitude. Officials have the opportunity to be identified as potential candidates for tournaments at these seminars. During the regular season, work hard at every game, for the entire game. Constantly look into the rulebook/casebook so you have a complete understanding of the rules. Improve your officiating skills every game. This can be done by reading your manuals and reviewing the videos on USA Hockey’s website. If you are evaluated, listen, take notes and implement what the evaluator discussed with you when you are officiating games. The moment you enter the arena, put yourself in the proper position to make the proper call.
Tag(s): Past Events