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With Fresh Start in Indiana, Goalie Hayden Stewart is Thriving

03/27/2014, 6:00pm MDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Hayden Stewart faced the uncertainty for less than 24 hours.

After being released by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in January, Stewart convinced himself that he needed to view his situation as an opportunity to go somewhere else and get a fresh start.

Stewart could not have been more correct.

The 19-year-old Cornell University recruit from Rockford, Ill. soon received word that he had been picked up by the Indiana Ice, the top team in the top league in U.S. junior hockey.

“When I found out I was picked up, I was really excited,” Stewart said. “We were in first place, so I knew I was going to a good team that had a good chance to win the championship this year.

“Any time you’re picked up by a team like that, it’s really exciting.”

Stewart quickly joined a hot team and made them even hotter.

“When I first got here, the guys and the coaches did a great job of opening up, accepting me into the team and making me feel like one of the guys right away,” Stewart said. “It was a great environment. I could tell right away that we had such a great team concept.”

The Ice — and their new goalie — have reversed their fates from a year ago. Indiana, a last-place team last season, is coming off a big weekend in which Stewart earned USHL Goaltender of the Week honors for the second time in the last three weeks and the third time in the last seven weeks.

The Ice clinched the Eastern Conference title and moved into first place in the race for the Anderson Cup, the USHL’s overall regular-season title, by passing the Western Conference-leading Waterloo Black Hawks.

Stewart has been a big part of that success, and the chance to play with the Ice has been a big part of his turnaround. He was a .500 goalie with average statistics last season with the Corpus Christi Chill of the North American Hockey League.

Through 42 games with two other teams in two leagues over the two previous seasons, Stewart had never posted a shutout in junior hockey. He had one with Dubuque this season, but Stewart was let go amidst a four-game losing streak in which he had allowed six goals twice and was replaced early another time.

Now Stewart is on the longest winning streak in Indiana team history and the most successful run he has experienced as a goalie on any level of hockey.

Stewart has four shutouts, all in the last eight starts, to produce an 0.83 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage with the Ice. Counting his numbers from Dubuque, Stewart has climbed from the bottom half of the league’s goalie statistical rankings to second in shutouts, GAA and save percentage.

“I’ve never had a stretch like that in my life,” Stewart said. “It’s good to kind of see that work I’ve put in and that everybody has put in with me has paid off.

“More importantly, the team I’m on is a great team. Everything they’ve done to help me is a big reason why I’ve had success.”

Stewart had 15 saves Friday in a 5-0 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks, a team he played with two seasons ago and briefly last season. He followed that up with 23 more saves in a 5-2 win over Muskegon on Sunday in the game that put the Ice and its league-leading defense on top of the entire league.

“The biggest thing they do is they keep a lot of the shots to the outside,” Stewart said of his team’s defensive efforts. “Then, if there’s a rebound there, they always clear it out right away.

“We’re pretty stingy in front of the net. The other team’s players don’t get a free whack at it. There’s always someone on them. They’re always tied up and covered and that makes it easier for me.”

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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