In 1985, the Massachusetts towns of Abington and Rockland merged their single youth teams into one team.
Then, as youth hockey became more popular on the South Shore in Massachusetts, it eventually led to the formation of the South Shore Eagles, which now includes players from towns like Bridgewater, Hanson, Middleboro, Taunton, Pembroke, Whitman and Norwell.
But as is the case in any sport, the Eagles have experienced their share of ups and downs.
“I took over the position last July,” President Danielle Larouco said. “Over the past two years or so the Eagles were in a decline in terms of players. We share a rink with the Bay State Breakers in Rockland, so we have a huge competition especially with elite players.
“A lot of our players moved to their organization about two years ago.”
However, in the 2012-13 season, the Eagles have taken flight.
“We were on the downward part of the curve and now we’re on the upward part of the curve,” Larouco said. “The Eagles program has seen an increase in players over the past year, players who’ve come back to the program.
“A big part of the reason people come back is there’s a good, positive vibe because we weren’t held in the highest regard in recent years. Now I think we have a good group of newcomers who realize the program has a lot to offer and cares about developing each and every player.”
What the Eagles program offers is two-fold in nature:
“The Yankee Conference is primarily a C level league,” Larouco said. “Because there were so many kids that wanted to skate at all age levels, it led to the formation of the Yankee Conference.”
The importance of the Yankee Conference Instructional League to the Eagles is underscored by the fact that 21 of 22 players at the Mite level returned for this season.
“We had a 95 percent return rate at the Mite instructional level,” Larouco said with a hint of pride in her voice. “Now, that’s snowballed. Ask any of those kids and they’ll say they love Eagles pride.”
To say the coaches “love” working in the Eagles program would be an understatement.
“We give our coaches warm-up suits,” Larouco said. “They’ll say ‘ “I’ve been coaching for 20 years and nobody ever has given me warm-up suits.’
“It’s the little things that have meant a lot.”
While USA Hockey’s American Development Model couldn’t be classified as a “little thing,” it has meant a lot to the Eagles program.
“We follow USA Hockey’s ADM,” Larouco noted. “It’s a four-on-four program run out of Hingham. It caters to a smaller ice surface with more touches and opportunities to become involved.
“We’ve had great success. Over the last couple of years, the kids who’ve come through the program on the ice have loved it. The end result of what the Eagles provide — and the ADM is part of it — is quality instruction at a great cost.”
Larouco herself brings an inordinate amount of quality experience to the South Shore Eagles.
A Brown University graduate (she played at Brown during a period when the Bears captured several ECAC and Ivy League titles), she also played for the U.S. National Team, served as an assistant coach at her alma mater, and attended several USA National development camps.
“My background definitely has helped me in terms of knowledge of hockey,” Larouco said. “I’m fortunate to be in an area where I can give back to the program. Last year, I was in the instructional league.
“No matter what my business is, we talk hockey all day long. I get along with the guys and we can talk hockey, and I can relate to the boys. At the end of the day, you want to mold the kids, plus I love hockey.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
QUESTION: Four weeks ago, an official called a penalty against an attacking player for trying to kick the puck out of the crease back to his stick. Now fast forward to this past week, the same situation happens again and both officials state there is no such rule. Which set of officials was correct?
ANSWER: Provided the kicking motion does not make contact with the goalkeeper or any opponent, there is no rule in the USA Hockey Playing Rules that prevents a player from kicking the puck.
Rule 627.c in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“Kicking the puck shall be permitted provided the puck is not kicked by an attacking player and entered the goal either directly or after deflecting off any player including the goalkeeper.
However, the puck may not be played by the so called "kick shot," which combines the use of the leg and foot driving the shaft and blade of the stick and producing a very dangerous shot.”
QUESTION: Can a substitute goalie serve a misconduct penalty for another player? For example, a player receives a Spearing penalty (5+GM), can the back-up goalie serve the 5-minute major?
ANSWER: Goalkeepers may not serve penalties under the USA Hockey Playing Rules.
QUESTION: What is the rule on mercy rules for 12U level games? If both teams would still like to continue playing in the third period even if one team has a very large lead, is it true that refs are not allowed to continue reffing the game.
ANSWER: USA Hockey does not have any official rules regarding “Mercy Rules”. These are left to the local association or league to determine since they are the ones purchasing the ice slots and managing the operations of the local games.
With that being said, officials are generally assigned to work a complete game regardless of how the game ends (mercy rule, normal game time, forfeit, etc.). Therefore, if teams want to continue playing then all USA Hockey Membership Benefits would be in effect for the complete game, overtime and shootout (and even if they just want to add some extra time to fill the ice slot).
QUESTION: During the same shift a single player commits a minor penalty, the other team maintains puck possession and the same player commits another minor penalty. Will play resume "5 v. 4" for four-minutes or "5 v. 3" for two minutes?
ANSWER: Since one player committed two penalties, play would resume "5 vs. 4" for four minutes. If a second player committed a penalty, then play would resume at "5 vs. 3" for two minutes.
QUESTION: Player A is pinned up against the side of the net by Player B. The puck is in possession by another player away from the net area. Player B is holding Player A, preventing Player A from escaping to an open ice area. Player A yells out "He's holding me" twice and the ref blows the whistle and proceeds to issue a 10-minute (Misconduct) against Player A. Is a Misconduct call the right call for Player A.
ANSWER: This question is very difficult to answer without seeing the play first hand. However, a player that holds or impedes the progress of an opponent should be penalized for Interference or Holding. Furthermore, any player who displays abusive or derogatory behavior toward an official should be penalized under Rule 601 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules
The USA Hockey Playing Rules are now available as a mobile device app! Check your Apple, Android, or Windows app store to download this playing rule app free of charge.
Check out the USA Hockey mobile-friendly online rulebook application! Enter usahockeyrulebook.com into your mobile device’s web browser to gain instant access to the USA Hockey Playing Rules (must have mobile or internet service).
The USA Hockey Playing Rules Casebook and other educational material can be found under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com.
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