COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey and one of the most influential leaders in amateur sports today, has received a four-year contract extension, it was announced today by Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey.
“We’re extremely pleased to announce the extension of Dave’s contact through 2018,” said DeGregorio, who has served as president of USA Hockey since 2003. “His leadership has been a significant factor in the continued progress we’ve made overall and we’re very fortunate to have him guiding USA Hockey.”
“I could not be more appreciative of the confidence shown in me by Ron, the executive committee and our entire board of directors,” said Ogrean, who has spent 17 years of his professional career involved with USA Hockey. “Together, we’ve accomplished so many good things and I look forward to the opportunities to further grow and enhance our sport that lie ahead.”
Ogrean, annually among the The Hockey News Top 50 People of Power and Influence, returned for his second stint as executive director of USA Hockey in 2005. Since that time, he has led USA Hockey in multiple groundbreaking initiatives, including the launch of the American Development Model. In addition, USA Hockey has enhanced its industry-leading coaching education program by becoming the first amateur sports organization in the U.S. to offer online education modules and also strengthened efforts to ensure the safest possible environment for all participants through multiple initiatives, including the implementation of USA Hockey SafeSport.
Ogrean is widely credited for forging a significant partnership with the National Hockey League that has positively impacted the sport in multiple areas, including more American players competing in the NHL; growth in the overall number of players; and significant gains in player development and retention. The past three seasons, USA Hockey has had more than 100,000 kids eight-and-under playing the game, a feat that had never before been accomplished.
Ogrean has also led efforts to increase the profile of The USA Hockey Foundation and presided over the organization as it has generated record revenue in corporate partnerships and events. Further, under Ogrean’s leadership since 2005, USA Hockey has enjoyed record success in international competition.
Ogrean’s relationship with USA Hockey began when he served as the organization’s director of public relations from 1978-80. He led USA Hockey as its executive director from 1993-99 and returned for his second stint in the position in August of 2005.
He is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors and serves on the USOC Audit Committee, Olympic Bid Working Group, USOC Strategic Planning Committee and Paralympic Advisory Committee. He has also been a member of the nominating committee for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Ogrean is also active in his home community of Colorado Springs, Colo., serving on the El Pomar Foundation Pikes Peak Regional Advisory Council and the Colorado Springs World Arena Board of Directors.
Adult hockey not only promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, it requires it. As adults get older, they increasingly need to emphasize regular exercise and a nutritious diet. There’s no easy way to go about it—but there is a fun, challenging and rewarding option that sticks with you for life:
That’s right. Hockey is part of the perfect prescription for an adults’ health regiment. Just ask Olympian and former NHL player Steve Jensen.
“Physical fitness is something we should all be thinking about as we get older,” says Jensen, a longtime certified USA Hockey coach/official. “There’s no better activity than hockey to stay in shape.”
Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer for USA Hockey, says the positives of playing hockey are contagious.
“Participation in ice hockey provides all the benefits of exercise while building friendships and ensuring a fun time,” says Stuart, who is also the vice-chair of Orthopedic Surgery and the co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Dr. Stuart and colleague Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center sketch out specific benefits for hockey players:
“Playing adult hockey is a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun,” says Stuart, who also emphasizes maintaining a balanced diet. As for safety concerns, he adds: “The risk of injury is small in no-check, adult hockey games, but players should wear high-quality, well-fitting equipment, including a helmet and facial protection.”
The Minnesota-based Adult Hockey Association is starting to see employers embrace hockey as a health and performance benefit for its workforce. Some businesses are beginning to subsidize hockey registration fees for employees because they feel the activity fits the policy of their wellness programs.
“It’s not a lot, but we’re starting to see more and more trickle in,” says Dave Swenson, the AHA’s secretary treasurer who also serves on USA Hockey’s Adult Council and Minnesota Hockey’s Board of Directors.
Swenson wants this trend to continue growing, not just to see the number of players rise, but to reward players for committing to a healthy lifestyle.
“I’m hoping employers think about that a little more,” Swenson adds. “It’s not just softball leagues anymore. There are recreational hockey opportunities out there for adults.”
Hilary McNeish, a longtime player, ambassador, and current executive director of the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey, says she sees the positive results in women’s hockey every day.
“There are so many benefits,” says McNeish, “but the quote I hear most from ladies is: ‘It’s like working out a lot, but it’s so fun, it doesn’t feel like working out!’”
Aside from the physical health gains, there’s also a mental side to the story that’s special to hockey players.
“There are so many positive experiences that come with it,” adds McNeish. “Being able to play a sport that so many deem difficult is also great for the mind and wonderful for your personal attitude.
“It’s great to see the looks from people when you can say, ‘I play hockey’”
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