Chicago has been a hub of American hockey development for more than 80 years. In the 1930s, it was not only home to the first NHL team comprised entirely of American players, it was also frequently the host city for amateur national championships. Today it’s home to the defending Stanley Cup champions, and this week, thanks to the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois, it’s also home to the USA Hockey ADM World Tour.
Designed to introduce the ADM to parents, coaches and volunteers, the ADM World Tour blew into the Windy City on Wednesday for four days of youth clinics and presentations. Thursday night featured an in-depth presentation on long-term athlete development from members of USA Hockey’s ADM staff.
“Sometimes tradition is good; sometimes tradition holds us back,” said Roger Grillo, an ADM regional manager and long-time coach. “Whenever change happens, people have questions. So our mission here is to educate people and answer their questions. Parents are interested in the ADM and they’re eager to learn how it will affect their kids. We’re excited to have an opportunity to talk with them in a forum like this, where we can explain the science and research behind it. When they hear about the ADM emphasis on fun and age-appropriate skill development, they get excited too.”
April Twaddell, whose son is an AHAI mite, was among the numerous parents in attendance. Being new to the sport, she was especially eager to learn more about how the ADM will her benefit her son, both on the ice and off it.
“The more I know, the better I can help my mite grow through the program,” she said. “Also, as a team manager, I wanted to be able to pass on the information to others.”
Jim Clare, who chairs AHAI’s ADM Committee, was instrumental in bringing the World Tour to Chicago. He had parents and volunteers like Twaddell in mind, along with his association’s coaches.
“First and foremost, I personally believe in the principles of the ADM and long-term athlete development,” said Clare. “With this event, we wanted to continue educating as many parents and coaches as possible about the benefits of the ADM. There is no better way to achieve that than with the staff of USA Hockey. The knowledge, experience and passion they bring is contagious.”
The Chicagoland ADM activities will continue through Saturday evening with clinics and presentations in Rolling Meadows, Geneva and West Dundee.