COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey’s top volunteer leaders gathered for the organization’s annual Winter Meeting last week in Orlando with a wide variety of topics discussed, including an update to the strategic plan that will provide the guiding principles for USA Hockey over the next four years.
“It was a very productive three-plus days,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “We have so many positive things happening across the board and that’s exciting as we continue to look ahead. It’s evident we have some work to do on retention of our officials and that will be a focal point as move through the rest of this season and into next year. We’re also continuing work on efforts to welcome more diverse groups and improve our culture.”
One of the highlights of the Winter Meeting was a panel moderated by Darren Haynes, sports director at WUSA in Washington, D.C., that featured leaders from both USA Hockey and the NHL discussing diversity and inclusion, including ideas to make the sport more welcoming to broader audiences. Joining Haynes were Smith, Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, and Kim Davis, executive vice president for social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs for the NHL.
In addition, it was reported the number of players year-over-year as of the Winter Meeting is up at all age levels as are the number of coaches and officials.
“Our participant numbers continue to grow and I think that is reflective of our efforts on many fronts, including safety, development and education,” said Kelleher. “We continue to remain focused on making sure we have the best possible environment for families, and as we begin a new decade, we’re excited about the opportunities in front of us to continue to advance our sport.”
During Sunday’s (Jan. 19) Board of Directors meeting:
• The Board elected Keith Barrett (Northfield, Vermont) vice president of USA Hockey and chair of the organization’s Youth Council. Barrett, whose term will run through 2021, replaces Dave Klasnick, who passed away in August.
• The Board elected Chris Clark (South Windsor, Connecticut) as director representative to the executive committee to fill the position that was created by Keith Barrett’s election as vice president. Clark’s term will run through June of 2020.
• The Board set the membership fee for the 2020-21 season at $46, which is the same rate in place for the 2019-20 season.
• Jim Smith honored Mike Trimboli (Massena, New York), Dave LaBuda (Chicago, Illinois) and Kristen Wright (Colorado Springs, Colo.) with the President’s Award for outstanding contribution to USA Hockey.