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Indiana, Waterloo Set for Clark Cup Finals

05/08/2014, 1:15pm MDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

The Indiana Ice will sit out the 2014-15 season, but first the team will continue its pursuit of a championship to end the 2013-14 season. The Ice will play the Waterloo Black Hawks in the best-of-five Clark Cup Finals beginning Friday in Waterloo.

The Clark Cup determines the United States Hockey League’s postseason title as well as the USA Hockey Tier I junior national championship.

The USHL announced this week that the Ice would not participate in the 2014-15 season. The organization is trying to develop a new facility as its permanent home. The team has split time between the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the National Basketball Association’s Indiana Pacers, and Pan Am Plaza the last two seasons.

The Ice had played at the Pepsi Coliseum from 2004 through the end of the 2011-12 season, before the Indiana State Fair Commission renovated the arena.

Players eligible to return to the Ice next season will be part of a dispersal draft after the season.

CLARK CUP: Indiana advanced to the Clark Cup Finals by completing a three-game conference finals sweep on Friday. The Ice beat the Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-2 despite managing just 14 shots. Joe Sullivan scored five minutes into the third period for a 3-1 lead and what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Waterloo defeated the Sioux City Musketeers 5-1 Sunday to complete a three-games-to-one victory. Cal Petersen made 37 saves in the clinching win.

Sioux City’s only win in the series came Friday, when it won 4-3 on a Joel L’Esperance overtime goal.

ROBERTSON CUP: The Fairbanks Ice Dogs will host the Austin Bruins Friday through Sunday in a best-of-three Robertson Cup Finals series. The Robertson Cup determines the North American Hockey League postseason title and the Tier II junior national championship.

Fairbanks allowed the Michigan Warriors just one goal during a two-game semifinal series sweep. Kevin Aldridge stopped 51 of 52 shots, including a 3-0 shutout in Game 2.

After Austin lost Game 1 against the Topeka RoadRunners, it recovered to win the next two games in Topeka, 6-4 and 4-3. The deciding game of the series came down to overtime. Drew Anderson scored on the power play a little more than two minutes in to end the series.

Fairbanks is looking for its second title in four years while playing in the final for the third time in five seasons.

USHL DRAFT: The Fargo Force made Riley Tufte, a forward from Blaine High School in Minnesota, the first overall pick in Phase 1 of the USHL Draft. Tufte, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward who committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, recently completed his sophomore season in which he scored 35 points in 25 games.

FRANCHISE MOVE: The North American 3 Hockey League has announced that the Battle Creek Revolution has been rebranded as the West Michigan Wolves and will continue in the league for the 2014-15 season.

Marc Fakler will take over as general manager and coach. Fakler was general manager and coach of the NAHL’s Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings from 2010-13.

MORE CHANGES: The Lincoln Stars have named Chris Hartsburg as the next coach of the USHL team. Hartsburg, a former USHL player from Edina, Minn., spent the 2013-14 season as assistant coach of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League.

The Brookings Blizzard of the NAHL named Dan Daikawa as their next coach. Daikawa was in the NAHL this season as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wilderness. The previous two seasons, he served as coach and general manager of the Jamestown Ironmen. Daikawa played for Japan in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

Paul Baxter has been promoted from coach to president and general manager of the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The team is searching for a new coach.

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Joseph Cecconi, a rookie defenseman with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, has committed to the University of Michigan. The 16-year-old from Youngstown, N.Y. scored a goal in his USHL debut. He had six points in 28 games.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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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.”

Shadow me

11/29/2016, 10:15am MST
By USA Hockey

Officials in Colorado Springs are benefitting from a shadow program

It was roughly five years ago when Tim Whitten noticed a problem in his association. Whitten, an assignor in the Southern Colorado Hockey Officials Association, observed that while new and young officials were signing up, few were returning the following season.

That’s when he berthed the idea of a shadow program.

Andy Flores, president of SCHOA, took time to tell us more about the program and how the association and its officials are reaping the benefits.

USA Hockey: How exactly did the shadow program come to be? What specific problems were you guys noticing?

Andy Flores:
It started with Tim Whitten. He found that we had a large exit rate, mostly because our newer and younger officials didn’t seem to be comfortable. We would be getting up to 10 new officials a year and we’d lose about 40 percent of them. When that happens, it puts a huge hole in your officials pool. So Tim came up with the idea to have veteran officials shadow newer officials to build their confidence on the ice.

USAH: How does the program work?

Flores:
The program is designed for the new officials, the Level 1s who are in their first year. For the first five games on the ice, they are assigned a shadow. It’s general for a game assignment, a 10U C-level game or something like that. Typically on the ice we will have one senior official, one second-year official and the new officials. The shadow is assigned and works with the new individual. After five games, the shadow identifies if the person needs a little more work or if they are strong and have gained enough knowledge to do it on their own. At that point, they don’t get assigned shadows anymore. If they need a little extra help, they are assigned a shadow as long as they need it.

USAH: Are the shadows technically working the game or are they there as a silent helper?

Flores:
The shadow’s primary job is to teach, not actually officiate. As a shadow you’re not there to influence the game. We don’t work in a capacity where we are working the game. We don’t call offsides, we don’t call icing and we don’t call penalties; it’s strictly educational purposes for the new individual. A shadow is there to give them support and confidence. A simple ‘Yes, you’re making the right call,’ or, ‘I would have maybe called offsides there,’ is what they are there for. That’s why we have shadows work at some of the lower levels of the game, because they are at a stage where coaches aren’t going to go after a ref for minor mistakes and it allows the new officials to learn in an environment where they aren’t necessarily going to get yelled at for everything.

USAH: What’s the feedback been like?

Flores:
The senior guys definitely love it. They enjoy the teaching aspect. That’s why I officiate, because I enjoy teaching the game as well as being a part of it, so for those senior guys, it’s fun to be sharing the knowledge. In Colorado Springs, our experience for our guys ranges anywhere from the NHL, USHL all the way down to the local stuff, so we have a vast array of knowledge. I think the newer officials are enjoying it, too. They keep coming back, so we must be doing something right.

USAH: Has the retention improved then?

Flores:
Absolutely. More than 60-70 percent stay on now for a second year. Plus, we’re getting anywhere from 20 to 30 new guys each year. It’s definitely had a positive impact.

USAH: So you would recommend that other officiating associations give a shadow program like this a try?

Flores:
Absolutely. You take advantage of those prime opportunities to teach at the time they’re occurring. You don’t have to holler across the ice to try and say ‘Hey, do this,’ or, ‘You can’t do that.’ You don’t want to spend time during the game and you don’t want to slow down the game. With the shadow program, you keep the game flowing while teaching. Plus, I can’t speak enough about the retention. People leave officiating because they don’t feel confident. Now we give them that confidence.

Class of 2016 Enshrined Into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

11/30/2016, 8:30pm MST
By USAHockey.com

Bill Belisle, Craig Janney & 1996 U.S. World Cup of Hockey Team Make Up the 2016 Class; Pat Kelly and Mark Howe Receive Lester Patrick Trophy

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