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U.S. U18 squad ready for redemption at worlds

03/11/2014, 11:15am MDT
By Dan Scifo - Special to USAHockey.com

Jeff Kampersal admits it.

Not a day goes by when the coach of the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team doesn’t replay the final moments of last year’s International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s U18 World Championship title game through his head.

The U.S. finished with a near two-to-one advantage in shots, including an unbelievable 20-1 margin in the first period, yet held only a narrow 1-0 lead against Canada in the closing moments of the game.

Less than two minutes later, Canada was celebrating its third gold medal.

Catherine Dubois sent the game to overtime, scoring the equalizer with 12 seconds remaining, and Karly Heffernan netted the game-winner in the first minute of the extra session.

“It stings,” Kampersal said. “There really hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought about that championship game in Finland.”

Kampersal and the Americans will have their chance at redemption.

The seventh IIHF Women’s U18 World Championships begins March 23 in Budapest, Hungary, featuring Kampersal’s Americans in addition to teams from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Russia and Sweden.

“Our expectation is to go and win the gold medal,” said Kampersal, who also coaches the Princeton University’s women’s team. “I think us and Canada are the favorites going into it, but there will be some good competition.”

The U.S. captured gold in each of the first two years of the tournament (2008, 2009) and again in 2011, but finished as the runners-up to Canada in 2010, 2012 and last year in Finland, a game Kampersal remembers vividly.

“We had a perfect tournament going into the Canada game, and we outshot them badly in the first period and got out of that period winning 1-0, though it probably should’ve been 3-0,” Kampersal said. “Their goalie played very well, and as the game went on Canada got stronger. They scored with 12 seconds left, which rattled us a little bit, and then scored in overtime.”

Kampersal has spent 17 years at the helm of the Princeton women’s hockey team, leading the squad to a best-ever ECAC second-place finish in 2006, an Ivy League title the same year and three 20-win seasons. He has also coached the U.S. U18 team since 2012.

Kampersal has nine players returning from last year’s team looking for revenge.

“We have a great group of returning players who provide leadership and great newcomers that will add a lot to this particular team,” Kampersal said. “The defense will be the strength of our team, no question. We have speed and skill up front and kids who can score goals, and in net we’re steady and solid.

“We have responsible players and passionate players who have a drive to try and win a gold medal.”

Several of those players already got a chance for an early look at Canada in August during the Women’s U18 Series, a three-game set against their biggest rivals in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“For both teams, it allows you to get a feel for what the lineup or systems might be,” Kampersal said. “We know some of the areas we didn’t do as good a job in that we’re going to hopefully fix, and I’m sure they’re doing the same.”

The three-game competition against Canada began in 2007, and the U.S. took this year’s finale 4-1 after dropping the first two games.

“The first two games opened our eyes in terms of some of the things we need to get done,” Kampersal said. “We know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from us, it’s a matter of executing on that day. It gives us a familiar feeling [more] than seeing them out of the blue and in a tournament. They remember the feeling of last year.”

That feeling burns deep inside Kampersal and the returning Americans, who look to best their rivals to the north for a gold medal if they see them again in this year’s championship.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the opportunity,” Kampersal said. “We had an amazing journey last year in Finland and came up short, but it was such a special group and it was so much fun to work with the kids that we’re trying to recapture that team chemistry and drive.

“If we get to the championship, it comes down to that one game and who performs best on that one day, and hopefully we’ll be prepared to do so.”

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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