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USA Hockey Finalizes Governance Modification During Winter Meeting

By USA Hockey, 01/18/23, 3:15PM MST


Officiating Task Force Reveals Recommendations

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey’s governance transformation was finalized during its Winter Meeting, which took place over four days last week in Orlando.

The two-plus year effort includes modification to a 24-person Board of Directors. Previously, USA Hockey utilized a 92-member Board. The updated governance established the 33% of athletes required by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and also includes an 85-person Congress.

“Moving to this new governance structure was an enormous undertaking and included input from all areas of our organization,” said Mike Trimboli, president of USA Hockey. “The result is a streamlined process with broader athlete representation, and a way forward that maintains the important voice from our nationwide grassroots constituency that makes USA Hockey so special.

“The Governance Reform Task Force spent countless hours listening and shaping a common sense way forward, and we couldn’t be more thankful to the group, led by Tom Regan, in helping us through a very involved process.”

The new 24-person Board includes the following members:

            Mike Trimboli, President
            Donna Guariglia, Treasurer
            John Tobin, Vice President, Legal Council chair
            Keith Barrett, Vice President, Youth Council chair
            Don Gould, Vice President, Girls Council chair
            T.C. Lewis, Vice President, Junior Council Chair
            Don Mulder, Vice President, Adult Council Chair
            Donna Kaufman, Vice President, Membership Council chair
            Dwayne Dillinger, Vice President, International Council chair
            Ryan Bedford, Independent Director
            Steve Oleheiser, Affiliate President Director
            Kris Knauss, Director At-Large
            Cheri Bonawitz, Director At-Large
            Mike MacMillan, Director At-Large
            Joe Eppolito, Director At-Large
            Bill Daly, NHL Director
            Julie Chu, Athlete Director
            Declan Farmer, Athlete Director
            Brian Gionta, Athlete Director
            Taylor Lipsett, Athlete Director
            Kevin McKee, Athlete Director
            Jenny Potter, Athlete Director
            Andy Yohe, Athlete Director
            Jen Yung Lee, Athlete Director

Recent News

After meeting nearly weekly over the last 14  months -- and with input from hundreds of experts from across the country and beyond -- the 12-member Officiating Task Force presented its recommendations to help improve the current youth hockey officiating environment during a special session at the Winter Meeting. The group focused on five areas, including:

  • Recruitment of new officials
  • Retention of officials
  • Education of officials, administrators, coaches, parents and players
  • Communication and marketplace interaction
  • Legislation, accountability and rule enforcement

Highlights among the wide-ranging recommendations:

  • Strictly enforce the zero tolerance policy on abuse of officials
  • Modify officiating education from a certification program to an education program that includes certification; revamp one level of curriculum each year, starting in the 2023-24 season
  • Encourage Affiliates to utilize new officials to officiate cross-ice games as a low stress way to begin their officiating career
  • Establish a regular mentorship program for new officials
  • Create a structured assignor program at the Affiliate level
  • Offer a Green Arm Band initiative similar to the one first launched by Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) where officials under the age of 18 wear a green arm band to indicate they are minors, with the goal of helping shield young on-ice officials from verbal abuse hurled from the crowd and benches. The initiative includes accompanying posters in rinks to describe the program and an increase in consequences for any form of abuse of youth officials.
  • Further efforts within the coaching education program to create a better understanding and respect between officials and coaches and ensure coaches understand the basic rules of the game
  • Reinforce the American Development Model guidelines of practice-to-game ratios to help reduce the burden on the officiating community in staffing games 

 “We appreciate the significant efforts of the Officiating Task Force, chaired by Keith Barrett,” said Trimboli. “Our collective efforts as a hockey community in holding each other accountable relative to how officials are treated is something we can all be a part of immediately, and I’d challenge everyone to use that as a starting point each and every day.”

The USA Hockey Board of Directors finalized the membership fee structure for the 2023-24 season at its Board meeting on Sunday (Jan. 15). The membership fees will remain the same for all categories of participants outside of an adjusted membership fee structure for officials to include: Level 1 - $55; Levels 2-4 - $110 and Affiliated Non-Skating - $40.

NOTES: USA Hockey president Mike Trimboli presented President’s Awards to Jack Witt from the coaching education section and to Stephanie Jackson, USA Hockey’s director of diversity and inclusion … A pilot program for a new Tier I 13O (13 Only) youth classification was approved by the Board and a national championship for that age level is anticipated to be established starting with the 2023-24 season … Among the highlights of Town Hall sessions during the Winter Meeting -- the 10-year anniversary of the USA Hockey Safe Sport program was celebrated and included details of the positive impact the initiative has had on the sport; examples of efforts to further a more welcoming and inclusive environment were shared as part of the on-going work happening nationwide; and discussion of growth initiatives took place with a challenge to expand the number of host sites for the February 25 national Try Hockey for Free Day as part of Hockey Week Across America … Shawna Davidson was elected as director emeritus … The 2023 USA Hockey Annual Congress will take place June 7-10 in Denver.