April 25, 2017 | Last week, Minnesota Hockey hosted 60 youth coaches and hockey directors for a two-day program-building seminar in St. Louis Park. Guy “Goose” Gosselin, Roger Grillo, Ken Martel and Phil Osaer were there from USA Hockey to share development insights and also help lead on-ice sessions for high-performance 15-year-old skaters and goaltenders from throughout the state.
"It was basically a mini-NARCE," said Martel. "We talked about club development and player development, Phil and Goose led on-ice sessions and Roger went in-depth on coaching. It was a good event and a good opportunity to share ideas with the coaches and directors in Minnesota."
Dave Margenau, president of Minnesota Hockey, called it "an inspiring couple of days" and said that attendees "left with a tremendous amount of excitement."
March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.
This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.
“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”
The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.
Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.
“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.
“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.
“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”
March 13, 2017 | The Boston Bruins hosted their first-ever Girls Hockey Day last Friday at TD Garden, welcoming nearly 400 girls and women to the ice.
The festivities began with a Little Bruins public skate session and a 10U half-ice jamboree for teams from Assabet Valley, Cape Anne, Duxbury, the Massachusetts Spitfires, Parkway Youth Hockey and Waltham Youth Hockey. Following the jamboree, Roger Grillo, USA Hockey American Development Model regional manager, led a 12U skills clinic and a 14U body-contact clinic, helping New England girls hone essential skills.
“First of all, a big thank you to Mike Dargin and the Boston Bruins organization for setting up a wonderful day for girls hockey here in New England,” said Grillo. “The girls worked really hard, there was a lot of energy and excitement on the ice and the fun factor was high. Ten professional women’s hockey players from the Boston Pride and Boston Blades joined us on the ice, and their help in running both sessions was a big part of the overall success of the evening.”
A girls high school hockey clinic followed Grillo’s sessions. After that, 30 adults skated through a learn-to-play clinic led by USA Hockey’s Katie Holmgren, adult hockey manager, and five-time United States Men’s National Team defenseman Hal Gill.
“We had a mix of women from the Bruins’ front office and from local adult leagues who were looking to improve and everyone had a great time, regardless of their ability level,” said Holmgren. “We’re happy to have the Adult First Goal program as a means to introduce new adults to the game, much in the same way that the OneGoal program introduces kids to hockey. This was a great example of that. And we were also fortunate to have Bruins alum Hal Gill on the ice with us. Having partnerships with NHL teams who are willing to include adults in their programming is invaluable for us as our numbers continue to grow.”
Feb. 15, 2017 | Forty aspiring boys and girls goaltenders turned New Jersey’s Prudential Center practice facility into a puck-stoppers paradise last week during an American Development Model youth goaltending clinic led by the New Jersey Devils and USA Hockey.
Phil Osaer, USA Hockey’s ADM manager for goaltending, helped provide the training, which included a presentation for parents and coaches in addition to on-ice guidance for the athletes. New Jersey Devils goaltending coach Chris Terreri, a U.S. Olympian in 1988, also worked with the participants on and off the ice. Terreri has a long history with USA Hockey, dating back to his own youth goaltending days. In 1975, he led his team from Warwick, Rhode Island, to a USA Hockey national championship. He later competed for Team USA at the IIHF Men’s World Championship in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1997.
“It was an honor to have Chris join us for the clinic and it was great to work with so many enthusiastic goalies, coaches and parents,” said Osaer. “One thing that stood out to me was Chris emphasizing the importance of young goalies playing multiple sports. It benefits them in terms of developing their all-around athleticism, which will help them become better goalies, and also in terms of avoiding injuries.”
Dec. 21, 2016 | Dan Rosen and Shawn P. Roarke from NHL.com recently penned deep-dive stories about the impressive growth of hockey in Arizona and Missouri. As a preview for his return to the desert with the Toronto Maple Leafs this Friday night, Auston Matthews’ path from small-ice youth hockey in Scottsdale to the NHL was among the highlights, but the stories also delved into the growth of girls hockey and college hockey, providing a broad grassroots perspective. Last but certainly not least, Roarke’s story included a salute to Kirkwood (Mo.) Youth Hockey, a USA Hockey Model Association. To read Rosen’s story, click here. For Roarke’s story, click here.
Dec. 13, 2016 | Hundreds of hockey coaches from throughout New England come together each year for the Boston Bruins Coaching Symposium, held in collaboration with Massachusetts Hockey and USA Hockey. This year's event included the excitement of a new venue — Warrior Ice Arena at Boston Landing — the Boston Bruins' new practice home, which hosted on- and off-ice presentations from USA Hockey's Mark Tabrum, Kevin McLaughlin, Roger Grillo and Kristen Wright, among others. Click the video below to see highlights from the event.
Nov. 18, 2016 | USA Hockey’s Joe Bonnett visited the United States Air Force Academy recently for an evening with the Falcons youth hockey program, which serves both military and civilian children in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bonnett led a pre-practice American Development Model coaches meeting and then helped run a station-based practice at Cadet Ice Arena, home to both the little Falcons and their NCAA Division I namesake. Check out video from the event here.
Oct. 22, 2016 | There has never been a Michigan native between the pipes for a U.S. Women’s Olympic Team or a U.S. Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championship, but that might change thanks to expanded goalie-development efforts in the Great Lakes State. One such event happened during IIHF Girls Hockey Weekend in Southfield, Michigan, where USA Hockey volunteer Manon Rheaume, a former professional goaltender, hosted a girls goaltending clinic in conjunction with USA Hockey Goaltending Development Coordinator Darren Eliot. Twenty-two netminders between the ages of 8 and 15 attended the event, providing a glimpse of the future in Michigan and beyond.
Oct. 20, 2016 | Support continues to increase for the idea of children playing multiple sports and taking an offseason break from hockey. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) recently released a consensus statement on early sport specialization in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. In that statement, the organization published the following result from its think-tank study: "There is no evidence that young children will benefit from early sport specialization in the majority of sports. They are subject to overuse injury and burnout from concentrated activity. Early multi-sport participation will not deter young athletes from long-term competitive athletic success." To review the entire study PDF, click here. It also contains the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine consensus statement that a variety of physical and mental heath concerns can be attributed to early sport specialization.
Sept. 29, 2016 | Big things are happening in California, where the Anaheim Ducks youth and girls programs recently earned USA Hockey Model Association status. California Rubber magazine profiled the programs in its September issue, detailing the Ducks' grassroots focus, plans for growth and emphasis on skill development. Click the link below to read the full story.