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Four Nations Cup roster has Coach Stone optimistic about future

11/06/2012, 1:15pm MST
By Jim Hague

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- As she instructed her team through the last preparations prior to heading to Finland this week for the Four Nations Cup, U.S. Women’s National Team coach Katey Stone said she likes the way her team is shaping up.

“We’re excited about going to Finland,” said Stone, whose team held a four-day training camp at the New York Rangers’ practice facility in the northern suburbs of New York City, an area ravaged recently by Hurricane Sandy. “Ever since we started [in August of 2010], everything has been one step closer to the 2014 Olympics. You realize how critical every step is, and this is another big step.”

The United States will compete in the Four Nations Cup with Canada, Sweden and host Finland in a round-robin fashion beginning Tuesday at the Tikkurila Valttie Arena in Kerava, Finland. A championship and third-place game will be held Saturday.

Stone said she likes the makeup of the team, which features 12 players from the 2010 Olympic team that captured the silver medal in Vancouver, as well as a crop of talented newcomers.

“I’m excited about this group we’re bringing to Finland,” said Stone, who doubles as the women’s hockey coach at Harvard. “It’s good to be experienced and it’s good to be young, and I think we have a little bit of both. We’re getting a great chance to evaluate some players as we still implement our system.”

Stone said that it was tough to conduct the camp in an area that was hurt severely by the killer storm. The camp was actually delayed one day as players made travel arrangements to arrive in the New York area after the hurricane had passed.

“I think you have to keep it all in perspective,” Stone said. “We were very fortunate to be able to have our camp here at this tremendous facility, but we still can’t lose sight of the bigger picture. So many people lost so much. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering. The damage caused has been unbelievable.”

Stone was glad to have veteran forward Meghan Duggan back on the ice. The 25-year-old Duggan, a native of Danvers, Mass., has missed most of the past year dealing with a serious head injury, but she returned to skate at the camp and will see action in Finland.

“Meghan is such a great, dynamic person and a great team leader,” Stone said. “We definitely felt her loss when she was not with us. She brings a lot to the table, and that’s going to help us as we move forward. Things looked bleak for Meghan for a while, but having her back has been great.”

Three-time Olympic medalist Julie Chu, having won silver medals in 2002 and 2010 and bronze in the 2006 Games, also returns. The 30-year-old Chu, a native of Fairfield, Conn., is the most experienced member of the U.S. squad headed to Finland. Chu has tallied 64 goals and collected 112 assists in her international career that has now spanned 13 years and encompassed an astounding 216 games.

Stone was pleased to also have a solid group of the U-18 National Team players to participate in the camp in New York.

“I was really encouraged with how much they developed in just three days,” Stone said. “Just seeing the way they shoot the puck even with the game being played an accelerated pace. I always think development is a great thing. You never know. Some of these girls may find their way onto the Olympic roster. The door is always open. It’s up to them to step inside of the door.”

Stone also liked the camaraderie that filtered down between the older and younger players.

“They all had a great, positive energy,” Stone said. “It’s not by accident that we have such quality people here. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you can’t get along with anyone, it’s going to be a long haul. It starts with the coaching staff on down. The good feeling becomes contagious. We have some good leadership on this team. It’s a good feeling all around.”

While they took part in the training camp, some of the players got to mingle with New York Knicks guard Baron Davis, who is rehabilitating a torn knee ligament he suffered in the NBA playoffs last spring. Davis presented many of the team members with Knicks’ ski caps, while the team gave Davis a USA Hockey baseball cap. Davis cordially posed for pictures with the Team USA players as they had breaks in action.

“I told the girls that the goal isn’t to just be on the roster,” Stone said. “The goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics. We all have that goal in mind.”

Stone said that she plans on taking about 35 to 40 players to the tryout camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. in June.

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.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
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.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

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.

EXAM PROCESS
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.

IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
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.

SUMMARY
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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