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Debates And Discussions The Cornerstone Of Coaching Symposium

08/23/2012, 11:45am MDT
By Harry Thompson

George McPhee approached the stage and paused before addressing the packed ballroom in a downtown Washington, D.C., hotel.

"This is a pretty impressive group of more than 500 coaches who are here this week to learn and improve and make things better," said the general manager of the Washington Capitals who was one of the keynote speakers during the opening session at the 2012 National Hockey Coaches Symposium.

"Wouldn't it be nice if the 500 people on Capitol Hill came here to learn and improve and try to make things better."

What would a Beltway hockey brainstorming session be without a little political humor interjected into the program?

McPhee, who is entering his 15th season as the architect of the high-flying Capitals, is also a hockey dad who issued high praise to the grassroots coaches who make the game go.

"Don't ever underestimate the influence you have," said McPhee, who played college hockey at Bowling Green State University and won the Hobey Baker Award in 1982.

"I've been around the NHL for 30 years but my son (Graham) doesn't want to listen to me, but he will listen to Coach Mike and Coach Rob."

McPhee also offered his opinion about the progressive checking skills program that was implemented at the start of the 2011-12 season. After watching his son encounter checking as a first year Peewee he saw how checking hindered his skill development  and the development of other youngsters.

"I want to commend USA Hockey for going in the right direction," McPhee said. "As someone who works at the pro level I know there is plenty of time to teach a player how to hit. There is never enough time to teach skill."

The presentations by McPhee and Eddie Olczyk, who wrapped up the evening with an off the cuff speech that ran the gamut of topics, the three-day symposium opened on a high note. Over the course of the weekend, the symposium will feature some of the most experienced coaches and administrators in the game, including Brian Burke, general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team and general manager and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs; NHL head coaches Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Joe Sacco of the  Colorado Avalanche, N.Y. Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan, and former NTDP coaches Ron Rolston and John Hynes, who are both coaching in the American Hockey League.
  
For USA Hockey's 59,000 registered coaches, the National Hockey Coaches Symposium, which is typically held every year, is required to achieve Level 5 certification. Those attempting to attain Level 5 status must also write a thesis based on one of the main session presentations.
 
In addition to general sessions, coaches will also have the opportunity to explore innovative approaches to coaching through intensive breakout sessions dedicated to the specific age level of the players they're coaching.

Regional managers of USA Hockey's American Development Model, including Joe Doyle, Guy Gosselin, Roger Grillo, Jim Hunt, Bob Mancini, and Scott Paluch will serve as breakout sessions speakers.

The first year of Level 5 certification was 1984 as the brainchild of Ken Johannson, the creator of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, and typically feature a number of professional, college and international coaches discussing various aspects of coaching.

Over the years the symposium has grown into a celebration of grassroots coaches in addition to those who have achieved the highest levels of the game.

For the record, Olczyk, who will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Oct. 15, is also a hockey dad and he thinks that checking should be taught at a younger age.

"That's the beauty of symposiums like this," said Olczyk, who has made the transition from NHL coach to NBC broadcaster, "so we can have discussions and debates. At the end of the day we all want our game to be better."

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Update on 2015-16 USA Hockey Officiating Registration

07/08/2015, 5:15pm MDT
By David LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief

District Referees-in-Chief implement changes to registration procedures

As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.

This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.

This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.

EXAM PROCESS
The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.

While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.

If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.

IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.


Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.

We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.

SUMMARY
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

  • Register online with USA Hockey
  • Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
  • Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
  • Pass the open-book exam at their registration level
  • Pass the closed-book exam (no closed-book exam at Level 1) for their registration level
  • Complete their online USA Hockey SafeSport training at the end of every two-year cycle

 

Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward.  Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process.  Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.

Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.

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Tag(s): Level 5 Symposium  Past Events