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Butcher Finds a Home With Brown Bears

04/04/2014, 12:00pm MDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Alec Butcher spent the start of the 2012-13 hockey season bouncing to three teams in three different leagues and two countries.

After all that, he ended up back home in Alaska. Still in Alaska, Butcher came into the 2013-14 season with high expectations.

“I was very confident,” Butcher said. “I knew I could be a point-a-game guy.”

Butcher proved that in his first full season with the North American Hockey League’s Kenai River Brown Bears: He compiled the most points of any player in the NAHL during a season in which he secured his future hockey destination. The 19-year-old forward from Anchorage led the league in assists (42) and points (66) while helping the Brown Bears to the playoffs. After the season, he decided he would move on to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut to continue his hockey career.

The journey to get there was a long one, though.

After earning second-team all-state honors while helping Anchorage West to a state title as a sophomore, Butcher hit the road to boost his developing career. He spent two seasons with the Pikes Peak Minors, helping the 16-and-Under team to a division title in the North American Prospects Hockey League in his first season.

The transition to junior hockey did not go as smoothly.

Butcher played for the Prince George Spruce Kings in the British Columbia Hockey League and the Carleton Place Canadians in the Central Canada Hockey League early last season before then-Kenai River coach Oliver David made a deal to bring Butcher back to Alaska.

“I had lived away from home for two years before,” Butcher said. “Moving back was nice. It was nice being able to play in front of my parents and family and friends and having a close relationship with a lot of guys on the team with them being from Anchorage and Kenai and the surrounding areas.”

Butcher produced 10 goals and 20 assists in 41 games with the Brown Bears last season. He came back confident he was ready for more.

“Last year was kind of a rough start to my junior career with getting traded twice,” Butcher said. “I think once I came out to Kenai, I did pretty well.

“I knew that coming in this year, I’d have a good opportunity to be a top-line and maybe first power-play guy and put up some numbers. I’ve had some good linemates and some great teammates to set me up and everything worked out.”

Butcher has scored 24 goals, including six on the power play, where he has been effective while moving to many different spots. Butcher’s 18 power-play assists is the second-highest total in the league.

“With the way our system works, our coach [Geoff Beauparlant] believes we’re good players. He tells us where to start and tells us to be creative from there,” Butcher said. “Having five good hockey players on the ice, you can come up with something. I try to keep my head up and find the open guy.

“I’ve been down low, half wall, up top on the point, whatever is needed. It changes all the time. I think our coach loves that we have a flexible team and we can play any position.”

After leading the NAHL in scoring, Butcher decided he was ready to move on again. He said he is excited to head east this fall to start his next journey at Sacred Heart.

“They think I’m ready for school, and that’s what my family believes, so I’m going to head there in the fall and see how it goes,” said Butcher, who would have been eligible for one more year on the junior level.

“It’s a beautiful, gorgeous campus. It was everything I was looking for.”

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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