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PREVIEW: Best of U.S. Awards

04/02/2014, 11:30am MDT
By USAHockey.com

Tonight's Event Promises To Be Special

As part of a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., the United States Olympic Committee is hosting tonight's Best of U.S. Awards, commemorating Team USA’s success at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is one of three finalists for the Team of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and will be on hand along with the U.S. Women's Olympic Ice Hockey Team. The Paralympians are also one of five finalists for the Moment of the 2014 Games for its 1-0 gold-medal game victory over Russia and Declan Farmer  is one of four finalists for the Best Male Paralympian.

The Best of U.S. Awards is a new USOC program that recognizes outstanding performances from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as determined by fan vote.

NBC’s Willie Geist will host the inaugural event and more than 1,000 members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family are expected to be in attendance at the Warner Theatre. Figure skaters and commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski will serve as red carpet and backstage correspondents.

In total, 57 athletes earned nominations in eight award categories and winners will be revealed during the show. And more than 200 members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams are confirmed to attend the live taping which will air April 7 on NBCSN from 7-8 p.m. ET.

Prior to the award show, athletes will take part in the Team USA Athlete Celebration supported by BP, a traditional reception that provides an opportunity for members of Congress and other government officials to celebrate with Team USA athletes.

Recent News

Date Result Opponent
Sat., March 8 W, 5-1 Italy
Sun., March 9 W, 3-0 South Korea
Tues., March 11 L, 1-2 Russia
Thurs., March 13 W, 3-0 Canada (Semifinals)
Sat., March 15 W, 1-0 Russia
(Gold Medal Game)

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Three ways to beat burnout

11/28/2016, 9:45pm MST
By Dave Pond

According to NHL metrics, the average hockey shift lasts somewhere between 45 and 55 seconds. There’s inherent beauty and fluidity to line changes, as skaters come on and off the ice, looking to recharge after going full throttle for their teams.

Meanwhile, your NHL officiating peers are giving their all, too – regularly logging 4-5 miles a game. Those totals are even greater at your level, where you and your colleagues officiate multiple games a day, several times per week, on a seemingly never-ending calendar.

And, although we want to perform our best every game, everyone has both good days and bad – players and officials alike. To learn more about keeping burnout at bay, we went to the experts: longtime amateur hockey scheduler Larry Carrington and former NHL official Mark Faucette.

“There is so much more to officiating than meets the eye,” said Faucette, a 17-year NHL veteran. “It may look easy from the stands, but to maintain total control of a game along with the stress, slumps, supervisors, travel, and fitness regimen takes a very special kind of person.”

Get in shape (and stay there)
We all think we’re in “pretty good” shape, but the reality is, officials must be top athletes and in great condition – even at the youngest levels.

“Conditioning is very important—the deeper into the season, the more important it is,” Carrington said. “Burnout happens physically, mentally, and emotionally. An official who is in good condition will experience less physical burnout, and that will in turn help with the emotional and mental burnout.”

Faucette stresses following a workout routine that maxes yourself at least every other day. Neither player or official should plan to use games as a vehicle toward better physical fitness.

“Where we used to go to camp to get into shape, officials today are on summer conditioning regimens and are tested as soon as they come to camp,” he said. “Taking care of your body is a total focus for the good official.

“The players are so much stronger and faster now, so it’s imperative the officials keep the same pace.”

Find balance
No, not balance on your skates (that’s a given). Rather, make sure to keep the big picture in mind, to work a manageable schedule that includes everything that’s important to you – family, friends, and time away from the rink.

Although it makes Carrington’s job as an assignor more difficult, he said it pays off in the long run.

“I encourage officials to take at least one weekend off to get away from hockey,” he said. “I certainly don't want to lose their services for a week, but the invigoration that it usually provides makes them a much more valuable asset over the course of the season.”

That’s huge in an industry where both mental and physical fatigue are commonplace.

“Every official runs into slumps, just as players do,” Faucette said. “You spend numerous hours alone as an official, and when things are not going good, where everything is negative, it can cause you duress.

“Positive thoughts and self-evaluations speed up recovery,” he continued. “So, instead of telling yourself, ‘I wonder what bad thing will happen tonight?’ say ‘I’m ready for anything – bring it on!’”

Have fun
It’s No. 3 here, but should be No. 1 on your to-do list.

“I realize the officials are all trying hard, and mistakes are part of any sport by any participant,” said Faucette, who currently serves as supervisor of officials for USA Hockey, the NAHL director of player safety and the SPHL director of officiating. “That being said, the joy I get out of seeing a young official start out at ground level and making the big time one day is immeasurable.”

For most of you reading this, the “big time” might not be the end goal (and that’s OK). But wherever you are, there’s experience you’ve gained, as well as that to come – which both point back to why you first got involved in this great sport.

As an assignor, Carrington tries to get out of the office as much as he can and intentionally varies the schedules of his officials to help keep things fresh. He also encourages his more senior officials to lend a hand to those who aren’t as long in the tooth.

“Going to the rink and helping officials help themselves get better can be very invigorating,” he said. “Even a very good, very experienced official will often find it fun and relaxing to mentor some new official at a lower-level game where the stress levels aren’t nearly as high.”

But no matter where you officiate, Carrington emphasizes keeping one thing in mind: the love of the sport and those playing it today.

“If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be out there.”

Winning Never Goes Out Of Style For Hall Of Fame Coach

12/01/2016, 12:30pm MST
By Harry Thompson - USA Hockey Magazine

Bill Belisle has coached for the past 42 seasons

Speaking from his heart, Coach touches the hearts of millions

12/01/2016, 12:15pm MST
By Harry Thompson - USA Hockey Magazine

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