COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey’s 2021 Winter Meeting, which took place virtually over four days (Jan. 14-17) last week, included wide-ranging discussions focused largely on efforts around COVID-19 safety and adaptations for the remainder of this season and into the 2021-22 campaign; on-going initiatives around building a more welcoming and inclusive environment in hockey; and rule change proposals for the 2021-22 season that will be voted on during USA Hockey’s Annual Congress this June.
“It’s been an extremely challenging time for everyone involved in USA Hockey and we’ve come together to meet the challenges in such a positive way,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “We have a lot of continued work in front of us, but the focus on risk mitigation related to COVID to help ensure the safety of our participants, and transitioning to continue the education and engagement of our players, coaches, officials and overall membership through virtual means, has been inspiring.”
The enormous undertaking in shifting coaching and officiating education to a virtual environment was reviewed during the meeting, and while the desire to return to in-person education was evident, many positives have come out of the virtual events, including reduced costs and the ability to engage with people from across the country.
USA Hockey leaders were engaged in a presentation focused around being an active inclusive agent of change during a Town Hall session and also participated in a program around building advocates.
“Our continued focus is on education and engagement as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “It was great to see the participation and discussion that took place and we’ll continue to work together with the wide variety of stakeholders in our sport as we move forward.
Discussion around rule change proposals was prevalent through the Winter Meeting. The formal vote on proposed rule changes will take place during USA Hockey’s Annual Congress, which is set for June 9-13. USA Hockey considers rule changes on a four-year cycle.
• It was noted that the 2021 USA Hockey Youth, Girls, High School and Women’s Senior National Championships were moved back to the end of April and beginning of May.
• The second annual Game On – Empowering Women in Hockey Together leadership conference will be conducted virtually on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26. Registration information will be available later this month and more information can be obtained here.
• The Level 5 Coaches Symposium, which was slated to take place in Duluth, Minn., last summer but was postponed due to the pandemic, is planned for August 19-22, 2021, in Duluth. To register, click here.
• USA Hockey’s Annual Congress is set for June 9-13 in Denver, Colorado.
• Kelleher gave a special thanks to those that have been involved on the front lines in helping communities get through the pandemic.