COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey’s Winter Meeting – with nearly 450 registered participants -- concluded Sunday (Jan. 28) in Orlando with much optimism for the future as the sport of ice hockey continues to grow and advance.
“Over the four days of our meetings, the excitement and passion of leaders from across the country was evident,” said Mike Trimboli, president of USA Hockey. “The discussions that took place were meaningful and reflected our collective efforts to advance the game and make hockey the best sports experience in every community across our country.”
Neck Laceration Protection
The USA Hockey Congress passed legislation at its meeting on Sunday to require neck laceration protection for players in all age classifications, except adults, beginning August 1, 2024, and also for on-ice officials under the age of 18. In addition, the legislation also strongly encourages use of neck laceration protection by adults and use of cut resistant socks, sleeves or undergarments by all participants.
“The safety of our participants is always the top priority,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We’re most appreciative of the significant work done on this topic by our Safety and Protective Equipment Committee, led by Dr. Mike Stuart, as well as many other constituent groups that were involved.”
Tier I -- One Team, One Season
The Congress also passed legislation that protects Tier I youth and girls players and teams with a “one team-one season” way forward which will go into effect for the 2024-25 season.
“This is a positive step for everyone,” said Trimboli. “The legislation is intended to eliminate the tampering relative to player movement within the season that has been taking place.”
Trimboli also established a President’s Commission on Tier I Hockey to work toward developing more consistent operating standards across the country.
“After discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders, it’s evident there’s a desire to see what might make sense relative to our Tier I standards,” said Trimboli. “We’ll take the next year to have an in-depth review to see what kind of progress we can make in that regard.”
Strong Participation Numbers
Attendees at the Winter Meeting learned of strong participation numbers for the 2023-24 season to date, including growth across the board in player participation and also record numbers of both coaches and officials. The final participation numbers for the 2023-24 season will be available at the USA Hockey Annual Meeting in June.
“Thanks to the great work of our volunteers and staff at the grassroots level all across our country, and also through on-going collaborative efforts with the NHL, NHLPA and NHL member clubs and beyond, we continue to make great strides in not only introducing new families to the game, but also providing outstanding educational programs to positively influence the overall landscape of the sport,” said Kelleher.
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