As states and rinks begin to reopen throughout the country, the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program is rolling out new tools and opportunities for coaches to continue their development and prepare for the 2020-21 season safely.
Since every district and state is unique and evolving daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual clinics are now being made available for all members until in-person clinics can resume, along with the new `option to use a Temporary Card for the 2020-21 season.
Mark Tabrum, director of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, and Mike MacMillan, USA Hockey National Coach-in-Chief, talked about these benefits as we get ready for a return to the rinks.
With the uncertainty surrounding rules on in-person gatherings around the country, the CEP is now offering online virtual clinics for all members.
A few pilot clinics have already been conducted: a Level 1 and Level 2 clinic for the USA Hockey Girls National Camps Intern Coach Program held April 20-24, along with a Level 4 clinic for the Mid-Am District held May 17-19.
“They went very well and the feedback has been very positive,” Tabrum said. “Based upon this feedback, we feel that by doing these virtual coaching clinics, we can create a similar experience like they were going to an in-person clinic.”
“These are very interactive,” MacMillan added. “Coaches and instructors will feel very engaged. Participants have an added benefit unlike a traditional webinar in that coaches can break out into groups very much like a regular clinic allowing for even more engagement. We don’t have the on-the-ice pieces, but every other part is as close as you can get to being in a classroom. The curriculum being delivered is also the same and will meet these needs virtually. I think it’s going to be an awesome platform to bridge the gap right now and allow us to start the clinic season immediately.”
Coaches can register at usahockey.com/coachingclinics as these clinics are made available.
In addition to these virtual clinics, the CEP just announced a new Temporary Card that is available for all coaches. This Temporary Card will allow each coach to have the proper level of certification for the 2020-21 season without attending a clinic.
“We understand that these are very different, challenging and uncertain times for everyone. So this season we will be offering a Temporary Card for those who will feel this is the best option for them during the pandemic,” Tabrum said. “It allows for them to get an extension for one year and be current for the upcoming season.”
“Some individuals who feel uncomfortable based on their environment or individual circumstances won't be able to get to a clinic,” MacMillan said. “This is a good opportunity for those that want it and their certification will be good for the full year. We hope people take advantage of it.”
Now is a great time to do the following before the puck drops next season:
● Register with USA Hockey: membership.usahockey.com
● Complete the required background screening: usahockey.com/backgroundscreen
● Complete the required SafeSport training: usahockey.com/safesporttraining
● Complete the appropriate Age-Specific Training Module (if necessary) for the level of play that you are coaching usahockey.com/agespecificmodules
“If you have the ability to take care of your coaching education requirements now, it allows you to be ready to go when the season opens up,” Tabrum said.
USA Hockey, along with its districts and affiliates, are making the necessary preparations for coaches to return to the rinks soon.
“As the rinks are starting to open up, we want to give coaches the best options possible so they can move forward,” Tabrum said.
“It’s all hands on deck here at USA Hockey,” MacMillan said. “We’ve been meeting and focused on the fall and this season. Coaches can be rest assured we’ve been working with an unbelievable group of hockey professionals. We’re going to make it comfortable for coaches, for whatever environment they need.”