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U.S. Sled Team Prepares for Canada Clash

12/04/2012, 10:15am MST
By Brian Smith

In the words of U.S. National Sled Team head coach Jeff Sauer, “now the tournament starts for us.”

Coming off an 8-0 rout of Japan last night that saw 10 different Team USA members record a point, the U.S. squad is preparing to face a tough Canada team that is sure to be the biggest test yet for a youthful U.S. roster at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

“We had to win those first two games,” Sauer said of the U.S. victories over Norway and Japan. “Because now we play the big guys. We play our archrivals Canada on Wednesday night.”

Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.Y.), is also aware of the importance of facing the Canadian team on their home ice.
 
“It was a good effort I thought, for the whole team. It was nice to come out and play a good game, the full 45 minutes,” he said. “It’s all leading up to the game against Canada and we just want to improve every game, every shift.

The U.S. will take full advantage of a day off after two games in as many days, looking to recover for the clash with rival Canada tomorrow (Dec. 5), at 9 p.m. EST, here at the WinSport Canada Ice Complex in Calgary, Alberta. Both teams remain undefeated in the tournament and are set to face off in what could be a preview of the championship game on Saturday (Dec. 8).
 
Pauls, who netted two goals last night and was named the player of the game for the United States, noted the significance of a full-team effort in preparation for the matchup with Canada.
 
“It was huge [to have so many players contribute] because Canada has a lot of depth too, and we have 17 guys that are capable of playing with anybody in the world,” Pauls said. “It was important, especially for the new guys, to get the experience internationally, and hopefully we can take it to them.”
           
Sauer agreed, noting that the team was built for success from top to bottom.
“I think it says a lot about how we’ve tried to put the guys together,” the former Colorado College and Wisconsin coach said. “We’ve got pretty good balance through all three lines, which is very, very important. We know we can score offensively from the point; we’ve got guys back there that are very mobile. But the key for us is to get the forwards moving the puck and taking quicker shots.”
 
Despite the high-pressure game looming head tomorrow night, Team USA remains confident in their ability.
            
“We just have to build on what we do. The whole key to our team is to move the puck and use our speed and when we do that we’re a pretty good hockey team,” Sauer said. “They [Canada] have four or five guys that are very dangerous and I’ll prepare a game plan for when those guys are on the ice. The bottom line is that if we play our game, use our speed and quickness and get some good opportunities, we’ll be ok.”

Pauls echoed his coach's sentiment.

“We just have to use our speed,” the right-winger said. “We’re a fast team, we’re young team. We have to not worry about making mistakes because that’s where we get in trouble. If we can fly down the ice, dump the puck in, work on our forecheck and play like we can, we’ll be fine.”
 
Most of all though, defenseman Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) noted, it’s about relaxing, being confident and having fun while they’re out on the ice.
“We always love coming out here. It’s a beautiful arena and we have a beautiful locker room and it’s a blast playing hockey up in Canada,” he said. “We’re having a blast … and whenever we play Canada it adds to it. We’re excited for tomorrow.”

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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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Tag(s): World Sled Challenge