page contents
skip navigation
Home Players & Parents Coaches Officials Team USA Membership Safety About Help

Star Panel Closes Coaches Symposium

08/24/2014, 11:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

USA Hockey's National Hockey Coaches Symposium wrapped Sunday with a presentation from 2014 U.S. Men's Olympic Team head coach Dan Bylsma and an all-star coaching panel at the JW Marriott.

The panel was moderated by 1984 U.S. Olympic coach Lou Vairo and included Bylsma, Igor Larionov, John Vanbiesbrouck and Tim Watters. A selection of their quotes is below.

What They Said

Tim Watters - Longtime NHL defenseman

"I thought all my youth coaches gave me little nuggets I could take away ... What I remember most were the coaches that taught me the life lessons. I can't remember the exact skills they taught me, but I remember the values they taught me."

"Find a mentor who can be really honest with you because there are some hard decisions to make with players ... A mentor that has gone through it and you can trust and confide in is probably the best advice I can give to young coaches."

"Growing up I played baseball, rugby in high school and volleyball in high school and of those three I would say volleyball helped the most (with hockey) ... there is no question that multiple sports helped me train for hockey."

Dan Bylsma - Head coach, 2014 U.S. Men's Olympic Team

"I was a rec league player, we didn't have any practices. A lot of my hockey and instruction was on a rink in the backyard. It was done with small-ice games and that's where I practiced. That was my dad and brothers. You learn the game that way."

"Teach them the game, teach them the skills, give them an opportuity to be their very best."

"A lot of the training off ice I got from playing other sports. ... I would encourage not dedicating 12 months of the year to hockey."

John Vanbiesbrouck - Legendary goaltender

"The coaches that I really liked the most were the ones that asked me questions and got to know what made me tick."

"Teaching happens in practice, it doesn't happen in a game ... the players just can't take it in at that time. You manage in a game, you don't teach. That's why practice is so important."

"I don't like to see hockey dominate and become stale for young players."

Igor Larionov - Hockey Hall of Famer

"You have to encourage the kids to enjoy hockey and enjoy their time on the ice. They are going to make mistakes, you are there to show them how to do it right. I like when a coach is there to not break or punish the young player for making a mistake."

"The young boys and girls, when they come to practice, they are looking up to you, they want to learn and have fun but at the same time they want to get better every single day."

Lou Vairo - Head coach, 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Team

"We're nothing as an organization without (coaches) and you are deeply appreciated."

Recent News

USA Hockey's National Hockey Coaches Symposium wrapped Sunday with a presentation from 2014 U.S. Men's Olympic Team head coach Dan Bylsma and an all-star coaching panel at the JW Marriott.

The panel was moderated by 1984 U.S. Olympic coach Lou Vairo and included Bylsma, Igor Larionov, John Vanbiesbrouck and Tim Watters. A selection of their quotes is below.

What They Said

Tim Watters - Longtime NHL defenseman

"I thought all my youth coaches gave me little nuggets I could take away ... What I remember most were the coaches that taught me the life lessons. I can't remember the exact skills they taught me, but I remember the values they taught me."

"Find a mentor who can be really honest with you because there are some hard decisions to make with players ... A mentor that has gone through it and you can trust and confide in is probably the best advice I can give to young coaches."

"Growing up I played baseball, rugby in high school and volleyball in high school and of those three I would say volleyball helped the most (with hockey) ... there is no question that multiple sports helped me train for hockey."

Dan Bylsma - Head coach, 2014 U.S. Men's Olympic Team

"I was a rec league player, we didn't have any practices. A lot of my hockey and instruction was on a rink in the backyard. It was done with small-ice games and that's where I practiced. That was my dad and brothers. You learn the game that way."

"Teach them the game, teach them the skills, give them an opportuity to be their very best."

"A lot of the training off ice I got from playing other sports. ... I would encourage not dedicating 12 months of the year to hockey."

John Vanbiesbrouck - Legendary goaltender

"The coaches that I really liked the most were the ones that asked me questions and got to know what made me tick."

"Teaching happens in practice, it doesn't happen in a game ... the players just can't take it in at that time. You manage in a game, you don't teach. That's why practice is so important."

"I don't like to see hockey dominate and become stale for young players."

Igor Larionov - Hockey Hall of Famer

"You have to encourage the kids to enjoy hockey and enjoy their time on the ice. They are going to make mistakes, you are there to show them how to do it right. I like when a coach is there to not break or punish the young player for making a mistake."

"The young boys and girls, when they come to practice, they are looking up to you, they want to learn and have fun but at the same time they want to get better every single day."

Lou Vairo - Head coach, 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Team

"We're nothing as an organization without (coaches) and you are deeply appreciated."

Most Popular Articles

The Northstars Never Miss a Trip To Eagle River

08/29/2015, 11:00am MDT
By Greg Bates - Special to USAHockey.org

The Bloomington, Ill., team played their in fifth straight Pond Hockey Championships in 2015

INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN OFFICIATING

08/25/2015, 3:30pm MDT
By USA Hockey

No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official.  Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.

The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.

Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.

An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.

Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”

That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”

The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.

Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.

USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.

In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.

The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.

As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.

Paralympian Pauls Featured on CBS News

08/28/2015, 10:15am MDT
By USAHockey.com

Gold medalist interviewed on national television

Tag(s): Home  News  Level 5 Symposium