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ADM Roadshow Heads to Michigan

01/22/2014, 8:15am MST
By USAHockey.com

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Hockey is collaborating with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association to conduct an American Development Model roadshow with multiple stops throughout metropolitan Detroit hockey associations next Monday through Wednesday (Jan. 27-29).

Designed to introduce the ADM to parents, coaches and volunteers, the roadshow will feature in-depth presentations on long-term athlete development from members of USA Hockey’s ADM staff, along with on-ice demonstrations, featuring station-based practice sessions.

"Our mission is to answer questions and inform parents about the ADM's emphasis on age-appropriate skill development," said Bob Mancini, ADM regional manager. "We're excited to have an opportunity to talk with parents in a forum like this, where we can explain the science and research behind it. We want parents to understand that the ADM is about delivering to their child what's important at their specific age group, because we want every boy and girl who joins USA Hockey to fulfill their potential."

George Atkinson, MAHA president, was instrumental in bringing the ADM roadshow to Michigan, and he expressed excitement about the event's potential impact on hockey in Michigan.

"We believe in the principles and have seen the benefits of the ADM and long-term athlete development," he said. "The roadshow presentations will help inform parents of what to expect from USA Hockey's skill-development program from mites to midgets, and how it is designed to teach young players the skills they need to have fun playing the game."

Based on thousands of hours of research, drawing from experts around the world in ice hockey, child development, sport and education, the ADM provides hockey associations nationwide a detailed blueprint for optimal athlete development. Since being introduced in 2009, the ADM has gained international recognition as a best-practice model for young athletes.

"We are fortunate to have the USA Hockey staff, whose knowledge, experience and passion is contagious, leading these presentations and we hope that having a better understanding of the ADM will help parents make the right choice when selecting a hockey program for their young players," said Atkinson.

For more information, check out www.MAHA.org and www.ADMKids.com.

Michigan ADM Roadshow Schedule

Jan. 27, 2014
Gross Pointe Civic Arena Gross Pointe 6U 5:15 p.m.
Gross Pointe Civic Arena Gross Pointe 10U 6:15 p.m.
Gross Pointe Civic Arena Gross Pointe Girls 7:15 p.m.
Mt. Clemens Ice Arena Mt. Clemens 6 p.m.
Troy Sports Center Troy 5:45 p.m.
Jan. 28, 2014
Dearborn Ice Skating Center Dearborn 6 p.m.
Novi Ice Arena Novi 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 29, 2014
Garden City Ice Arena Garden City 6 p.m.
Kennedy Sports Center Trenton 7:30 p.m.
Monroe Multi-Sports Complex Monroe 6 p.m.

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Life of an NHL Official: Part II

02/25/2015, 11:00pm MST
By USA Hockey Officiating Program

A follow-up to Ian Walsh's NHL career-path article (see Stripes - February 2015)

For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials. 

USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?

Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.

USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.

USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.

USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

Improving the Most Important Skill

02/11/2015, 10:45am MST
By Kelly Erickson

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